My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.



My list of works-in-progress has undergone some changes since last we spoke.

The black lace tunic has been relegated to UFO status. I can’t force myself to knit on it, so it has been put away to marinate for a while.

I am happily knitting along on both the Thin Ice and Trillian shawls.

I stopped work on the sock I was knitting from Supersocke 8, the worsted weight sock yarn. I knit it up to the gusset increases, but the voice in my head that started out by whispering “it’s not good” was by this point screaming in a loud (and unnecessarily shrill) tone “It’s wrong! It’s wrong!” The yarn was just too heavy and it did not feel soft enough for a comfy sock.

So I cast it aside and went into the stash room. There I found a skein of Trekking 6-ply and started a sock with that. Much, much better. It is nice and soft and knits up to the same gauge as Opal 6-ply. It’s the same composition: 75% wool and 25% nylon.

I’m using colorway # 1806 which is listed as greys, but they do have a bluish cast to them. I’m about an inch away from the gusset increases in this photo.

Note the book on which I have my sock-in-progress propped.

It is Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s Book of Socks. Or, as I like to think of it, “Everything you always wanted to know about socks but were afraid to ask.”

Flipping through this book got me to thinking: I can’t imagine a book like this coming out, say, 30 years ago. In 1981 we just knit what you gave us. If you wanted to knit socks, you took some Patons Kroy and a pattern for a top-down sock with heel flap and had at it.

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but today there are so many more choices for yarns. Handpaints!┬á Indie-dyed! Self-striping! Bamboo! Sea silk! Et cetera.

And there are approximately eleventy billion sock patterns available today and so many different ways to construct a sock.

With all these choices for yarns and patterns, this is a book whose time has come.

There is a lot of great information on what properties you need in a yarn for socks and a discussion of all the different fibers you can think of and their usefulness as sock yarn. Finally, information on yarn construction — what characteristics you need for a good sock yarn.

Another important element for socks is the stitch pattern — what makes it stretchy, what makes it strong, etc.

Oh, and there are patterns too. ­čÖé Twenty (I think) lovely patterns from Clara and other well-known sock designers.

In the back there is an extremely useful resource section that includes, among other things, foot-length tables for men, women, and children’s shoe sizes.

So, if you are into socks and want all the information you’ll ever need about sock yarns and construction, as well as 20 great patterns, you’ll want this book!

Lucy is clearly contemplating the properties of a good sock here.



  1. It is amazing how much there is about socks today. I used a basic pattern, but didn’t get drawn into the world of socks till I started reading your blog. Lucy has a lot to contemplate. Is she ready for the cooler weather?
    Jennifer┬┤s last blog post ..Meeting in the middle

  2. Clara’s book looks interesting. I’ve got it in my Amazon shopping cart, but I hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. I have her other books & they’re filled with lots of good info, so I expect a copy this one should join them on my shelf.

  3. Thank you for this review. Now I know what to do with my birthday gift card!

  4. Thanks for the review, Wendy! Lucy, when is YOUR sock book coming out?
    I want this book for my knitting library-its on my birthday/Christmas wish list. So are a zillion other things but this book just moved up a notch or 3 ­čśë

  5. I saw that book on Amazon the other day. They’re always recommending sock and other knitting books for me (I can’t imagine why!). This one looks like a good reference to own, but it has to wait until the knitting budget can support it.

    In the meantime, I have all of your books to keep me in sock, and other, knitting. Life is good. ­čÖé
    KateJonze┬┤s last blog post ..How To Enjoy An Inflatable Pool

  6. Ah, man. I saw Clara at Rhinebeck over the weekend. She had all three books and I choked and bought just the Knitters Book of Yarn.
    Knew I should have bought the sock book, too.

    I blame the yarn fumes.
    TravelingAnn┬┤s last blog post ..Samson pup in knits

  7. That looks like a really neat book! I have also had to send some of my WIPs into timeout.

  8. Ruth Porter says:

    Waiting for the book to arrive at my LYS. Saw a copy, and it’s well worth purchasing. Going to SAFF this weekend.

  9. It’s really interesting thing to hear all of these stuffs. I just also saw that book on Amazon the other day. TheyÔÇÖre constantly recommending sock as well as other knitting books for me. This one looks like a great reference to own, however, it has to wait till the knitting spending budget can support it.
    Nicole┬┤s last blog post ..What Men Really Want from Women

  10. just finish reading this wonderful book, now reading the book of wool

  11. I’m excited to get the clara parkes book. I have been eyeing it for some time.
    Kelli┬┤s last blog post ..2nd Secret Knit

  12. didn’t know there was a 6ply trekking, thanks for mentioning it. I used to love opal 6ply for socks & baby sweaters but last few years the colorways seem to be getting stranger and stranger.

  13. I have to take a recommendation of a sock book seriously when it comes from someone who has published sock books herself!

  14. Sorry, was fighting with the iPad about format, did not mean to include a random URL that was stuck on the clipboard.

  15. great colorway, sounds like a great book!
    turtle┬┤s last blog post ..still alive… really!

  16. Great book! Thanks for the review. I just finished the first read through of it. I can’t wait to try the patterns.
    Kathom┬┤s last blog post ..Hats and Scarves

  17. I think you’ve persuaded me to buy this book. I like Clara’s work but wasn’t sure I really needed another sock book but…..

  18. Sock books are so much fun. One can never have too many. ­čśë

  19. This is the second time today that I’ve read the raves about CP’s new sock book.
    Sounds like I’d better take a trip to B&N in the morning and check it out.
    Gerry┬┤s last blog post ..Lazy Afternoons

  20. What a great resource – thanks for the review!
    Barbara-Kay┬┤s last blog post ..A magnificent cat

  21. My library has her new sock book, along with her yarn and wool books, so I’ve requested all three to read, and I imagine I might end up buying the sock one. Thanks for the review. I’m going on a knitting retreat in two weeks, so I’m going to re-read your lace book for a good project to bring to that – I’m thinking a lace shawl???

  22. aknitontheside says:

    What a great title. I want a button with WIP-lash on it. I suffer from it daily but unlike the real thing, I like our knitterly version.

    Thanks for adding a smile to my day.

  23. I belong to a knitting group and one of our knitters asked the question, ” Why do you knit socks?’ I say why not. There is nothing like a pair of hand socks. They last longer and fit better than any bought sock could.
    Helen┬┤s last blog post ..What is on my needles

  24. I was looking for the part in your post where you would be giving the book away to one of your lovely readers: ahh well. . . . However, having read (and been impressed by) Clara Parkes’ Book of Wool, which was from the library, I may have to have both! I have some B&N gift cards somewhere!
    This one’s for Lucy: >^.,. ^<

  25. I think Lucy is wondering when the furnace is going on.

    Clara is a wool engineer!
    MicheleinMaine┬┤s last blog post ..Ghastlies Sweater Bag

  26. Must see if I can get Clara’s new book in the next few days. I do love a good sock book. After all you can’t have to many sock books.

  27. That is really good information about the sizes at the back. I want to make socks for a friend, but I don’t want to give it away by asking for them to measure their feet. Not subtle at all!
    Seanna Lea┬┤s last blog post ..[10 Tuesday] on Thursday…

  28. My book came this week. I had Clara for a class last spring and have been patiently waiting for it. This winter won’t be quite as dark – I have LOTS of socks to knit!

  29. Cool book!!

  30. Susan Shelly says:

    Looks like a great book! And I love the picture of Lucy about to settle into her kitty bed;O))

  31. PoodleYarn says:

    Beautiful picture of a beautiful girl!