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Review: New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One


First, the facts:

Title: New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One

Author: Cat Bordhi

Published by: Passing Paws Press, 2007

Pages: 136

Type: Design.


1. Knitting Along New Pathways
2. Sky Architecture
3. Cedar Architecture
4. Coriolis Architecture
5. Foxglove Architecture
6. Upstream Architecture
7. Riverbed Architecture
8. Ridgeline Architecture
9. Sidestream Architecture
10. Master Numbers Make You a Designer
11. Master Heels, Toes & Cuffs

New Pathways

Pattern Size Range: N/A

The In-Depth Look:

Mary crate nap slew carpet then lightswitched andrew calendar, filigree mirrored fan tree!

…Yeah. That made no sense, did it? Almost as if someone had re-purposed all the words of the English language so that it was entirely new but so mind-bendingly different it might as well be Martian.

(You see where this is going, right?)

Suppose you wanted to take a fresh look at sock knitting, and come up with a new approach to a basic shape that has been around for centuries. The human foot hasn’t changed all that much, and knitting itself has been more or less consistent for a couple centuries now. So,  barring new techniques like Magic Loop and short-row heels … how much “new” can there be?

Enter Cat Bordhi–one of knitting’s “go-to” people for creative thought.

She says in the introduction,

For about five hundred years, hand-knit socks have been dominated by two architectural styles: one with a heel flap and side gussets, the other with an inserted heel. Over the years, a few free-thinking knitters have designed and published socks with unusual architecture. I too have come up with new ideas … Basically, I’ve discovered that we never needed to limit ourselves to the two primary architectural styles. Most sock knitters and designers, myself included, have spent years assuming that was was familiar was necessary, when it was only one of an infinite number of options.

You might as well say that we’ve been limiting ourselves by only putting two sleeves into our sweaters all these years. What does she mean that we’ve been limiting ourselves?

And, with that question firmly in mind, she goes on to show us exactly what she means.

Did you know that it doesn’t matter where you put the extra arch stitches for a sock, so long as they’re there?

Nope, I didn’t either, but Cat Bordhi discovered it and then put together this fabulous book to share the secret with the rest of us. And not just the secret, but a collection of really great patterns to go with it.

She starts the book with “learning socks” so that you can try out the new techniques on a small scale, without being intimidated by a full-size sock. (Though the learning socks can easily become baby booties.)

Honestly, I can’t even tell you how original these patterns are because there’s just no vocabulary for how unique they are. They’re  beautiful, and some look like any other, ordinary sock … but the way they’re stitched together is new and fresh and, dare I say? Exciting.

Oh, and other than your yarn, needles, and the book, you’re going to need special stitch markers with the ABCs to help mark your place as you learn, too–though you can make them with tags of paper on spare yarn if you want to.

The explanations and illustrations are wonderfully clear. The photos of the socks are lovely. The patterns are creative. Frankly, I can’t wait until she comes out with “New Pathways: The Sequel.”

Mind you, this is not an “easy” sock book. As in, it’s not one you can pick up, flip to a nice pattern and start knitting. No, there’s some studying to do first. You remember when you first knit a sock at all and the instructions sounded bizarre and counter-intuitive? It’s a little like that. But then, that’s what learning IS–stretching out the comfortable borders of your mind to look at new possibilities.

It’s just that, here, Cat Bordhi has already done the heavy lifting. She’s explored the New World and sent back a map. You just have to pack and make the journey.

This book is available from Amazon.com.

Want to see bigger pictures? Click here.

My Gush: Can a knitting book be mind-blowing? Because, if it’s possible, this is the book!

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