When I feel like getting out of the house and don't have anything particular to do, I usually end up over at the bookstore. This little quirk of mine means that I know the stock of the knitting section pretty well. One day, The Joy of Sox by Linda Kopp, appeared on the shelves and I couldn't resist looking it over. Then, I couldn't resist taking it home.
Once home, I settled in and gave it a closer look. The Joy of Sox is a parody of The Joy of Sex and all of the book echoes this theme. The tutorial section is rife with innuendo and the pattern photos and intros focus on couples. Even pattern names join in the fun with names like A Roll in the Hay, a sock with a stitch pattern based on wheat sheaves, and Quickie Socks, a pair of quick to knit socks done in worsted weight. Small knitting "confessionals" are also strewn throughout the book along with helpful hints concerning everything from color pooling to sock recycling.
Underneath this playful facade, Joy of Sox is a very detailed and informative book. The tutorial section covers basic sock anatomy, to how to adjust socks, and basic recipes for heel flaps and short row heels. How to knit socks using DPN's and circulars (1 or 2) are also included. There is no bias towards toe up or cuff down socks as techniques for casting on and off for both types of construction are included. All 32 patterns have nice, color photographs that show off the socks and their details from different angles. Unfortunately, some of these photos are a bit small which can make it hard to inspect specific aspects. The patterns appear to be well written and, when necessary, included large, legible charts. Depending on the pattern, written versions of the charts are also included.
What really made me fall for this book, besides from the attention to detail, was the variety of patterns. Socks are knit both from the toe and cuff and come in a variety of heights from anklets to thigh highs. There are patterns for fingering weight socks up to worsted. Ribbing, cables, lace, color work, and even bead knitting all have a place. With all of these choices, I'm having a hard time narrowing down my favorites. I want to knit both of the thigh high patterns, Takeout for Two and Girl's Best Friend Thigh Highs. Cyber Flirt, a sock that bears cabled emoticons, also looks like a lot of fun. Surprisingly, I've fallen hard for several color work socks despite the fact that I've haven't knit anything like that before. My personal favorites include From Russia with Love, Toe to Toe, Boyfriend Socks, and Snow Bunny. However, my favorite pattern of them all is Afternoon Delight by Silvia Harding which is a lacy knee sock with beads. With instructions like "impale bead onto hook," how can I resist?