I'm a vanilla sock knitter. I love love love plain stockinette and socks are perfect for that kind of knitting. I can take them anywhere and I don't have to do a whole lot of thinking about my knitting. In my sock knitting career the most adventurous I've been is to knit a pair of Jaywalkers, a pair of Monkeys and a bit of skull fair isle.
This might not make me the best person to review Wendy D. Johnson's new book Toe-Up Socks for Every Body because there isn't a plain old stockinette sock in sight.
This book is lovely. First off, it's a nice sized paper back printed on heavy glossy paper. The photography is clear showing off the details and the art direction is very nice--whimsical, just like knitted socks themselves which are really a luxury for the feet.
The text is clear and the instructions are easy to follow. Johnson has included everything needed to get someone started on toe-up socks and there's a nice section on designing your own socks which is great for a vanilla sock knitter like me.
But after that, you're right into a whole lotta fancy socks; lace, colourwork, cables, thigh-highs--a whole ice cream shop of patterns and textures. There isn't a single pattern in this book that I don't like. And I love the variety and the fact that there are kiddie and manly socks included. This really is a book for everybody.
The patterns use single coloured yarns for the most part, but nothing multicoloured so the yarn doesn't compete with the pattern. And most of the big names in sock yarn are included: Dream in Colour, Socks That Rock, Louet Gems, Cherry Tree Hill, Lorna's Laces, Fleece Artist, Shibui, etc.
I group my favourites into 2 categories: those I want to try (ie moving me away from the plain ol' stockinette) and those that are aspirational; maybe some day I'll knit them.
I already have some Dream in Colour Starry earmarked for the Victory socks and I'm almost ready to jump right in and make the Wrought Iron Knee Socks.
Some day I will try the Sanquar socks (and maybe that'll get me knitting the gloves!) and I absolutely adore the Norwegian Rose socks--they are stunning.
I also like that Johnson uses a few different heels which shows off the recent innovations in toe-up designs. The whole book is a delight that I'm very happy to review and add to my shelf.