Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley
Seeking the right fit on hand knit socks? Whether you knit toe-up or top-down Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet is for you! Customize for the perfect fit with Kate Atherley’s expert instruction on properly measuring feet. Enjoy tips for grafting the toe, picking up gusset stitches, neatly hiding wraps, and more. Explore sock knitting patterns that fit with new and inspiring designs.
This book is for you if you are:
- A sock knitter
- A beginner wanting to lean to knit socks
- An intermediate or advanced sock knitter looking for instruction on custom fitting their socks
- A pattern designer looking to offer more sizing options on your sock knitting patterns
Preview Custom Socks with Kate Atherley
Also, join sock knitting expert and math guru Kate Atherley and learn to knit socks that fit like a dream in Knit Socks that Fit: Create Patterns Using Precise Measurements + Gauge DVD (also available as a Digital Video Download).
About the Author:
Kate Atherley was taught to knit as a child by her grandmother, Hilda Lowe. Hilda was a legendary knitter in her own right. A family legend - sadly unconfirmed - says that Hilda used to earn a penny turning the heel of socks for knitters in her neighborhood, when she was a girl. Kate is a mathematician and refugee from the technology industry. She has written two books: Beyond Knit and Purl(Cooperative Press, 2012), and Knit Accessories: Essential and Variations(Cooperative Press, 2012). She is Knitty's Lead Technical Editor and also does other freelance technical editing. Plus, Kate’s a regular contributor to books and magazines, including most recently the Spring 2013 issue of Sockupied. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their challenging, but mostly adorable, rescue hound Dexter.
Kate just released an exciting new DVD, Knit Socks that Fit: Create Patterns Using Precise Measurements + Gauge (also available as a Digital Video Download).
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- Sock knitters, make space on your bookshelf for this one!
I'm going to go over some of the highlights of this amazing book, but if you're pressed for time, here's the TL;DR version: if you knit socks, you NEED this book.
True to the title, this book gives you everything you need to knit socks that fit--whether you have "average" feet or unique feet, Kate gives you all the tools you need to create a great fitting sock, either from someone else's pattern or when creating your own.
She starts with the basics--how socks are supposed to fit, and what parts of the foot you need to measure to size your socks. She talks you through the process of determining whether your feet are average--in which case most sock patterns should work for you with little to no adjustment--or unique, in which case you may need to make adjustments.
Of course, she doesn't just leave you stranded there. No, she goes on to address some of the circumstances that might require pattern adjustments--slender ankles, shapely calves, high arches, even long toes!--and explains how to make those adjustments. Is it a lot of math? Yes. But it's worth it for socks that fit!
Two of my favorite inclusions in the book are an extensive yarn requirements chart, where Kate indicates approximately how much yarn you'll need to knit socks sized 5"-10.5", at gauges from 4-9 sts per inch (finally, you'll know if you have enough yarn leftover for another pair!); and shoe size charts, where she provides approximate sock measurements for womens', mens' and childrens' shoe sizes (if you've ever tried to measure a child's foot, you'll know how valuable that is).
But don't let the title fool you. This book isn't just about knitting socks that fit. It's about knitting great-looking socks that fit. In addition to the truly exhaustive information Kate provides about sizing, measurements and customization, this book is full of tips and tricks about how to make your socks look good.
Those holes at the gusset? Kate tells you how to get rid of them. Blocking? Covered. Keeping your socks from wearing out? Check. Stretchy cast-ons and bind-offs? Yup. Avoiding or fixing those darn ladders? That's here too.
And if that weren't enough, she's also included both top-down and toe-up plain vanilla sock patterns (that she talks you through adding your own stitch patterns to, I might add!), PLUS 12 original sock patterns! Even better, 5 of the patterns include instructions for working both top-down and toe-up, and several of the designs are unisex--something the knitting world is truly in need of.
If you're a sock knitter, clear a space on your bookshelf and order this one right away! (Posted on 8/18/2015)
- It all makes so much sense to me now!
I am a failed sock knitter...they just never fit & now, thanks to Kate’s book, I understand why & no longer fear sock knitting!
Custom Socks starts off with a fair amount of math & assorted charts, don’t let this intimidate you! All those charts & equations are what will give you a properly fitting sock! Trust Kate’s process. Take your time, read it, take proper measurements, don’t forget to swatch and you are set!
(Posted on 8/17/2015)
- A must have for all sock knitters
I'm lucky to have taken classes with Kate Atherley, but never a sock knitting class. After reading Custom Socks, it's clear that I've missed something great.
It's rare that you find a book with such beautiful patterns and information. Atherley takes the reader on the basics of socks -- it's more than "here's the gusset" and "ribbing 101. She methodically catalogues all the important considerations you should undertake before casting on your next pair of socks from choosing the yarn to measuring the foot and types of heels. What's more, Atherley includes the formulae to make your own toe up and toe down socks for DPN, Magic Loop and short circular! Did I mention the chapters on amending the pattern to add cable and/or lace patterns?
Custom Socks full of great information based on Atherley's background in mathematics and clothing design. This book is a must have for all sock knitters. (Posted on 8/16/2015)
- A Must Have Book for New Sock Knitters and Veterans Alike
When I think of knitting books devoted entirely to socks, I think of books with a little bit of a description about the inspiration for each pattern, some background on the techniques, and perhaps some short sections at the beginning and end about the techniques. I love those books and have quite a few of them, but this book is so much more than that.
