Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Excellent new sock book: Lara Neel's Sock Architecture

Last year, I was asked to do a technical consult with Lara Neel on her sock book manuscript. I was off on a trip to tape my Craftsy class, so I printed out the draft, found my favourite manuscript-reviewing pen, and packed it into my carry-on luggage.

Now, without bragging, I do think I know a bit about sock knitting. I've been knitting socks for twenty years; I've read a lot of sock knitting books, and I've edited a fair number of sock patterns and books. And it was clear, by the time I got to the third page, that Lara knew a lot more about it than I did!

The book is a fantastic exploration of heel and toe constructions, both top down and toe up. She dives deep into the construction details and the fit for each, providing not only examples of how to use them, but also the math that allows you to adapt them for your own designs.

If you're not feeling mathematically inclined, Lara's designed a range of patterns that use these constructions. There's socks plain and fancy, for all sorts of fits and sock-knitting tastes. Many of the designs have two versions: one toe-up, one top-down. You might just find a new favourite go-to sock pattern....

Along the way, Lara shares an awful lot of wisdom and tips on sock knitting, construction and fit. I love the way she thinks: she understands that sock fit is about more than foot length, or indeed foot circumference, and she approaches each construction as a template that you can apply to your socks, and your own feet.

And the illustrations are generous, detailed, and very helpful. This step-by-step breakdown of the Afterthought Gusset heel construction is worth the price of the book, in my opinion...


Lara is kindly giving away a copy of the book to my readers... to win, leave a comment on this post before Saturday September 27th midnight EST, making sure I know how to get in touch with you. Leave your Ravelry name, or an email address, or some other way to find you.

And if you can't wait, buy the book here.

75 comments:

Cheryl said...

Oh my, that illustration does look like it's worth the price of admission! Love sock knitting, especially when travelling a lot, but always looking for ways to keep it more interesting. Think I need to add this book to my knitting library.

LizFM said...

I'm very interested in this book. I tend to only knit plain vanilla socks, but being able to try out different toes and heels to find the absolute perfect fit would be grand.

Anonymous said...

I've been hesitant to knit any socks
except for very vanilla ones...
as they fit well. Lara Neel's book
might help get me into new sock
territory!

GinaC (Rav: mad4plaid)

Kate (Hunter) Prater said...

I'm on my second first sock and haven't picked up any bad habits yet, so it would be great to have a resource to defend against them.

Kate (RavID NDAKKtie)

Oneday Designs said...

This looks like an essential book to have in my knitting book library. Thanks so much for reviewing this and for the opportunity to win.

I'm ONEDAYDESIGNS on Ravelry

Margaret Kilfoil said...

I've been hearing amazing reviews of this book on podcasts and blogs. I think I may need to get a copy to check out.

rav: deadlysmurf

Judy11 said...

I have read such good things about this book - would love to win a copy, Judy11 on Rav

Jane said...

Yay for great fitting socks! Socks are easy enough to knit, getting them to fit, not as easy.
I'm Qitou on Ravelry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review of this book. I've been looking at it and wondering if I would find it useful. I'm sold! Thanks for the giveaway.
Rebecca (knittingwithwords on Ravelry)

Sans said...

I'll have to watch for this book to add to my sock making book collection.

Renee Anne said...

Bob knows I could use more books about sock knitting :)

~ renny1780 on Rav

Catherine said...

I have already heard some great things about this book. It sounds like an essential resource for a sock-knitter's library. I would love to win a copy! (zigzagstitches)

Unknown said...

This book looks fantastic. I have just started knitting socks and this would be a wonderful addition to my reference library.

I am HeathenamI on both Ravelry and Twitter.

√úhltje said...

Totally looks like my kind of sock-book. Venturing into doing my own thing on socks more and more, but can use the help to find interesting heels and toes without re-inventing the wheel.

crystaldiva said...

I am sorry, but I need to see a book that is written by someone you think knows more than you do about sock knitting! :-)

Alison said...

