When you’re on a sock binge, you end up wandering the Internet in search of EVERYTHING SOCKULAR.
The image that haunts me today? The oldest knitted item in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London happens to be: a pair of socks. Apparently humans two millennia ago had two toes! I did not know this.
A sock binge also leads me to sock books. I keep thumbing through two that I have on hand.
Sometimes a bracing bit of history reminds us that these socks we make for fun have a long history of being made out of necessity. Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear is a juicy combination of lore and patterns. Nancy Bush has been thinking, writing, and teaching about socks—and folk knitting—for decades; she’s one of the legends of the knitting world I would love to take a class from.
Nancy’s Knitting Vintage Socks is the second sock book I bought, when I was learning to knit socks. I remember being so daunted by some of the intricate stitch patterns, having knit exactly one pair of socks at the time. Interesting to see how after time and a zillion stitches, the impossible socks now seem like something fun to try.
Lucy Neatby’s Cool Socks, Warm Feet focuses on patterns that work well with wacky yarns. Heels and toes get special attention here (garter stitch toes? Get out!), and there’s even a thrilling Sideways Garter Stitch Cuff. I am not making this up. Truly, tons of superdetailed information in here—this deceptively small book is solid gold.
For fun, you can test your knitting knowledge with a quick sock quiz. I actually missed one. I blame poor wording, lack of coffee, the moth hovering over my desk who looks suspiciously happy, the full moon . . .