Kate has done an amazing job of providing all the sock information everyone should have when knitting socks. She talks about yarn (construction, content yardages), an inclusive range of needle options (and how to handle the quirks of each choice), shoe sizes, and how to measure your feet (and your gauge!) before you get to the first pattern.
Every section of this book is helpfully colour-coded so that you can flip to the section you want quickly, but this is a book that you should read cover-to-cover at least once before you pull out your needles and frantically cast on everything.
I love that Kate has taken the results of her foot size survey and broken it out into clear and accessible information. For example: one of my favourite charts is that she took the standard shoe sizes and provided the average for foot circumference. When you’re trying to knit a pair of socks for someone too far away to measure (or for a surprise gift!), this information is invaluable so that you can make socks that fit that person perfectly.
Kate has provided two template socks (one toe-up and one top-down), and then done all the math so that you can have perfectly fitting socks in any gauge, for any foot size. As a person who enjoys seeing math magic behind the curtain I appreciate that she provided the formulas, but you can just skim over them if you are math-adverse.
In the last section of the book, Kate provides a section of adjustments for non-average feet. There are suggestions for how to adapt socks if you have differently shaped toes, shapely ankles and a variety of other adjustments that you can use to make your socks perfect for you.
This book is great for new sock knitters and veterans alike. For veterans, this book is impressive in its depth and breadth, and will help you refine patterns for you individual feet and think critically about if your socks are the best that they can be. For new sock knitters, they are starting their sock knitting career off with all the information they need to put their best foot forward.
(Posted on 8/13/2015)
- A must have for any knitter!
I am a sucker for a gorgeous skein of sock yarn. You see, it's a bit like a puppy: if I pet it, it has to come home with me. So because of this affliction, I have a lot of sock knitting books. I really like them, and this book makes me want to get rid of them all.
I've always suffered with the issue of socks not fitting me properly, and I never quite knew why. I blamed my "cankles" or my big toe, or my lack of arches. I also blamed the fact that I just must be knitting the pattern wrong, or I was a bit vague on gauge, or I was just a tight knitter. It never dawned on me that I wasn't "average" or that there was a way to actually make my socks fit properly. I just stretched the heck out of them on my sock blockers later. (Which by the way, is never the answer.)
This book is a must have for ANYONE that knits socks (or is afraid to knit socks.) Whether you have grand plans to become a designer one day (a dream of mine) or if you just want the socks to not cut the circulation off in your calf. The charts (oh the charts!) make it all seem EASY. After reading this I thought, hold on I can actually design custom socks, that fit, for ME. It does what is says on the tin. The wording is easily understood, the charts are well organized, the patterns are beautiful, and it all just makes sense. You will not be disappointed with this book, or your new custom socks. (Posted on 8/13/2015)
- One Sock Book to Rule Them All
Having gotten my hands on Kate Atherley’s newest knitting book, Custom Socks, I’m happy to report back for anyone who is on the fence about buying a copy! But first, some background on me and full disclosure time: I have been knitting for over a decade and co-authored Anticraft: Knitting, Stitching, and Beading for the Slightly Sinister, published by F+W in 2007. I have also worked with Atherley in the past on personal branding and various graphic design projects. Custom Socks is published by Interweave, which is now owned by F+W.
Atherley’s bio will tell you that she’s in a unique position as a knitter, having a degree in mathematics as well as fashion design, and also having worked in the tech industry “translating” between the nerdy coders and the muggles. She’s not just boasting here; her experience is pivotal to her ability to accurately connect between written pattern and finished object, and how to manipulate the pattern to affect that object. I remember when I first began knitting and finally felt adventurous enough to modify a pattern to fit me better… and I also remember how dismayed I was when I realized that I had, yet again, picked a hobby that involves a f***ton of math.
Custom Socks is written for every knitter that has had that realization and experienced that dismay. Some of us just aren’t good at math, and that’s ok. That doesn’t mean we’re not good knitters, and it doesn’t mean we’re not good people, it just means that we’re not good at math. Or maybe some of us are okay at math, but overwhelmed by what seems like an insurmountable amount of math needed to design custom piece. Custom Socks is geared to help. Not only does Atherley explain, in detail and with diagrams, how socks are constructed; what the purpose of each section of a sock is; how best to make it fit your foot; and, yes, both from a toe-up and top-down method, she has done the math for you. Let me repeat: SHE HAS DONE THE F***ING MATH FOR YOU.
You can’t help but notice the tables when flipping through Custom Socks. Tables upon tables upon tables, extrapolating data from hundreds of foot measurements (gathered by Atherley over the course of many years from volunteers of all shapes and sizes) into your own personal number of cast on stitches, gusset sizes, leg circumferences, and more. These tables essentially turn her toe-up and top-down simple sock patterns into plug-and-play bespoke sock patterns: take your own measurements and follow the instructions. That’s it. Really. No, really!
And lest those knitters with math prowess (you lucky b*******s) think there’s nothing in this book for them, Atherley’s in-depth technique explorations on making gussets, casting on and binding off, knitting fabric that is hard-wearing, and spicing up her basic sock recipes with texture and colorwork make this book a must-read. In addition to the two simple sock patterns, there are eleven case studies in making socks with varying degrees of complexity that will satisfy knitters ready to take their sock designing to the next level.
What knitting skills are needed to truly make Custom Socks a worthwhile purchase? If you can knit, purl, increase, decrease, and knit in the round with your method of choice (DPNs, magic loop, etc.), you can make custom socks. Now go forth and knit! (Posted on 8/13/2015)