This week I am going to blog about knitting books that made me smile this year. The posts are coming in the order in which I found the books. Each is a mini-review with a list of what made me smile as I read the book.

In the Footsteps of Sheep: Tales of a Journey through Scotland, Walking, Spinning, and Knitting Socks by Debbie Zawinski.

What’s it about?

What’s not to like about a book that starts with a section called “Notes on Sizing”? I just love this! Even though I’ve written a book called “How to Knit Socks that Fit,” I think most people worry too much about getting the right fit on socks. I also think that for the most part, it is very easy to resize socks. (The exception being some new funky, weird, adventurous, insanely creative designs.) In general, you have two numbers you need to know for socks: The total number of stitches for the leg and foot, and half of that for the heel and toe. That main number is found by multiplying the desired circumference by the number of stitches per inch. The only trick is remembering that the desired circumference should be a bit smaller than your actual foot is. So that’s it. Well, I can get off my soapbox, move past the first page of the book, and on to the main content.

The rest of the book is about the author’s travels, mostly on foot, through the countryside of Scotland as she looks for stray locks of wool to gather, spin, and knit into socks as a knitted memoir of her journey. In each chapter, she pursues a different breed of sheep in a specific place in Scotland and makes a pair of socks out of the wool she gathers. The patterns also include details to make the socks out of commercially available yarns.

I haven’t finished this book yet. It’s one I’m keeping on my nightstand so I can read a chapter every now and then, dipping in for a little excursion to Scotland and a little adventure in wool gathering. The writing is charming, as are the hand-drawn maps and sketches from the author’s journal. Photos of the Scottish landscape are always gorgeous and photos of sheep are always interesting and cute. In addition to being a travel memoir, this book is also a course about sheep and wool.

In the eleven chapters you will visit ten different places, learn about ten different sheep breeds, and knit ten pairs of socks:

  1. The Shetlands, Fair Isle Socks
  2. The Scottish BlackFace, Cabled Shepherd’s Socks
  3. The Hebrideans, Diagonal Ribbed Tube Socks
  4. The Borerays, Basic Socks
  5. The Soays, Colorowork Check Socks
  6. The North Country Cheviots, Rib and Cable Kilt Socks
  7. The North Ronaldsays, Resoleable Socks with Colorwork Sheep
  8. The Castlemilk Moorits, Cabled Calf-high Socks
  9. The Bowmonts, Baby Booties
  10. The Cheviots, Basic Socks with a Reinforced Sole
  11. A Review of the Adventures, the Sheep, and the Socks

I think this would be a fabulous project to start in January and end next November. You’d be done knitting by November 1st, and then you’d have ten hand-knit presents to give as holiday gifts next year!

What made me smile?

  • Sheep
  • Spinning
  • Sketches
  • Socks
  • Scotland

The rest of my 2015 “Joyous Knitting” reading list!

  • Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook: A knitting books hat shows you how to turn everyday inspirations into gorgeous stranded colourwork by Felicity Ford.
  • Knitting Stories: Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-Inspired Knitting Patterns by Sylvia Olsen.
  • Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Patterns by Cecelia Compochiaro.
  • Knit the Sky: Cultivate Your Creativity with a Playful Way of Knitting by Lea Redmond, illustrated by Lauren Nassef.
    Penguin: A Knit Collection
     by Amy Maltz
2 Responses to Joyousa Knitting 5
  1. This book sounds amazing. Love the idea of one knit each month. However, we all realize that as knitters we will develop our flights of fancy at some point in the year. One can never be too disciplined with our knitting. We would no longer have to stay up all night finishing that last minute knitting. Looking forward to your list of book reviews. I will definitely put this book on my wish list.

    • It is really fun. I sometimes wish I could get a year off of work knitting just to do some fun things like this. But then I get another idea for a pattern or ebook or book to make. LOL. You won’t regret getting this book though, it’s so much fun.

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