Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: Coopknits Socks

You may have noticed my recent obsession with sock knitting patterns by Rachel Coopey, Coopknits.
So you can imagine my delight at the news she was about to publish Coopknits, Socks, her first book.  Naturally, I pre-ordered my copy at the earliest opportunity.
When I got home on Tuesday to find it had arrived, on the day it was released... well!  My cup runneth over :D

The first thing to say is that it LOOKS lovely!
I have seen so many sock patterns where the photos are a bit muddy and indistinct and meh-inspiring.  There is none of that rubbish here.
Every picture is bright and crisp and clear.  You can practically count the stitches in each photo!
The colours used are cheerful and energetic.
The models all have their mouths under control (who else is sick of models with parted lips, catching flies as they drool at the camera?) and... get this... the socks FIT their feet!

Can a sock pattern book be described as "aspirational"?  I reckon this one can!
There are ten designs in here, all aimed at people who love sock-knitting.  There is something for every sub-genre of the addiction:  cables, lace, colourwork, twisted stitches...

There are no "fillers"in this book.  Every one of these patterns would have been worthy of a £3 download cost on Ravelry, but buy this book and you get 10 patterns for £15 (RRP) in hard copy and it comes with a unique code to download the pdfs for your scribbley working copy - yay!  Or you can opt just to have the pdfs for £14.  But truly, you want the real live book!

Which are my favourites?

Budleigh - picture copyright Rachel Coopey

My Number One is definitely Budleigh.  The design inspiration is patterns made by water on the seashore.  There are columns of sharply-delineated ripples merging into softer deeper waves.  I would love to knit this in a gradient-dyed yarn in shades of sand /grey/ blue.  Literal as ever, Roo!  But I can also see it in a solid colour, perhaps with one sock green and one purple as a mismatched pair?  Perhaps tipped with a tiny stripe of the other colour at the cuff?

Willowherb - picture copyright Rachel Coopey

I am also intrigued by Willowherb, whose lace pattern is echoed in the colourwork of the knee-high design, Brighton - ooh!  There is a Knitalong in Rachel's Ravelry group and they are starting with Willowherb and Saltburn.  I might have to join in!

Brighton - picture copyright Rachel Coopey

Quirky mirroring is a feature of many of Rachel's socks.  Milfoil is a great example, where the foot and leg swop stitch patterns on the second sock.  Others, like Saxifrage (ooh - Saxifrage!) are straightforward opposites.

Saxifrage - picture copyright Rachel Coopey

These unexpected features are what make these patterns special.  I have heard Rachel's patterns described as "like Cookie A but more approachable" and I think there's a lot of truth in that.  (Just remembered - it was Steve over at the DramaticKnits podcast who said it.) I bought Cookie's Sock Innovation, knitted one pair of socks and then put the book aside.  So many of the designs just felt like a step too far for my tired brain.  By contrast, Coopknits Socks feel like a challenge I could meet.  Enough spice to wake up your palette, without blowing your head off with confusion.

So when do I start?

Um... just as soon as I finish my pair of John Huston, Tarnished Hero socks for FL's birthday.  I am about to turn the heel on sock one, so... soon?


Ashley Brett said...

This book looks gorgeous! And I LOVE it when you get the download as well as the physical copy. It certainly encourages me to buy a book.
I haven't come across Rachel Coopey before, so thanks for bringing her to my attention :) Some lovely designs there.

beate grigutsch said...

haute couture socks!!!!!
so great - thanks roo for sharing.

Donna Hensley said...

I love the color work!

Linda C said...

Gorgeous socks - wish I could knit. That is a wonderful description of so many models these days. The parted lips - the vacant stare - slumped on the floor or balanced on a stool with empty hands dangling between legs. A bit of a look of a porn mag, I always think.

What a choice as to which socks to go for first!


christinelaennec said...

You're so right about a lot of the models in magazines and books, and I agree with Linda about it looking a bit low-life. I don't really enjoy knitting socks (one less obsession then?) BUT those willowherb socks are so beautiful I could imagine trying...

acharmofmagpies said...

Wow, so many beautiful socks! Love them. My mum is a prolific knitter but has never made socks, I wonder if I should get this for her...

jo90 said...

Keira Knightley (not sure of spelling) really needs to close her mouth - it drives me crackers!!!

tim's wife said...

I saw a bumper sticker on a car yesterday. It said, "Life is too short to use cheap yarn."

Made me think of you, Miss Roo.

bagqueen said...

She's doing a sock workshop at Guthrie and Ghani, shop of Lauren from Great British Sewing Bee!!