This one is for you. You know who you are: you're the sock knitter who googles "Holz and Stein needles" and thinks nothing of buying knitting books from Finland and Japan, even though you don't speak the language. And maybe you even knit some of those projects, muddling through, getting help in the far flung groups and forums you joined for just that purpose. This one is for you, because it's about a book that you can only buy (for now) in Germany.
Socken aus aller Welt (socks from around the world) by Stephanie van der Linden. That's the German Amazon link. Remember it's here because you might need it later.
We've been lucky to represent some of Stephanie's patterns here on Twist Collective, and many of you may also be familiar with Stephanie's mastery of sock design from her yahoo group, the Socken Kreativ Liste. In Germany, she has written a number of knitting books for children and sock knitters. Socken aus aller Welt is her most recent effort, and the one most worth collecting for your book shelf.
It is beautifully shot and laid out, with photographs that show the socks and their details clearly, and with a liberal sprinkling of thematic vistas like Irish pubs, fields of lavendar, and Austrian mountaintops to accompany their relevant sock patterns, like postcards for the armchair traveller. The offerings are marvellous in diversity, with elegantly executed patterns derived from such reliable influences as English Ganseys, Turkish Kilims, and Estonian mittens, to original inspirations from Italian high fashion and Japanese textiles.
These are not beginners' sock patterns, as they employ some techniques like lace, stranding, and travelling stitches that more accomplished or merely determined knitters will be comfortable tackling in a foreign language. But the technique guide and stitch journals are so well illustrated that language may not be an issue when experimenting with two handed jaquards, unusual twisted stitches, or incorporating beads into your knitting. For others, the photos of the socks themselves will serve as enough justification for adding this book to their knitting shelf, because they are a promise of what might be possible, given time, and a good German dictionary.
The book is printed on heavy creamy paper, and it smells good too, like new Corinthian leather. Why is it that only foreign books get this kind of printer's respect?
€14.90 is about $19 US, but with standard shipping from Amazon to North America, it will run you more like $35. But before you dismiss that as extravagant, you should know that it has these socks too:
I was saving those for last. I know! huh? As for the language barrier, there are a few on-line resources for translating such things. Some German knitting terms and abbreviations can be worked out at Granny's Garret, here, and here. Click around that site and you may find enough to supplement your usual Babelfish stumblings to knit a few pair.
I only tell you this because I know you would want to know.