Saturday, April 25, 2009

FO Number Too…er, Two

I actually finished these first but wanted to put them together with a review of Cookie A’s new sock book which follows.

Monkey See Monkey Too Socks


For: Me

Yarn: DGB Confetti Seta Superwash, 55% superwash wool/20% silk/25% nylon, colourway 24.08 (browns with yellow, cream and rust accents), dyelot 8112, 420M = 50g. 2 balls.

Needles: Clover Takumi 5” bamboo dpns, 2mm

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A

clip_image004Comments: I had never used this particular yarn before. I found that the silk content isn’t very apparent either in the knitting or in the look or the feel of the finished socks. Not sure the extra cost is justified really. I did like the colourway but interestingly, even though I started at what I thought was the same place in the sequence, they ended up different at the end.

Love this sock pattern as do thousands of others judging by the number of pairs on Ravelry. Cookie A managed to come up with an even more popular design than her Pomatomus. To use the vernacular, Cookie A rocks!

Yes, she certainly does. I got her new book “Sock Innovation” in the mail a couple of days ago and have been reading it carefully since.SockBook What I first appreciate about it is that the author states up front that she prefers to keep her sock shape the typical top-down, heel-flap, wedge-toe (my favourite too) and to embellish within that framework. That doesn’t stop her from explaining the other methods and giving patterns for optional heels and toes. Indeed, the whole first section of this book helps you get inside Cookie A’s methods and discover how she creates such eminently gorgeous socks. She gives you her tools so you can then create your own designs.

I don’t feel that this is a beginner level book, at least if you’ve never knit socks before. (I recommend “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd for beginner hand-holding.) This is more of an intermediate or even advanced level with lessons on how to read charts, pattern translation from flat to circular, placement of design repeats, cables in detail and a lot of those technical details that I consider particularly juicy. Any budding designer would be happy to play with these for a good long time and they aren’t necessarily only useful for socks but could be extrapolated for anything else you want to knit. The last part of the book contains 15 of Cookie’s delightful sock patterns, each named for someone who has special meaning in her life and illustrating the principles that were explained in the first part. The socks are knit from mostly hand-dyed yarns in solid, semi-solid or muted colourways so you can see the textures that are her trademark. They also are similar in gauge and size (average women’s) so that you can see how pattern stitches work within that basic format and the subtle changes needed to adjust for them. Cookie doesn’t forget to include hints on how to size each design up or down. The end of the book includes abbreviations, glossary of basics with illustrations and a short index.

I rarely buy books with just patterns in them. I prefer to have more content that furthers my technical knowledge and maybe lets me peek into the head of the designer. This book has it all! Patterns I can’t wait to knit, technical and design stuff galore and some personal tidbits about Cookie A herself. Including her real last name. (Now I know why she simplifies it to a single letter!) The only thing I miss is her signature mannequin “foot”. The socks in the book are sported by real feet. They look oddly normal!


Kay-From the Back Yard said...

Louisa, those are really pretty. You do such fine work!

Louisa said...

Thanks for the kind words, Kay! I do love making socks - as my bulging drawer will attest.

Dita said...

Hi Louisa - I'm knitting socks from the same yarn (and colorway also!!) and have decided that the silk content must be noil waste. There is less lustre to this yarn than if it were all wool.

Louisa said...

You're probably right. Though there are no little pilly noily things in there so it must be well-processed! Not top quality and very probably tussah. Wish they had to specify. Some companies add bombyx to denote the difference and justify a higher quality price.