Nancy Bush has sorted through countless old patterns from the Weldon’s Practical Needlework series, first published in the 1880’s, culling, rewriting and updating the old instructions to fit the needs and materials of the contemporary knitter. The resulting twenty sock patterns are classics in every sense of the term and show once again that what once was old is new again. What made a sock special in the late1800, early 1900’s continues to delight both the knitter and recipient today. Lovely textures and attention to detail make this collection stand out from the pack and shows why vintage never really goes out of date.
The chapter “Updating Weldon’s Techniques” is particularly interesting as it explores in detail the different methods of heel turning and toe shaping, using four vs. five needles in addition to the usual basics such as working in rounds, joinings and changing colors. Each pattern is lovingly introduced with information about the original design and materials along with an outline of changes made in the updating process. An entertaining timeline ties the sock patterns to such noteworthy events as the invention of the ice cream cone. Helpful information about finished sizes, yarns, gauges, needles and the type of heel and toe treatments are provided for each pattern along with clear photos giving the reader an immediate image of the finished sock. The covered spiral binding is a definite plus as it allows the book to lay flat so there’s never a struggle to keep it open to the desired page.
Bush, author of two other sock books has done the knitting world an enormous favor by reintroducing these vintage patterns to a new, receptive audience. From start to finish this is a well thought out publication that deserves a place on every knitter’s bookshelf and is sure to see plenty of use.