Knitting books

The Sock Clubs of Yesteryear

Last year I signed up for two different sock clubs. As the second of the two resulting books has arrived, I thought I’d review them briefly.

Socks of Iceland by Helene Magnusson

Socks of Iceland is a collection of sock pattern inspired by traditional Icelandic textiles. There is a range of techniques, including lace, colorwork, some interesting shaping here and there, and some different heel and toe constructions. There are a few essays on Icelandic history and textile heritage, but this book is primarily about the socks.

And the socks are all featured in lush pictures, usually in beautiful natural settings in Iceland, which makes them extra tempting! I got myself this pattern club, and DH got me the yarn pack that went with it for last year’s Christmas. The featured yarn was a new line for Helene – Katla Sock. It is a tightly spun sport weight of Icelandic yarn. I have knit DH a pair of socks from this yarn, but haven’t made any out of the book yet. My first pair from the book is next on my sock list!

I’m very happy with this pattern book! I don’t know that I’d make all of the socks in it, but certainly quite a few are in my queue.

The other book is from Kate Davies’ club last year – the Bluestocking sock pattern club

This book is centered around the Bluestockings, a group of learned women from the 18th century. There are heady essays on each of the featured Bluestockings, the history of socks and sock knitting, and then there are the patterns. Each of the sock patterns is inspired by one of the featured ladies, and again the patterns include a range of techniques. Featured Bluestockings include: Elizabeth Montagu, Catherine Macaulay, Elizabeth Carter, Mercy Otis Warren, Phyllis Wheatley Peters, Mary Delany, and Sarah Scott. Finally, there is a bonus hap pattern as well!

I did make one pair of socks from this book – the Elizabeth Montagu socks, shown above. The featured yarn for the pattern club/book is from John Arbon. That’s not what I used though, as I have way too much sock yarn in the house to justify buying much more πŸ™‚ As with the Socks of Iceland, I am very happy with this book! Love the essays, love the patterns. I am more bookish than not, so it was so interesting to read about the Bluestockings and their accomplishments.

I would say that anyone who enjoys sock knitting would like either of these books. If you like a lot of history and more straightforward sock knitting, the Bluestocking book would probably be more for you. If you like ethnic knitting or socks that are a little more different, then the Socks of Iceland would probably be your preference. However, I’m happy to have both of them!

Have you gotten any new pattern books lately? If so how are they?

27 thoughts on “The Sock Clubs of Yesteryear

  1. Thanks for sharing about these books. I love how interested you are in the history and all the different techniques in knitting. I don’t buy or read books like this but really enjoy hearing about them and knowing they are out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently purchased Nora Gaughan’s Twisted Stitches, based on the recommendation by Kate Davies. I bookmarked the Lizard Stitch, so I must have thought about a use for that stitch. I’ve slept since then and can’t remember what I was thinking. Pity I didn’t write it down!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Both sound really interesting, even though I am not an avid sock knitter. I did buy a book years ago, ‘knitting socks on two needles’ , as I don’t like knitting on four pins particularly. However, I see the book still staring at me from my shelf, still untouched. I am seriously thinking of calling my yarn stash just my yarn collection, otherwise I could be accused of just hoarding !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Having had a bit of a stressful Christmas, this weekend I had time to dive into a box where part of my ‘collection’ lies and have made a mini decision to let a little part of this ‘little part’ go to a good home elsewhere. It barely makes a chink in the pile but I know someone who will actually use it and love it as she learns to knit her first cowl rather than just another straight garter stitch scarf. Ooh feels good!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thought that too. One friend has just joined a new knitting club at a hospice charity – she said the other knitters are very basic and she hopes to encourage them to try a few new things for their community table top sale.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I do too. I think the group meets as much for companionship as learning new skills – but maybe the right person and the right project will be a pleasant challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. These look great! I haven’t been in any yarn or pattern clubs in a while, and I miss the fun surprise of it. Maybe for my next birthday I’ll sign up for something… The most recent pattern book I got was about half a year ago as a birthday gift. It was a book of Star Wars knitting patterns. I’m not sure how many of them I”ll knit, but I do cherish the book because it was a perfect gift for me from someone I didn’t expect anything from! Such a sweet and thoughtful surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s good! I have a dyer in mind that I’m considering buying a club subscription for (Space Cadet) but they only open sign-ups a couple times a year, so I’m trying to decide before the next time they open the club again.

        Liked by 1 person

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