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Sock Endings and Beginnings by Clara Parkes


Whether you’re an avid sock knitter or just casting on your first pair, The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes (the brilliant “yarn-whisperer”) shows you why you should pay attention to your yarn before you knit a single stitch. In an exclusive guest post from the fiber guru herself, Clara explains the pitfalls of socks gone wrong, how to approach new knitting challenges, and why, when it comes to knitting socks, practice doesn’t always make perfect.

We all start somewhere. Whether it’s knitting or playing the cello, we’ve all been faced with not-knowing and a desire to move into the realm of knowing. We drop a stitch, we squawk and screech, but gradually, with lots of practice, we get better.

The physical act of knitting over and over again can help us refine our technique, improving stitches and tension. But in sock knitting, that repetition will only improve half the equation—the execution. The other half is the silent partner, the brains behind technique’s brawn—the knowledge. Why else would a perfectly knit sock be so tight that you can’t get it past your heel? Or blow holes in its bottom after just a few wearings?

Knowledge will protect your socks from peril. In my new book, The Knitter’s Book of Socks, I present as broad and deep a buffet of information as possible. My hope is to answer as many of the “whys” as possible in a way that engages your own glorious brain, gets those synapses to make enduring connections, and prompts you to mutter at least one “Ahhhh” or “So that’s why….”

Other kinds of knitting projects let us cheat or coast our way along, bluffing whatever we may not be sure of, skating blithely over unknown territory without realizing how thin the ice is. But socks? They will detect vulnerability a mile away. If I cut the ends too short by mistake, can I just tie a knot and darn in the ends really tight? Nope. That sock will raise its eyebrow and unravel right away.

It could be something stranger yet equally possible. Say the pattern calls for two skeins, so I grab two from the same bin at the store and start knitting. If I’m lucky, the worst thing that could happen is that I’d be working with two dye lots. Worst case? They’re the same color but two different weights of yarn. I thought something seemed weird, but what did I know? I now have two sibling socks, one visibly bigger than the other.

Without knowing why these things happened, knitters can easily get skittish and gun-shy about everything. It’s our natural instinct as human beings. But with more understanding about exactly why this happened, we can go back out into the world and explore new techniques, projects, and yarns without fear.

While The Knitter’s Book of Socks is a buffet of knowledge, I won’t stand behind you and mutter “tsk tsk” if you fill up on dessert alone. Nobody likes people telling them what to do, shouting orders. Most of the mistakes I’ve made in life were because I was too busy drowning out the “you should” and “you must” and “what you need to do is….” I like finding my own path, even if it means inadvertently discovering a few dead ends along the way. But there’s a difference between going into unknown territory totally blind and unaware, and going into the unknown with a compass. That’s the role I hope my book will play, helping you on a lifetime of journeys all your own.


Don’t miss the Stepping-Stones project from The Knitter’s Book of Socks, or Clara’s Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird on Blog Talk Radio.

Find more sock wisdom in The Knitter’s Book of Socks and in Clara’s weekly online publication, Knitter’s Review.



About the Book
The Knitter's Book of Socks
The Yarn Lover's Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime
Written by Clara Parkes
Category: Crafts & Hobbies - Needlework; Crafts & Hobbies - Needlework; Crafts & Hobbies - Reference
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
On Sale: October 11, 2011
Price: $30.00
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