Unique Feet: Men's Socks from The Unique Sheep by Laura Lough, photography by Kristen Caldwell, pub. Cooperative Press, 2013
These past few years, I have learned a little about the process of producing a knitting book. It is after all a production, much like theater, with many hands and talents coming together---and many deadlines as well.
I knit a couple pairs of socks for Unique Feet, one of which was the Heraldic socks by Janine Le Cras. Laura sent me Tinsel Toes yarn in the Sand colorway. I ran out of yarn.
Normally this might not be such a problem, but I had misplaced my gauge swatch and Laura had misplaced the recipe. The new yarn didn't look much like the original, but we thought careful photography could avoid calling attention to it. The foot wearing the two-tone sock might be photographed partly inside a shoe, or behind the other foot.
But Janine's sock pattern is a joy to work and bliss to wear (according to my husband, who refused to take them off after trying them on---I had to remove them while he was sleeping!). I have another pair in process in my knitting bag right now. (And yes, they adjusted the amount of yarn required!)
Unique Feet is ostensibly a pattern book, but like all truly good pattern books it teaches as well. Erssie Major's Naughty Norwegian Socks pattern and the Wedding Kilt Hose by Janine LeCras include calf shaping for "bulging calf muscles." The Naughty Norwegians also have a deep heel and slightly narrower foot.
Laura also cautions against making men's socks "too pointy in the toe." The incredible design feat (believe me, I tried not to use that word) at right fits the bill. It is Charles Voth's Super Hero, with a construction that "takes you on a daring caper."
As Laura says in the chapter "Sock Basics," many sock patterns are supposedly "one size fits all." Even women's feet come in such an assortment of lengths and widths that this is a strange idea, but the problem is even greater with men's feet. All the patterns in this book are given in a variety of sizes, but if you want to knit one of these designs for a slightly different size than the ones given, Laura has tips to help with that.
These Cuffed Boot Socks by Katya Frankel are a great way to keep snow and debris out of boots. The socks are shaped before the heel flap for a better fit. Unfortunately, no rear view is provided---so we can't judge for ourselves.
Maybe it's just my digital copy, but the photography in general seems overprocessed or something. (I'm not expert enough to pinpoint the exact problem.) Stitch patterns are difficult to see, socks aren't sufficiently smoothed, and not enough attention was paid to things like the toe of one sock being a totally different shade. Disappointingly, the stitch pattern is barely discernible on Lobug's addictive Diamond Moss socks.
This is my absolute favorite design in the book---another Charles Voth. The laces are done in the color named for him!
The introduction to this book explains the motivation behind it, then continues with "Sock Basics" which contains much more information than its length would have you believe. The project section starts with simple toe-up, top-down, and time-saver patterns, then quickly ramps up speed with texture, construction, and colorwork designs.
In sum, it's full of solid information and innovative socks in a variety of men's sizes. Great work!
Disclosure: Cooperative Press provided this copy of Unique Feet to Kangath for review purposes. 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 Cooperative Press, Laura Lough, or the designers.
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