Review: Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs

 Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs
Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs by Alice Curtis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I recently received this book for review from the publisher.
Let me start at the beginning: I have been a knitter for over 30 years now and I have knitted plenty of socks in these years. Both from patterns and after my own designs.

When the book first arrived, I though, “Oh, what an interesting notion!”. Then I opened the pages. The first pattern the book opened up to was the Carnegie Hall socks. There is obviously no fighting over taste, so I told myself to just overlook this faux pas and move on. I went to the beginning of the book and started reading.
I have to say: I am a knitting teacher myself and I have also homeschooled out children, but it would never occur to me to help them slack off. I would find a way to explain it differently, or to use different words and techniques until they get it. To figure out a way and make them not try something new just goes against my better judgement as a teacher. All right, Bridgett, I thought, get over yourself, maybe there are people that would like to get into knitting socks in the round, after trying these!So give them a chance.

I read on and hit the page with the moccasocks! Oh boy! Bleach for my eyes, please!

Since I am a knitting teacher, as I mentioned before, I figured it would be good to give this technique a chance and at least knit one pair of socks with it. I will have to have answers once people start knitting socks this way and need help (and boy will they need help. So Off I went. Grabbed yarn off a shelf at my shop and started off. The socks I picked were really the nicest pair in the entire book. The problem is: I just could not get into a rhythm with this pattern. Nobody’s fault… It happens now and again.

So, I decided to switch to one of the simpler patterns instead, because I have other knitting projects with looming deadlines and wanted these socks off my needles asap. I started out and so far so good, it all worked out and the sock grew right fast.

I got to the heel. I worked the heel exaclty as it stated in the pattern. I find the heel flap a bit short, if you ask me. I usually make them so they square off. None the less, I stuck with the pattern, although I already had a sinking feeling. The pattern then prompted me to pick up 16 stitches along the sides of a too short heelflap. I ignored again my better judgement and went for what the pattern suggested. I finished the sock and found out the heel is puckering at the gusset stitches. the toe is pointy, the heelflap too short and the overall fit of the sock just a little too wide for my taste.
ALL THIS WORK FOR NOTHING!

Now, maybe it’s just me, maybe other people have a better experience following this pattern. Maybe I should have used different yarn….I won’t make another pattern from this book. I will not waste my time and my yarn on this!

Apart from the bad experience with this pattern, I must say : The seam will bother you, once the sock is done. If you wear this sock in a shoe, the seam will push into your foot, never mind if it is on the bottom, or the top of the foot.
I also don’t like that one cannot try the sock on while knitting it. In the round (never mind if toe up, or cuff down, circulars, or DPN’s) I can try the sock on and find out two inches into the cuff, that it won’t fit, or know exactly where to stop increasing for the toe.

I do believe people not capable of knitting in the round will not be happy following the patterns in this book. You will not find out until you are done, if this sock will fit you. If you haven’t knitted socks before, you will not be able to simply change the pattern to make it fit, as you don’t know what won’t fit until you are finished and have the sock sewn up. Also the “target group” the author wrote the book for, is people not wanting, or being able to knit in the round. I want to venture, that these same people will not be able to simply change a pattern to begin with.

I would recommend for everyone to try and knit socks in the round. Never mind, if you want to use circular needles, or double point, TRY IT! You will end up with a sock that fits and makes you happy, instead of something you have to bury in the back garden and discouraged to ever try socks again.
If you think I was mean, or I am making this sound worse than it is, I showed the sock to our knitting group at the shop and they were appalled.
Like I said: over 30 years of experience…. trust me when I say: knitting socks in the round is not that hard, but definitely worth it.

 

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6 thoughts on “Review: Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles; 20 Original Designs

  1. I don’t normally take the time to comment on blog posts, but felt compelled in this instance. I too have been knitting for over 30 years, am a knitting teacher and knitwear designer, and received a copy of this book from the publisher. I, however, do not feel that a personal, vehement distaste for a technique constitutes a cogent review.

