Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, pub. Interweave Press, 2005
This is an extremely useful book, one which is often seen at my knitting table even though I have never knit an entire sock from its pages. Several years ago I was in a position to buy either this book or Nancy's delightful Folk Socks. I counted up the number of heels and toes detailed in each volume, and since this book had slightly more to offer, this is the one I bought.
I wasn't sorry (although there is an updated edition of Folk Socks which is calling to me . . . )
The 24 designs in this book seem knittable, wearable, and accurate. They are all taken from the Weldon's Practical Needlework series and given in the chronological order of the patterns which inspired them. In some cases, only the yarn and stitch gauge was changed (I know I love my size 0000 dpns, but some people find their hands cramp up after using them---wonder why). Other times, more serious interpretation was called for, discerning the meaning of different phraseologies, resolving errors, and modernizing fit. We are lucky to have Nancy to glean these wonderful patterns from this series for us and give the missing gauge and yardage information.
She starts her book by giving a brief history of Weldon's, then continues by outlining her strategy for updating the techniques described in its pages. This second chapter is liberally sprinkled with quotes taken directly from Weldon's, some interesting and useful, and others most amusing.
This section also contains instructions for four different heels and six different toes, many of which I have used in my own designs. Each instruction is prefaced with a comment from Nancy concerning the number of stitches it is to be worked on (half the total ankle stitches plus one seam stitch, a number divisible by 4, 60 stitches arranged on three needles, etc.), the shape of the sock part ("strong, but not perfectly smooth," "a serpentine pattern that spirals around the tip of the foot," etc.), and sometimes even the foot type most suited to it. Happily, the book is spiral bound, which makes it that much easier to use as a reference.
While each pattern is written in a single size, the book contains patterns for socks from infants' shoe size 3-4 to men's shoe size 11-12. The patterns are clearly displayed in two columns per page, with enough yarn details to make substitution straightforward, if desired. Stitch patterns are printed alongside the pattern in colored boxes for easy reference, and charts are clearly labeled with keys. Charming sepia-toned photos and sketches as well as full-color photos of the unmodeled socks are sprinkled throughout.
There is not only an abbreviation list and illustrated glossary, but an index as well---invaluable in this type of information-rich book. Plus, a timeline runs along the bottom of the pages, with a triangle indicating the point in time when the featured design was published.
This is a marvelous book, with practical patterns for any knitter, plenty of interesting text for someone intrigued by vintage needlework, and heaps of inspiration for the designer.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Knitting Vintage Socks. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Interweave Press or Nancy Bush.
My capelet Baroque is in the most recent issue of Clotheshorse. I enjoyed knitting this so much I was sorry when it was finished. I loved the rhythm of the colorwork pattern, the orchid pink lining, the assembly and the buttons (especially that cute little jigger!).
In fact, I enjoyed knitting it so much I immediately wanted to make another (orange and red with a yellow-brown lining) but the local yarn store didn't have the right colors and ordering online is risky since I can't count on my browser to accurately represent colors. Soon I was working on other projects, but this capelet was never far from my mind.
I was pleased (not quite the right word---more like jumping up and down clapping and squealing) that Mindy and Heather chose this piece for their magazine. I really wanted to make it, and (since they will eventually return it to me) wear it. It's very cushy, all snuggly and warm, and will be most welcome in the damp of our Louisiana winters. It also looks elegant with my orchestra black, and folds up smaller than a coat. I can't wait to try it on in January instead of June!
These prizes go to Ravelry's annejean for her adorable Little Sock. Special kudos to 100creations for 3 entries! I hope everyone had a good time with the contest. I know I did!
So here's the pair of Dave's stockings as they are now (or were until I worked on them a little more yesterday while waiting for my kids at various goings-on).
The different color cuffs will hide unseen under his breeches and are because I decided to try the "two socks on one circular needle" method and thought two different colors would be prudent. I chose this method for this project because I seem incapable of getting identical length socks using only a tape measure.
I now have a serious aversion to this method of sock knitting, and I think most of the blame goes to my ill-fated attempt to use it first on a project which required 18" garter cuffs on size 000 needles. I separated the socks after the grey stripe on the finished one, and it will be quite some time before I give this method a chance to redeem itself.
The socks feature giant fleurs-de-lis on the back calf, done in seed stitch with a double outline of silver, and a garter stitch crease down the leg to the heel. They will have the French Heel and Toe from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.
The socks are taking so long to complete (I started them years ago) partly because I don't see this as a marketable pattern. They are purely a labor of love---and I know they will be appreciated!
Nikon D5100 with Tamron 3 in 1 lens
I got a new toy! (Just in time, too, because our other one is so old iPhoto stopped recognizing it and the whopping 16MB (that's right---MB!) card doesn't fit in our card reader. I actually took a set of photos with it which I couldn't download and ended up having to use my daughter's camera to take these.) If only I could have figured out how to set the timer then have the camera run around to take a picture of itself you would have been able to appreciate its true beauty. My daughter says this isn't possible, and my husband says a mirror would have helped.
Seriously, though, can you tell which blog photo is the first one I took with this gorgeous camera? Leave your Ravelry ID and I'll send you a free pattern.
I've just returned from a lovely excursion to my father-in-law's birthday celebration. We were there for a few days, and I got a lot of knitting done. I knit while we sat and talked . . .
. . . and I was able to knit on the ride back. (I slept on the way there!)
The project pictured above is Valerie DiPietro's Quadrille, with only half a row of bind-off left to work. I may have cheated a little on this one without realizing it, because I ended up with 10 fewer stitches than I should have. This probably happened during the waist decreases and it made the knitting just fly by! I'm not disturbed about it though---the worst that can happen is that I have more of my shirt showing in back after I tie it.
The one to the left is my own design, which I refer to as Dave's Socks because that is what they are. They have been languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag (I'm pretending to have only one knitting bag, but we all know better) but I have now nearly finished the leg of the second sock---nearly finished meaning in this case that I may in fact have finished it but I need to get out the tape measure to check.
But all this productivity is second to the wonderful visiting I did with my husband's family. Folks gathered from five states (and an iPhone) to celebrate the day. I love these guys, and even the people I was just meeting for the first time felt like old friends. I showed two of my sisters-in-law the moves for My So-Called Scarf, and Nana gave her five daughters (including me) quilted bags. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some family photos to edit!
My Little Stocking Giveaway has been extended until January 8. Read about it here.
Happy New Year!
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