29 March, 2013

Crafty reading: The Big book of socks

I talked about writing about books some time ago and I think it's about time to actually start doing it. This book is something I borrowed from the library an actually read in Finnish, but was originally published in English so the review is in English too. (In the future, when I'll review books published only in Finnish, the review might also be in Finnish, but we'll see that when we'll get there.)

The Big book of socks 

Author: Kathleen Taylor
Publisher: The Taunton Press (2009)

Finnish edition: Suuri sukkakirja
Publisher: WSOY (2012)

What is it about:
As the tittle says, this is a book about knitting socks. In the introduction part of the book the author talks about the basics of socks:
  • different parts and different types of socks, 
  • different yarns used for socks and what kind of yarn works best for different type of socks,
  • tools you need and tools you can use when making socks,
  • different parts of the knitting process from the swatch to streching and mending socks.
How ever the main content of the book are the instructions for different socks. There are all together instructions for 75 different patterns devided into different chapters from basic socks to lace and fair isle socks. Each pattern is also categorized based on it's difficulty and there are instructions on how to make them in different sizes starting from childrens sizes goin all the way to big mens socks in most of them. Also pictures of all the socks can be found through out the book.

At the end of the book there are also attachment about different types of heels and tips, a glossery of knitting terms and a list of yarns shops (the Finnish edition has a list of Finnish shops too). And of course there is an index from where you can look for specific techniques, patterns or yarns within the book.

What I liked:
First of I have to say that this book looks great. It's fresh and colorful and the pictures are crisp and clear. Visually it was just a joy to browse and that was the original reason why I borrowed it. So a big plus for the look of this book.

I loved the beginning of the book and how the basics of sock making were explaned! It was compact and clear and teached something new for me too. Or rather, managed to explain some things for me. I very much enjoyed reading through it.

Some of the patterns were really pretty and I think it's a definite merit for this book that there was a true variety in the patterns and techniques. I bet everyone reading this book vill find at least one or two patterns they will like.

What I didn't like:
Unfortunately the bone I have to pick with this book are the instructions. I considered doing socks based on one of the patterns, but when I couldn't figure out how many stiches I should cast on, I just got terribly frustrated and picked a pattern from somewhere else. In general I don't think the instructions are the clearest in the world, but it may be that I and these instructions are not compattible.

Final verdict:
For me this was a great book to get some sock knitting inspiration with all it's various patterns. It's a beautiful book and lures you nicely into the world of socks when you might have lost your interst a bit (this was my case).

I mightn also recommend this to a  beginner as a basic work about socks because of the very nice introduciton to sock making there is. It does also introduce you to different types of socks very nicely with the grouping of patterns. How ever I would need to warn that the instructions are not the easiest.

* * *

Aloitan vihdoin lupaileman sarjan käsityökirjoista, joita omistan tai olen lukenut. Ensimmäisenä kirjana esittelen WSOY:n julkaiseman Suuren sukkakirjan, jonka on kirjoittanut Kathleen Taylor.

Kirjassa on alussa johdantona perusteellinen selostus sukanteon perusteista, välineistä ja materiaaleista, sen jälkeen yhteensä 75 ohjetta erilaisten sukkien tekoon ja lopussa liitteet, joissa käydään läpi erilaisia kantapää- ja kärkimalleja, neulontasanastoa sekä lankakauppoja maailmalta ja Suomesta.

Parasta kirjasssa olivat ehdottomasti visuaalisesti miellyttävä ulkoasu, mielenkiintoinen johdanto-osio, josta vähän kokeneempikin neuloja voi oivaltaa uutta. Lisäksi monituisista ohjeista löytyy varmasti jokaiselle neulojalle kiinnostavia malleja. Heikkoutena taas kirjassa olivat ohjet, jotka koin ainakin itse paikoin toivottoman epäselviksi.

Kokonaisuudessaan kirja oli oikein miellyttävää luettavaa. Kokeneemmalle neulojalle kirja toimii mainiona inspiraationa, kun taas aloittelijalle on varmasti iloa etenkin kirjan johdannosta ja toisaalta erilaisten sukkatyyppien esittelystä. Ohjeita en kuitenkaan uskalla suurella lämmöllä suositella.

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