    Firstly, you say that, “To figure out a way and make them not try something new just goes against my better judgement as a teacher.” As this is a new technique, you appear to have contradicted yourself. As a teacher of knitting and a lifelong student of knitting, it amazes me that one would shun a technique before trying it. Nowhere in the book is it stated that this is a replacement technique for knitting socks in the round. I thoroughly enjoy finding new and different ways to do things in knitting, to my mind you can never have too many weapons in your arsenal.

    Secondly, to take an inclusive approach to knitting – specifically, to encourage people to try socks and still stay within their comfort zone – in no way diminishes genre of sock knitting. Rather it augments it. If a person can get what they want and need from the act of knitting and from the knitted piece created, then they are doing it correctly – for them. Knitting purism is just another way for small-minded people to make themselves feel superior. Knitting in the round is wonderful, knitting flat is fantastic – making socks both ways is fabulous.

    Further, you opine that, “Also the “target group” the author wrote the book for, is people not wanting, or being able to knit in the round. I want to venture, that these same people will not be able to simply change a pattern to begin with.” Incorrect. I bought a copy of this book for my mother – who has been knitting for 50 years – and she was delighted with the technique. She simply prefers not to knit in the round and dislikes double pointed needles. She has adapted many patterns over the years, and had no trouble at all making the patterns in this book work for her. She had not knit a pair of socks in 30 years, and is now knitting socks again. Brava, Ms. Curtis!

    I found the patterns in the book to be clear, varied and well-written. The overall impression is polished and professional. There are patterns for varying level of expertise, and for all ages. Several ladies in *my* knitting group have also knit patterns from this book – with universal success, and have worn them with pleasure. Nary a pucker or pointed toe to be seen.

    I do appreciate the assertion that the socks cannot be tried on as they are knit. I wonder how the author and sample knitters were able to make the photographed socks for the intended models without trying them on as they went along. Hmmmm, perhaps exact and comprehensive measurements…? Nah, couldn’t be that. I must confess myself to never having tried something on while still on the needles. Then again, I tend to take a lot of measurements in my designing process.

    Lastly, you cite your being a teacher homeschooler as credentials:
    “I have also homeschooled out children”
    “So Off I went”
    “and the sock grew right fast”
    “I worked the heel exaclty as it stated in the pattern”
    “…stitches. the toe is pointy”
    “I must say : The seam will bother you”

    Sorry, I should not have stooped so low. But you *could* get off your high horse now, if you wanted to.

    • I quote: “Sorry, I should not have stooped so low. But you *could* get off your high horse now, if you wanted to. ”
      My answer: So can you! My review is my opinion. Feel free to ignore it.
      English is not my first language and I think I am doing much better than most Americans.
      Your last paragraph is attacking me personally. Which is absolutely low and uncalled for. It shows you have no class!
      I cannot take you serious after behaving like this in public!
      I refuse to stoop to your level, Ma’am!
      YOU ARE DISMISSED!

  2. Simply pointing out how a personal attack feels – which is how you treated the author. I was commenting on a blog, you were supposed to be writing a reasoned and objective book review. Nor can I take you seriously after you behaved like that in public. However, I do apolgise unreservedly for hurting your feelings.

  3. Also, from your “Reviews Policy and Disclosure”: “If I cannot write anything positive about your product, I won’t write anything.” Words to live by indeed, as words have repercussions and far-reaching consequences. I should try harder in that vein. Have a wonderful, yarn-filled day!

  4. Congratulations Eileen that you and your friends/family are happy with this book and the patterns! I, myself, am grateful for this review because it kept me from spending money on this book. This is the writer’s personal blog and she’s expressing her own opinion. I understand your point, but there’s no need to get nasty. Not everyone has a perfect written expression, especially if it isn’t someone’s native language (English isn’t mine neither…). And I have to object your “high horse”. On the contrary, I think you are the one who should get down; it was just a book review. Or better not, don’t waste your time with the simple folks…

    Bridgett: thank you for this review. As I said, it kept me from wasting money and I really like your style of writing. Looking forward to the next review(s).

    xxx

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