Sunday, 5 April 2015

CoopKnits Socks Volume 2 Review

Last year I met the lovely Rachel Coopey at Yarndale in Skipton. I'd read about her love of sock knitting and designing patterns in knitting magazines but not having felt the urge to knit socks myself I hadn't taken much notice. Yet when I saw her stand, the intricacy of her sock designs and the sheer fun that she's had with pattern and colour, I decided not to write off sock knitting per se.

A few years ago I knitted a pair of long socks for my brother for Christmas, a slightly dull job because I was rushing to meet the December 25th deadline and hadn't learned how to graft properly. I still haven't. Needless to say I wasn't inspired to knit any more pairs. The socks for my brother were knitted in DK on two needles - at that point in my knitting history I hadn't yet ventured into knitting on DPNs.

Dave socks
Now I'm keen to dip my toes (excuse the pun) into the world of sock knitting again. Previously I thought why go to the effort of knitting socks when you can buy a cheap five pack from M&S? Seeing Rachel Coopey's samples with my own eyes, however, persuaded me how desirable and quirky handknitted socks can be. I choose to knit jumpers, cardigans, gloves, scarves and hats instead of buy commercially-made ones so why should my socks be any different? Hopefully too, as with my other knitted items, I'll look after socks I've made myself much better than the lone chain store version found at the back of the washing machine.

Coopey published her Socks Volume 2 pattern collection back in February. Its cover, shown above, shows a selection of her designs for women - and men given that the leg above the green sock is rather hairy! There are 12 patterns in the book, with all but one being knitted in one colour. As a beginner sock knitter that's an advantage for me not having to worry about yarn changes as well as DPNs and a cable needle.

The first pattern is the one I'll be starting with. It's called Dave and is a 'no fuss' sock pattern that introduces the knitter to the techniques involved in sock making. Despite the fact that it's all stocking stitch the socks in the book's photo look stunning thanks to the variegated 'Another Crafty Girl Merino Sock Yarn' they are knitted in.

The other sock patterns look wonderfully comfortable to wear on your feet and play with cable, rib and texture. Otis is the design that uses mini skeins to create a striking, shades of orange pattern.

At the back of the book there's a section of tips and techniques for knitting socks with advice on casting on, tension, sizing to the length of your foot and using charts. I can't wait to get started on knitting 'Dave', but first I need some sock yarn to knit the pair with. In my next blog post I'll hunt for a variety of desirable British sock yarns to choose from.

Knitting stash update - I've finally finished knitting Susan Crawford's Perfect Christmas Jumper, albeit over three months too late! Now it just needs to be sewn up ...

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