Review of Sock Architecture by Lara Neel #shareCPlove

I bought Sock Architecture a few months ago and it’s become one of my favourite reference books. While it includes some patterns, the main focus is on different methods of knitting socks. It has the most comprehensive selection of heels and toes I’ve ever seen. It’s maths heavy and includes equations on how to apply the methods to any number of stitches. I’m someone who likes to understand how things work so I find that really interesting.

I was particularly interested in the afterthought heel section. It had never occurred to me that most types of heel could be done as afterthought heels, even flap and gusset. I’ve been knitting lots of self striping socks lately and an afterthought heel allows the striping to go from the leg to the foot without a disruption to the stripes.

I made my Dad a pair of socks for Christmas using an afterthought heel with gusset and the extra needle technique. This involves using a provisional cast on for the gusset stitches and holding the heel stitches on a spare circular needle while knitting the foot (I tend to knit all my socks top down although the book includes instructions for toe up as well). I found it a little fiddly with the extra needle getting in the way but I really liked the results, I think in future I would use waste yarn instead of the extra needle. I decided to use a different yarn for the heel and toe which complemented the stripes, as the shorter rows affect the spacing of the stripes.

Last week the cold weather really set in (although being in the south I barely got any snow) and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to cast on some socks in Regia Snowflake. For these I used an afterthought heel without a gusset and the thumb joint flat top heel and toe. The only afterthought heel I made before had a hat top heel and I wasn’t happy with the fit as it left a point at the back of the heel so I wanted to try another option.

Afterthough heel

The process of an afterthought heel ©Rachel Gibbs

The heel stitches were knit with waste yarn and then picked up after the foot was complete. With some careful planning I was able to make the heel stripes flow seamlessly from the body of the sock. It fits well and I’m really happy with it. I’m sure by the time the second sock is finished the snow will have gone but hand knit socks are always welcome.

I would definitely recommend it if you have a geeky interest in sock composition. I wasn’t paid to review this book, I’m just a fan (although if you buy through the Amazon links below I get a small commission). This is part of #shareCPlove, a competition to promote the great publications from Cooperative Press.

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