Good morning! This is a Thursday, and on Thursdays I will have book, movie and/or magazine reviews as well as online links that I’ve found of particular interest for all things fibery (and maybe not so fibery). For other posts like this one, click the “round the net” tab above.

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Today, on this not-so chilly morning (we’re having a heat wave: it’s 30 degrees; the last few days it’s been below 10 at 0600), I have a book review for you. If there are any books or things you’d like me to “check out” for ya, just mention them in the comments.

Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden

Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden

Op-Art Socks: Creative Effects in Sock Knitting is one of those books that is just awe-inspiring.

German hand-knits designer, Stephanie van der Linden, has taken classic optical illusion art (the op-art movement was big in the 1960s, an artistic movement that “emphasizes the psychological and physiological conditions of visual experience” (pg 6). van der Linden has chosen 19 different patterns, usually presented in black and white, and translated them into gorgeous socks for men and women. Some of the designs rely on color-work for their “pop” … while others are knit-purl textural socks, knit in a single color, for a more subtle approach. You could of course do them either way, it’s up to you.

The reader/knitter is offered a chance to really delve into color-work and/or textural knitting on a relatively small scale by knitting the socks. The same patterns would translate wonderfully into a bigger project — jackets or throws would be spectacular — with the charting already done by the author. There is a playfulness to some of the patterns … a sophistication or subtlety to others … but all are amazing.

some of the optical illusions translated to socks

some of the optical illusions translated to socks

For the tentative sock knitter, the author includes some easier sock patterns; that said, the bulk of the designs are for those who have done lots of socks and want a challenge, a challenge that will reward the knitter with some amazing socks. The directions are well-written and charts are easy to read. The book is replete with tips for improving your knitting, including:

  • how best to strand color-work knitting so as to avoid making the sock too tight to put on
  • how to read charts (and to copy them larger for ease in following)
  • how to adjust the pattern for foot differences (length, width, etc)
  • how to adjust a cool optical illusion color-work design into knit-purl design for a more subtle approach (or vice versa)

This is my favorite type of knitting book — unusual techniques (some of the socks are knit modularly and then seamed) and designs that can translate to other knitted items (such as making a jacket with some of these effects). van der Linden is a pro when it comes to knitting … and she encourages the knitter to go beyond his/her comfort zone, to stretch their knitting prowess, to create a work of art.

I highly recommend this book for the adventurous knitter … a book that is definitely eye-candy for all knitters …sig block

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    Most books, dvds and other media resources that are hot-linked will take you to IF you purchase these items through my links, I will receive a small commission from These commissions are used to buy more items to review (although I do occasionally receive "review copies" as noted in the specific post) and for supplies and resources for our learning adventures. Please enjoy and shop, knowing you are enabling our resource-buying actions!
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