I've been making good progress on the scarf but it's definitely too big to bring with me about town. Socks, however, are wonderfully portable and I've always got one (or two) with me. Currently on the needles are The Discovery Socks from Cat Bordhi's latest book Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters.
When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled since Bordhi's first book in this series, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, revolutionized how I thought about and knit socks. Once I heard more about the book though, my excitement started to wane. Usually, I knit the toe, figure out gauge, and make the rest of the pattern fit. This new method would add in a few more rules. Also, in regards to sock knitting, DPN's are my one true love and I wasn't pleased about having to switch to circular needles even temporarily. These annoyances aside, I decided to buy the book and try it out anyway because I don't want to be so stubborn that I keep myself from learning anything new.
Now that I'm on the cuffs of both socks, I can give a better review of the book. The first part of the book is full of clear, detailed instructions and illustrations for all of steps neccessary to make a pair of socks with this method. The second part is a collection of different patterns, of which the first socks you knit form the base, that range from basic ribbing to complicated lace. There's even a question and answer section at the back of the book which details how make a few modifications for a better fit. Even better is that the process is pretty fun and that includes snipping a stitch to open the leg.
While fun,Personal Footprints does have a few downsides. One, it's almost impossible to make socks for other people using this method if you don't get a trace of their foot first and then have them try on the sock-in-progress to make all the measurements. Second, if you don't get the same gauge on every pair of socks you knit, you're going to have to make more footprints. I miss the freedom of finding out my gauge and going from there without trying to match it to a preexisting pattern. Third, the star toe is the only toe used in this book because it echoes the heel and determines when the heel starts. This takes a bit of the guess work out of knitting a sock but what if the star toe doesn't fit your foot well? The standard toe fits me much better and I think I've figured out how to substitute it for the star toe without mucking up the rest of the pattern. More on that later.
Despite the downsides, I'm happy I bought this book and tried out something new. At this point, I'm well into the cuff on both socks and they fit wonderfully, aside from that toe. I doubt that this will ever become my default way of knitting socks but I will definitely use this method again.