Sock It to Me!

If you’ve been thinking about learning how to knit or you’re a pro who can interpret s1k1psso without referencing a knitting glossary, the library has a book, magazine, or DVD to interest you.

From the practical ball-band dishcloth in Mason Dixon Knitting: the Curious Knitter’s Guide by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, to the whimsical Elvis doll found in Knitted Icons : 25 Celebrity Doll Patterns by Carol Meldrum, to an intricate color work designer sweater by textile artist Kaffe Fassett in Kaffe Knits Again, you will find the right book for every level of knitter – beginner to experienced.

I’d like to suggest the perfect portable project for today’s busy knitter. It’s something that can be knit as simply or intricately as you would like: socks.

knitted socks

Yes, I said socks. I know that they can be purchased three pairs for $5 at Walmart but it just isn’t the same. Have you worn socks made with wool, bamboo, alpaca, corn, crab and shrimp shells, banana, milk, or seaweed? Once you give it a try you’ll never go back to those common socks. With today’s yarns you can knit a plain, but never ordinary, one-color pair of socks that even your husband will wear or a wildly colorful pair knit with self-patterning yarn for yourself.

There are many knitters on staff at the library. Of course when Kathy, Sue and I decided to try sock knitting we turned to the library catalog for inspiration.

Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch has 10 basic designs and many stitch patterns to choose from. The patterns are written for the knitter’s preferred use of 2, 4, or 5 needles in clear step-by-step directions. We decided to use 2 circular needles instead of the more traditional double-pointed.

Many books now teach this method, including Socks Soar On Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi, and for the truly adventurous, Knitting Circles Around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles by A.K. Gillingham.

sock in progress

For still another method there is 2-at-a-time Socks : the Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Just pick the method most comfortable for you. For innovations in sock architecture, Pacific Northwest author Cat Bordhi will have you looking at the lowly sock with a new respect. Her books Personal Footprints For Insouciant Sock Knitters and New Pathways for Sock Knitters explore new ways of sock construction. Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-of-a-Kind Socks by Cookie A. includes 15 unconventional, rule-breaking patterns.

If you prefer the traditional, try Folk Socks: the History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns or Knitting On The Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush.

Cuff, leg, heel flap, heel turn, gusset, foot, toe-up, cuff-down. You’ll soon know all about sock anatomy. Next time you look down at your feet and notice department store socks, will you feel a twinge of shame? Don’t your feet deserve better?