First, the facts:
Author: Ann Budd
Published by: Interweave Press, 2011
DVD: 95 minutes
Type: Sock patterns & How-to, as well as a complimentary DVD.
1. Mastering Good Sock Design
2. Top-Down Construction
3. Toe-Up Construction
The In-Depth Look:
So, you want to knit some socks, but … where do you begin? There are so many decisions! Top-down? Toe-up? (And what, really, is the difference?) What kind of heel? What are the advantages to the different cast-ons? Is there an alternative to Kitchener stitch?
What’s this? You’ve heard these questions before? You think you already know everything there is to know about socks? After all, there are a multitude of sock books on the market these days, perfectly good books. You know everything.
Except … do you really?
Most (though not all) sock books I own are either filled with patterns with not a whole lot of time spent on technique, or they’re full of guidance but with blah patterns. (Or they’re by Cat Bordhi and look at socks in a totally new way, but that’s another story for another time.) Of course, some do hit the balance between pattern and technique. Some are fairly exhaustive, in fact, and you may already have them on your shelves.
But … they’re not THIS book.
First, this book is by Ann Budd, a genius in our time. The woman who brought us the Handy Knitters’ guides. So far I’ve reviewed 5 books of hers (well, going on six with this one), and there hasn’t been a clunker in the bunch. (She’s got a nice blog, too.)
Basically, any book by Ann Budd warrants a look, even if you think you don’t need it.
Second, she knows how to collect talent. The designs in this book are from true sock-masters. Cookie A, Kathryn Alexander, Veronik Avery, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Evelyn A Clark, Chrissy Gardiner, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Anne Hanson, Eunny Jang, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Deborah Newton, Clara Parkes, Meg Swansen, and Anna Zilboorg.
Then there’s the instructional content. The first chapter talks briefly about things like fit, yarn, needles, and general techniques, but also discusses heels and toes in more depth. There’s a handy chart on page 10 that answers the question, “How much yarn do you need” depending on your foot size and your knitting gauge. The rest of the book is split into two sections: top-down and toe-up, and each starts with more detail about cast-on/cast-off options for that method.
And, of course, there are patterns. They’re stunning, of course–just what you’d expect from a cast of designing stars collected by Ann Budd. Each is photographed beautifully, with detail shots of toes and heels so you know what you’re getting into. There is a sidebar of “Design Techniques” for each one, which lists the techniques you’ll need to knit that particular pattern. There are notes about how you might make modifications. Sidebars about picking the right kind of yarn. Stories about how and why the designer came up with that particular sock. The sizes of the socks are given in detail, too: circumference, length from toe to heel, length from cuff to heel. I honestly can’t think of any details that are missed.
But wait! There’s more!
The book comes with a 95-minute DVD of Ann Budd showing off the socks, and going into detail to show you various cast-ons, cast-offs, and so on. It’s like having her lead a class in your very own living room. (Because, gee, that’s what knitting DVDs ARE, of course. You don’t really need me to say it, right?) You’ve got over an hour and a half of video complimenting the book’s already clear instructions. Her presentation style during the little show-and-tell of each sock design seemed a little nervous, but as soon as she gets into the instructional portion of the video, the content is gold. Sometimes it really helps to SEE someone show you Kitchener stitch, you know?
So … do you need another sock book? Yeah, I think you do. And you can get this one at Amazon.com.
This review copy was kindly donated by Interweave Press. Thank you!
Other posts for this author: