Do you or any of the adults on your gift list need new socks? Would you be interested in knitting fun, colorful socks to match any outfit in your wardrobe? Could you use a new collection of sock patterns for making socks in a variety of themes — some that are businesslike, featuring houndstooth motifs, chevrons and solid colors — and some that are sportier and more playful? If you’re interested in knitting colorful, appealing socks in adult sizes, there’s a brand new sock knitting book you’ll definitely want to know about. It’s called Colorful Knit Soxx: 26 Sock Patterns for Warm, Happy Feet by Kerstin Balke.
What You Need to Know About This Knitting Pattern Book:
Author: Kerstin Balke
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Copyright Date: 2019
ISBN 13: 978-0811737937
ISBN 10: 0811737934
Book Format: This book is available in trade paperback format.
Number of Pages: 192 pages
Topics Covered in This Book:
- Sock basics and sock knitting techniques
- Materials you’ll need for knitting socks: Double-pointed knitting needles, yarn, and notions
- Knitting basics: The long-tail cast on method; how to do the knit stitch; how to do the purl stitch; how to do stitches worked through the back loops; German short rows with double stitch; yarn overs; decreases
- Sock anatomy: You get pictures with various parts of a sock labeled, including the instep, gusset, heel flap, etc. If you don’t already know how a boomerang heel would turn out vs a turned heel, no doubt you’re going to find this section of the book to be helpful — because the pictures give you a labeled, easy-to-understand visual reference for this.
- Sock knitting size chart
- Plus 26 excellent patterns for knitting socks on double pointed needles. These sock patterns are graded for sizes ranging from womens’ 5 1/2 on up through men’s size 11, and they can be made larger if you
The Focus of This Book:
Sock knitting is the primary focus of this book. All the patterns in the book are sock knitting patterns. The book also has a secondary focus: COLOR. If you’d be interested in knitting colorful socks featuring an interesting mix of colorwork patterns, this is exactly the book you’ll want to work from. However, the book does also include options for knitting 2 solid-colored sock patterns plus a couple of striped sock patterns — so if you are not yet confident in your stranded colorwork knitting skills, you will have a few other options you can get started with.
Knitting Projects Included in This Book:
- 22 pairs of patterned socks
- 2 pairs of simple striped socks
- 2 pairs of solid-colored socks
Seems straightforward, right? Well, arriving at these counts was actually a little tricky. There are 2 pairs of socks that, at first glance, appear to be basic striped designs. Upon closer examination, I found that there’s some stranded colorwork that needs to be done to knit the socks as pictured. So I counted those 2 designs in with the patterned socks, because you’ll need stranded colorwork knitting skills to make them, even though they initially look like simple striped designs.
Also worth noting: Some of the patterned socks incorporate stripes into the design. Again, I still counted these as patterned socks, because you’ll need stranded colorwork knitting skills to make them.
All together, that’s 26 spectacular sock knitting patterns you get when you pick up a copy of this book.
The Best Things About This Book
These sock patterns are ALL appealing ones; there are no bad designs in the bunch. Not only that, the colorways presented in the book are all excellent. You can easily re-color these designs if you want to, but it isn’t necessary — all of them are usable as designed.
When I look at the pictures of these socks being worn by human models, I marvel at how precise the fit appears to be. I haven’t yet tried knitting any of these socks to see how they’ll fit me, but after having read through the directions, I’d be pretty confident to try working any of them. The patterns include charts where they’re needed and relevant, and the instructions seem straightforward and usable overall.
Guys are not left out of the fun with this book. If you’re a guy who knits, or you’re a lady who wants to knit socks for the men in your life, this book would be at the top of my recommendation list. ALL of the 26 patterns included in this book are graded for men’s sizes, and they are all guy friendly if you knit them in masculine colors. The book includes ideas for multiple sock colorways — some of which are masculine, and some of which are feminine — so, you are covered whether you want to knit socks for either ladies or gentlemen.
I think the patterns in this book are totally genius. They’re all sophisticated and interesting, yet the colorwork patterns are only 4-stitch repeats.
What that means to you: Assuming you are comfortable with the stranded colorwork knitting technique, the knitting is going to be reasonably easy and relaxing for you to work on. 4-stitch pattern repeats are easy to memorize. With some of these designs, you WILL have to spend some of your time checking the pattern, because there are several pattern changes in each sock — but you probably won’t spend as much time checking the patterns as you would with some other types of designs.
Basically, these are the types of patterns you’ll be glad to take to your knitting group with you (or to your kids’ games / dance lessons / wherever else you might be knitting in public). They’re intricate enough to be impressive, but the designs are no-brainer enough that you can successfully work on them even if you’re a bit distracted.
You will not go broke buying knitting needles to knit the socks in this book. For the majority of the patterns in this book, you will need one set of double-pointed knitting needles (DPNs) in US size 1.5 – 2.5 / 2.5 – 3.0 mm. A couple of the sock patterns (specifically, the solid-colored sock patterns) in the book each call for a set of 5 DPNs in US size 2.5-6 / 3.0 – 4.0 mm. In theory, that’s only TWO sets of knitting needles you need to own in order to make 26!!! different pairs of socks.
This is a HUGE BONUS if you are just getting started with sock knitting, and you don’t already have a massive collection of DPNs stashed (either that, or a sizable amount of discretionary income to spend on knitting supplies). I own other knitting pattern books that require you to own bunches of different needles if you hope to knit all the projects in them. If you’re a knitter on a tight budget, you’d want to take that into consideration when you choose your next pattern book purchase. You could knit your way through this entire book, and you could probably accomplish that using only 2 different sets of DPNs.
If you knit a lot of socks, you probably already have these DPNs stashed. But if you don’t have them stashed already, these particular needle sizes are a good investment, because they are frequently used for knitting bunches of different projects such as mittens and socks.
In my opinion, this book is really an excellent choice for the space-starved knitter. (I’m unfortunately a card carrying member of this group.) If you live in a small apartment / condo, a tiny home, an assisted living facility, an RV or even a sailboat, you might want to choose this book and its projects over other competing titles — because these projects will not add all that significantly to your footprint. The book itself is small and portable, and many of these sock patterns are excellent stash busters that could help you to use up your sock yarns left over from other projects.
Personally, I have to think carefully about every purchase — because my family lives in a 450 square foot home (which actually seems like a mansion compared to the sailboats we used to live aboard). My husband already thinks I own enough knitting needles to open my own craft store — but the truth is, a lot of the projects from the books that cross my desk require knitting needles I don’t already own. If you also find yourself in the situation where you have to explain each purchase to a significant other, you’re likely to have a LOT less explaining to do when you knit from this book than you’d have if you were to choose a different book.
I haven’t had the opportunity to ask Marie Kondo her opinion of the book, but I hope she’d approve. The patterns included in Colorful Knit Soxx definitely “spark joy” for me. I think they will for many other knitters, too.
Other Observations About This Book
The photography and styling in this book are helpful and interesting. They clearly present each project. The backgrounds and photo props provide visual interest, and they accomplish this without distracting significantly from the important details. The photographer apparently had a pretty good sense of how to present the details a knitter would want to see before attempting to knit each pair of socks.
Having said that, some of the photos do have blurred areas — and some are cropped in such a way that you can’t see every last detail you might like to. BUT, since the editorial team has included multiple photos of each project, I think there’s enough visual imagery present to help you easily determine whether or not you’d want to knit each project — and if you do, there’s also enough information that you could succeed with knitting these socks.
Topics This Book Does NOT Cover
- How to knit socks on circular needles; the patterns in this book are all designed to be knitted with the usual sets of 5 double-pointed knitting needles.
- How to knit socks on a sock knitting machine; these are all hand-knitted socks.
- Knitting socks for babies or children; these are all adult-sized sock knitting patterns.
- Socks with cables; lace socks; brioche socks. Colorwork is a primary focus of this book, and most of the socks in this book make use of the stranded colorwork technique.
- Other types of knitting projects such as leg warmers, boot cuffs, mittens, scarves and hats; sock knitting is the sole and exclusive focus of this book.
Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy This Book
A primary focus of this book is socks knit using the stranded colorwork technique. This book contains some excellent tips and information about the technique. If you already learned how to do stranded color knitting or Fair Isle knitting, this book will provide you with enough of a refresher that you’ll most likely be able to succeed with knitting these projects.
If you’re brand new to stranded color knitting and you’ve never had a chance to learn the Fair Isle knitting technique, this book provides a fantastic introduction to the topic.
BUT, having said that, I am not 100 percent sure whether or not the section covering technical information would be comprehensive enough to help you learn how to do stranded colorwork from scratch. The information is presented clearly and well; the issue is more that the technique is best explained in 3 dimensions, and a book is a 2-dimensional medium. I highly recommend taking a local stranded color knitting class if you have the opportunity to do so. If you want to learn the technique from a book, The Alterknit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel has the clearest and most comprehensive instructions on the topic I’ve yet found, but a class will be infinitely more helpful for learning this technique.
Should You Buy This Book?
Whether or not you should buy this book depends on your knitting goals. Here are some goals, questions and considerations to help you decide whether or not you should buy this book:
Is your primary goal to knit socks for ladies? If so, you are likely to get more than your money’s worth out of this book. It is ideal for that purpose.
Do you want to knit socks for guys? If so, I think this book is one of the most exciting finds ever; ALL these patterns will work for guys. It isn’t easy to find this many cool, guy-friendly knitting patterns in one spot – so you totally just hit the jackpot with this book!…
…UNLESS you (or your guy, as the case may be) only want to wear solid-colored socks – in which case, this book does give you some options for that, but there might be a book out there that would meet your needs better. You’ll definitely get the best value from this book if the guys on your must-knit-for list would be into wearing patterned socks. If patterned socks are an absolute no-go for the guys you knit for, take a look at Socks From Around Norway as another possibility to consider.
Is your primary goal to knit socks for kids? If so, DO NOT buy this book — It doesn’t include any children’s sock knitting patterns.
Is your primary goal to master the art of sock knitting? If so, this book could definitely help you to accomplish that goal – but it isn’t the only resource you would need for achieving complete mastery of sock knitting. This book offers a sufficient amount of really helpful technical info to empower you for knitting the included sock patterns. However, there is more to know about knitting socks than what you’ll find in this book – more types of heels, more ways to work toes, etc. If what you want is a comprehensive sock knitting technique book, this isn’t it.
Is your primary goal to kick back and relax with your knitting, without the knitting being so dead boring that it puts you to sleep? If so, this is exactly the right book for that purpose. Definitely consider buying it!
Do you primarily knit to pass the time when you’re out and about – riding in the car, rooting for your home team or otherwise knitting in public? If so, I think you’ll be delighted with this small, portable booklet that somehow still manages to include an impressive number of lovely projects. If you frequently knit outside your home, Colorful Knit Socks is a no brainer of a purchase. Stock a project bag with this book plus a couple of skeins of sock yarn and a set of DPNs in the right size. Stash it in your car. That way, you’ll always have a worthwhile project to work on when you walk out the door.
I’m delighted to recommend this lovely book to other sock knitters of both genders. I think it’s absolutely fantastic!
Where to Buy This Book:
Find More Books About Knitting Socks:
- Knit Socks for Those You Love
- Socks From Around Norway
- Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Patterns
Find Other Excellent Knitting Pattern Books:
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About Your Book Reviewer: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at AmySolovay.com, ArtsWithCrafts.com and Crochet-Books.com.
This page was last updated on 11-25-2019.