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Pussy Willow Socks: Knitting Springtime Into Socks

May 25, 2011

    
Evelyn A. Clark's Rose Ribs Socks, from Sock Knitting Master Class
Anna Zilboorg's Half-Stranded Socks from Sock Knitting Master Class
I'm so excited about a new knitting book that's coming out soon! It's called Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd, and it's going to be an instant classic.

It has contributions from the crème la de crème of sock knitters and designers who explain how they went about designing their socks, giving readers a glimpse into a variety of design processes. In addition, yarn expert Clara Parkes contributes a short explanation of each yarn used and how it contributes to the overall design.

Author Ann Budd is excited about her book, too! Here she is to tell you more.

"For years now, I've worn only handknitted socks because they look and feel so good. Although I often fall back on a basic pattern when knitting socks for myself, the number of innovative and exciting designs continues to astonish and inspire me, which is how this book came to be.

For Sock Knitting Master Class, I asked fifteen renowned sock knitters and experts to contribute their designs and sock-knitting knowledge. In addition to the spectacular patterns, you'll learn a variety of design approaches and techniques that will provide the foundation for creating beautiful socks of your own. While some designers begin by choosing a skein of yarn for its color, fiber content, or structure, then design a sock that makes the most of those properties, others begin with an idea for a particular stitch or color pattern. Still others sketch and doodle until something speaks to them, then they find the appropriate yarn and work out "filler" stitches as necessary to translate their ideas into wearable socks.

However they begin, the most successful sock designs follow the Bauhaus principle that form follows function. In socks, this means that each part—cuff, leg, heel, instep, sole, and toe—has a pleasing design that accomplishes the necessary function. The true art in designing comes from the integration of the different parts into an overall plan that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. For many designers, this integration is the result of trial and error—excellent design usually requires some amount of ripping out and making adjustments."

Check out this preview video!

Knitting Springtime!

One of my favorite sock designers is Cat Bordhi. Over the years she's truly innovated sock knitting and sign, and Ann asked her to contribute a sock design to Sock Knitting Master Class. Cat's design is truly beautiful in it's simplicity. Cat shares her design process below.

"My inspiration usually comes from nature and, like nature, a design arises organically, revealing its unique expression moment by moment. Where I live, spring is announced by the emergence of pussy willows on formerly bare branches. For this design, I wanted to transform the charming catkins—sleek little furry shapes marching up smooth branches—into a pair of delicate socks.

    
Cat Bordhi's Pussy Willow Socks, from Sock Knitting Master Class

I began with a toe capped by a horizontal band to form a smooth and comfortable covering, similar to the shape of a catkin. Once the lower foot was complete, I began to expand the instep by working a diagonal branch with yarnovers (increasing 3 stitches every 5 rounds) to represent young catkins. Based on the basic formula in New Pathways for Sock Knitters, I knew these increases could be placed anywhere on the instep.

I worked the heel in a fortified heel stitch, twisting the elongated, vulnerable slipped stitches to shorten them and tighten the yarn's plies. At the ankle, the pussy willow stem continues vertically for a while, then begins to lean outward as the catkins reach maturity, with each yarnover hole crowned with a bouffant catkin.

I finished the cuff with a simple rolled edge, preserving the serene stockinette background and letting the pussy willow branch hold center stage."

Isn't she fantastic?

And so is Sock Knitting Master Class. Pre-order your copy today so you can start your own private master class in sock knitting as soon as the book comes out!

Cheers,

 


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Sock Knitting Master Class Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers

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New socks in a snap! Sock Knitting Master Class showcases the methods of 16 top designers for creating original and artistic socks, featuring brand new designs. You'll start off learning what goes into designing and knitting a great sock, then dive into 18 spectacular patterns featuring the widest variety of techniques yet.

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Comments

Janet Hill wrote
on May 28, 2011 12:19 PM

Is the modern quilt wrap pattern still available?

JoeR wrote
on May 25, 2011 2:55 PM

Cat Biordhi was one of the judges for the contest that resulted in my sock pattern being published in "Think Outside the Sox".  I'm flattered that we both use twisted slip stitches for heel flaps.  It makes me wonder if I was the inspiration that led her to using them for this pattern as I've used the technique for many years.  Not only does it make the stitches more uniform, but it is easier to tell which staggered row you are working Eye of Partridge while knitting with multicolored yarns.