Book Review: Knitting socks with Handpainted Yarn

The other day I was shopping at Amazon for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, when I noticed that this book (which I had not seen before) was now shipping.  Since Folk Socks, which I was going to get, had a long shipping time (I ordered it from Knitpicks instead) I got this lovely book.  I’m so glad that I did!

I will tell you right off the bat that I love books about sock knitting for some reason.  Once Folk Socks arrive I will own all of Nancy Bush’s books (she is my sock hero.)  I love Favorite Socks, and even the Vogue Sock Book, errors and all.  But more than sock books, more even that knitting socks, or wearing handknit socks, I love sock yarn.  Perhaps you have noticed, yes?  In fact, today I had an exceptionally good meeting, and as a reward?  I got a skein of one of the yarns used in this book.  But sometimes, of course, we all end up disappointed in our yarn once knit up.  I know I have destashed more than one skein that pooled hopelessly for me (and went on to make lovely socks in someone else’s hands.)  This book helps to give solutions you can work with.

The first part of the book is dedicated to a basic overview of color theory.  After reading the section I looked over my sock yarn stash (and thought about the ones I’ve given away) and realized that the ones I love the most are the ones where the color values are all similar.  Yarns are divided into three types – muted multis, nearly solids, and wild multis.  Patterns are marked as to which ones will work with which yarn.  There is also  discussion of dying methods, and how it affects the yarn’s pooling potential.

Of course, we all came for the patterns, and the book does not disappoint.  There are patterns from some big names (Ann Budd, Veronik Avery, Nancy Bush) as well as lovely patterns from newcomers to me.  Most patterns are written for several sizes, which is unusual for a sock pattern.  None of the patterns look super hard to me, and all are charted (I have discovered that I can’t knit socks without charts because I can’t memorize the pattern.)  Highly recommended, especially if you have a sad sock yarn habit like me (is there a 12 step program?)  Below are some more of my favorites… I have actually knit with two of the colors used before (the heel/toe color of the first sock is Shibui sock, and it still makes me mad how it pools as a semi-solid)  I’ve also used the Red Tail hawk Bearfoot that Nancy Bush uses for her socks (second pair) and I think they would be even lovelier in a different color… I find that Bearfoot obscures patterns because of the mohair, and that yarn is super dark (but comfy I know!)  Oh, and the yarn I bought?  Colinette Jitterbug in Slate, seen in the purplish pair above.  I love Jitterbug, short yardage or no… the feel of the base yarn is excellent, and it isn’t super skinny, and the colors are so pretty… of course, my socks will be shorter because I’m too cheap to buy 2 skeins, but no matter…

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Knitting socks with Handpainted Yarn

  1. This book sounds fabulous, I’m going to have to add it to my library. Thank you so much for the review. There’s no nicer pick-me-up then a lovely new skein of sock yarn.

  2. Great book review! I’ll have to add it to my knitting library. I’d really like to knit more socks in the coming year. Like you, I’m in love with sock yarn!

  3. I have this book in my Wishlist on Amazon and hope to get it soon! Your blog entry makes me want to go through my stash also to re-think the choices I’ve made in my sock yarn buying. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Thanks for reviewing this – I have been undecided about this book for several days and now you have pushed me over the edge into buying it! 29 skeins of sock yarn in the stash – aargh!

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