Well that is timely. Am finishing a pair of socks today. :) I'm with Cheryl, going to need a copy of this!

Anonymous said...

I need help with my toe up socks. This looks like a great reference book.

Thatdarncat on Ravelry.

PurlingPanda said...

Wow I like gusset heels and the idea of doing them afterthought is great!

Angie said...

I've knitted two pairs of socks and am on my third. This looks like a great book! I'm interested in experimenting with different heel types and found the picture you posted very interesting. (Rav id: mondicat)

Julie said...

I love knitting socks, and I'm always intrigued with new ways to construct them. This book sounds like it is just what I'm looking for.

I'm jchant on
Ravelry

Anonymous said...

That book looks great! I'm working on my first proper pair of socks now, so could use the help!

Anonymous said...

That book looks great! I'm working on my first proper pair of socks now, so could use the help!
(entish on Ravelry)

Jen said...

I love socks! So far, I have stuck to two basic constructions, so maybe this will get me into deeper water.

Catrina Lyttle said...

Would love this book as a distraction to all the crazy in the world right now!

Jane Nearing said...

on Ravelry I'm Fringedbenefit.
I WILL have this book, I love all the fiddly bits about sock knitting - you can never know/learn too much.
Hope I win, but like I said, I will get this book some way :)

Vanessa Neuman said...

That book looks awesome - I'm currently on a sock knitting kick, so it would be just the ticket.

rav ID vneuman

Charlotte said...

Sounds like this would be a great addition to anyone's knitting library. As a mathematically inclined knitter I am really looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the review. I am dockstdr on Ravelry.
Charlotte

Kathy said...

This looks like a book I need to have in my library.

conradk on rav

Alison Makin said...

That book looks fantastic. I think I need one- like the other 15+ sock books aren't enough. :)

alilou78 on ravelry

Eileen said...

I would love to have this book! My Ravelry name is Ishinknits.

May said...

My last sock looks nice and fits ok but I suspect that it could be better. Would love a copy of the book.

Barbara Weiner said...

Books about construction are wonderful. When I understand how something works, I can almost do it by rote. And to put in a gusset heel afterwards is magical. I contemplated buying this, but now the opportunity to win it is better. Anyway, if I don't I will buy it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fabulous resource book. Can never have too many sock books.

Peggy
DoctorPeg on rav

ypsiknitti said...

This book sounds like an excellent reference. I would love to have it. Your rating counts for a lot. If I don't win it, I'll buy it for my birthday present.

ravID: ypsiknitter

La Vieille Chipie said...

I am a sock knitter anonymous. this reference book is exactly what i need!
VieilleChipie on Ravelry

Brenda said...

Love to have this book, Kate. Thanks for promoting it and arranging for a give away. Brenda
P.S. I'm NOO2KNITTING on ravelry.

divani on ravelry said...

ooh! looks fantastic :) i'd love a chance to win a copy!

Unknown said...

This looks like such a great and informative book! It's on my "to buy with my spending money" list, but winning it would be even nicer. Fingers crossed. :). --Bookaholic13 on Ravelry

suzenew said...

Looks amazing! Thanks for offering this wonderful book.
Suzie aka suzenew on Ravelry

StellsBells said...

Looks sockalicious.. (sorry)

Sal said...

Love the detailing! Would love a chance to win it. :D
Rav ID: ocean1120

Janet Daum said...

love math! love socks but have not had the sock knitting mojo for a while. this book could help!
janetlatifa on rav

Sylvie said...

Socks! Socks, socks, socks, socks, socks.
Socks may be the perfect knitting project - simple or complicated, always at least a little interesting, very portable, comfortable and practical, and it takes an awful lot of them to have "too many."

Rav ID: somesylvie1

Leslie Ross said...

This looks like a great book! Hope I win!

D Louise said...

Oh my, whatta book this is. I...need...it...in...my...library...

I'm knotjusthats on Ravelry

Minna T said...

Looks interesting.
in Ravelry mintui

Jennifer in Ohio said...

Looks like a brilliant book!

Jennifer (RavID IronicalKnitter)

Anonymous said...

New ways to knit socks? Count me in! This looks wonderful, and very math happy, my favorite :) BlueGrove on Ravelry

Lila B said...

It looks like a very interesting book!
RavId: cryla1009

Jane G said...

Ode to My Socks (thanks Pablo Neruda) I would love to win this book...jgutteridge on Ravelry.

bmw1952 said...

I love knitting socks! I have my go to pattern that I have used for the last 5 years, but recently I have been venturing into more complicated patterns. Would love this book to help me grow as a sock knitter!

Anonymous said...

I do have "my" sock pattern for knitting during long meetings or while listening to the tv, but it sure would be nice to branch out!
Looks like a really nice book.
KarinM.
Rav:woollove

Anonymous said...

Looks like a book I need in my arsenal.

deblyn153 on RAV

Barb said...

I too am only knitting vanilla socks with a dip into ribbed socks when I am feeling daring. This book could be just the thing to be adventurous. Thanks for the chance to own a copy.

Anonymous said...

This may be the book that gets me hooked on socks again. I love to do them but panic when it is time to start one. Even though I have had the Kate Socks 101 and more lessons. Thanks Kate, vmarzola@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

This book sounds amazing. I could really do with some help in fitting my high instep.

Thanks, Kerry
ravelry id reading101

Anonymous said...

Any sock knitting book that has full endorsement by Kate, is a requirement for my knitting library!

YYZMaple on RAV

Anonymous said...

I love to knit socks and feel that anything that can improve how I do it is worth a lot. I've heard a lot of good things about this book: thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

Ravelry ID: tmm14

Juaknita said...

OMG, I would love to win this book! I am a chronic sock knitter, in the best kind of way. I love knitting all manner of socks and am always ready to learn more.

Thanks!
Juaknita on Ravelry

AngelaH said...

An Afterthought Gusset Heel!? That sounds amazing, and also like a perfect way to replace worn out gusset heels in otherwise still-robust socks. I have lots of sock books, but this one sounds like a necessary addition to my shelf.

Rav: ahickman

Maxine said...

I think this is the sock book I've been waiting for. Please count me in.

Word Lily said...

Ooh, I'd love to win! There are definitely a couple sock-fitting aspects I haven't fully figured out yet.

I'm WordLily on Rav.

smythfamily said...

Count me in! An early birthday present.
Rav: princesswarrior

Marilyn said...

I'd love to win Lara's new book. Thanks for the chance!
marilynknits on Ravelry

Liana said...

OOOH, another techie knitting book on sock architecture. I would totally love having that book. Please do enter my name in the pot for this one.
tnknitter on ravelry

Trudi said...

I bought the ebook, but I feel like this is the kind of book I need in hard copy, so I can enjoy the paper and wear out the pages as I constantly refer to the amazing wisdom the book is filled with. I don't think I can use the ebook as effectively as I can a real book. GumnutBaby on Rav

lk said...

This looks like a great book! Thank you for letting us know about it. :)

lk :)

Laura said...

This book looks brilliant. I love to knit socks and am always interested in new ways to work my heels and toes.Thanks for sharing this book with us!!

Julia in KW said...

love sock knitting - both the no-mind socks and the wow-that-is-really-differnt sock patterns...:) - Julia in KW - known as knitnosh on ravelry

Joanne said...

Heard great things from podcasters about the book. Live your inputs. Glad to heard Lara's podcast is back.
Jio on ravelry

woollythinker said...

Looks like a brilliant book and I'd love to be in the running to win! Rav ID is robynn and my fingers are crossed...

Liz aka Fibergeek said...

Looks like a great book that belongs in my library.

Purl Mary said...

Rats! If she knows more about socks than you do, then she knows way more than I do. A must-buy book, then.

ccr in MA said...

I didn't even know you could do an afterthought heel with a gusset! Clearly I do need this book.

Anonymous said...

Oh me please.
heatherandnoel@yahoo.co.uk