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September 22, 2010

Socks around the world

I recently purchased two books which I knew would be welcome additions to my knitting library. But, to be honest with you, I wasn't sure whether they would surpass my threshold for writing a review. To my surprise, I was instantly smitten! Today I will share with you my thoughts on Stephanie van der Linden's Around the World in Knitted Socks (and the other book we'll talk about on another day).

Stephanie's designs are not new to me: remember the gorgeous Scala Socks I knit for my Sockapalooza pal more than three years ago? Yup, that's her design! I have several other sock patterns from Stephanie in my knitting binder (mostly in German), and I knew her book would be certainly worth a look.

The concept of the book is very simple: sock patterns (26 of them) inspired by different countries. The designs are gorgeous. They strike the perfect balance of being both unique, and recognizable enough to associate with the country they represent.

  

From left to right: Colors of the Andes for South America, Classic Kilim for Turkey, and Route 66 for the United States. Click on any picture to view bigger.

I think all of the patterns are worked from the top down with flap or short-row heels. All of them use Regia sock yarn, either the regular stuff or Regia Silk. While there are a few textured designs (lace, twisted stitches, even beading), I think the true value of this book is in the colorwork patterns. It's not just the use of more than a single color of yarn that's noteworthy; it's the addition of complementary cuffs and heels, interesting gusset shaping... all the details that take a stitch pattern and turn it into a complete sock pattern.

One side effect of this design approach is that many of the socks have unusual soles: not simply the standard checkerboard pattern. I had to chuckle at some of the ways the stylist chose to show this to us:

 

 

I don't think I've ever seen a kneeling picture in a sock pattern ;).

I made sure to check out the sizing of the patterns. It's something I always check for anything involving colorwork, since it's often very tricky to create charts for more than one size. This is my only criticism of the book: while the textured patterns are written for 3 widths, the colorwork patterns are mainly for one width only. The length is more flexible, obviously. I think the easiest way to make adjustments to the sock width would be to go up or down a needle size.

Check out more pictures of the patterns in the extended entry! Perhaps one will catch your eye? I know there are several here which I find nearly irresistible, and conveniently, I don't have any socks on the needles at the moment :).

(click on any picture to view bigger)

  

  

  

  

Posted by Kathy on September 22, 2010 08:57 PM

Comments

wow, I love those patterns! this is totally going on my christmas list!

Wow! Thanks for the great review and all the lovely pictures! I think I want to make them all. I had this book on my wish list and I know for a fact that my husband already bought it for me. It will be hard to wait until Christmas now!

My copy of this book just arrived today! I agree...totally irresistible colorwork. Pretty dang snazzy.

I'm not a sock knitter, although I keep trying to be, but I LOVE looking at sock patterns, so thanks both for the review and all the great enlargable sock shots!

Next time I'm going to try knitting a pair with 2 circs, instead of dpns.

Wow I'm drooling. This is on my Christmas list, I plan to cast on asap after unwrapping it :)

This book has caught my eye before, for the exact same colorwork reasons :)

The patterns are beautiful and it is very tempting to buy this book.

I'm wondering what width the color work patterns are. It would be helpful to know. I have very wide feet and most "standard" width sock patterns don't work for me.

I have had the biggest crush on her sock designs forEVER now. I really need to just get off my butt and make one of em! The book looks fantastic, and I love the patterns that have been in Twist as well.

Wow, the color work in this book is stunning.

Bonjour,
The green socks with tomatoes are knitted sideway. Stephanie is one of rare designers in the world, with Janel LAIDMAN, to propose socks patterns in this way.

I've had this book for quite a while in German. Thanks for reminding me how much I need to dust it off and take another look :-)

Lovely! I remember seeing a preview for the book, and between this and the Enchanted Sole I really have all of the socks I want to knit forever!

That is a very compelling set of patterns. If only I didn't have so many socks and so much yarn in my queue already!

That is a very compelling set of patterns. If only I didn't have so many socks and so much yarn in my queue already!

I pre-ordered that book, having been so impressed with her previous work. The "Feminine Socks" are the ones I want to start with. I can't really see what's going on in that black yarn, but they have a nice vibe.

Darn, the Cambridge Library doesn't have one in stock! No worries, though--Brookline does! Thanks for bringing this book to our attention.

I may be looped, especially as I haven't finished my FI sampler from class, but this is going on the Christmas list. Thanks for the review!

Oh my word, those colorwork patterns are to DIE for! I've just finished my first colorwork sock (Bandolier from Interweave) and I'm hooked - so smooshy, so cozy, so fun. I can't wait for it to get cold enough to wear!

And these patterns, they blow my mind with awesomeness. Adding this book to my priority wishlist :)

Got my copy of this book a month ago and was instantly smitten too. Man, I LOVE these designs! I can't wait to see what you knit up!

So glad you reviewed this - I've been planning on buying this book since I first heard about it. I don't think there's a pattern in there that I don't want to knit... the width issue is a bit of a problem though, glad you mentioned it.

Hey Grumperina,
Looked for you on Twitter today (NeedleNerd810) but couldn't find you! Are you on "The Twitters"?
Best,

I'm so glad you reviewed this book. I took a quick look at it at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, but didn't buy it. Now I know that I have to have it. Thank you for your observations.

I knew I had to have this book from the moment I saw it mentioned in the daily Interweave email. I love it. I want to knit them all. Thanks for the review, as I have the book but I haven't gotten the chance to knit from it yet!

I loved the patterns and I love socks. I to wanted to buy the book immediately and then discovered the patterns are really only one size. I am intermediate knitter but with a size 11 foot. I need specific directions especially with all the colorwork.
I read your blog and your sisters religiously. You are prolific, excellent, interesting knitter. I am looking for a knit chart of a leopard for my grandsons school. Not the print but an actual animal I can knit onto some fingerless goves. Do you know where I can find such a thing? Thanks so much, Rosemary, Ventura, California

HI: Unfortunately there is quite a bit of errata in this book . I went to her website to get the corrections, and the format and explanations need to be improved. Beware. before you knit.

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