Book Review

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  The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook: Dyeing, Painting, Spinning, Designing, Knitting
by Lynne Vogel
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Great minds tend to think alike, especially in the knitting community. Many of us seem to have started veering away from the mainstream, experimenting with dyeing, spinning, and designing our own patterns.

More than other items, socks have offered us the perfect compact, portable, but infinitely variable medium in which to flex our experimental muscles.

Along Came the Twisted Sisters
Just when we were ready for it, Lynne Vogel published this brilliant gem of a book. Page by page, picture by picture, she and her fiber-loving friends (aka the Twisted Sisters, a group that came together in Oregon during the 1990s) lead us on a creative journey through color, texture, and shape.

The reward? A perfect-fitting, totally unique pair of socks just for you.

Under the Covers
One of the most engaging aspects of this book is its conspicuous absence of celebrity authors and yarn company sponsors. For that, I applaud not only Vogel but Interweave Press for its willingness to invest in such a daring concept.

Among the women who make up the Twisted Sisters, there is no ego, just a common love of color, shape, and fiber.

Get to the Color
This isn't a how-to book for novice knitters and spinners. Vogel assumes you already have a solid knowledge of both activities, but does make allowances for people who'd rather experiment with store-bought yarn instead. But the main focus is on color.

The Roving Eye
You'll learn several different ways to dye roving, depending both on your comfort with chemicals and your desired results. Vogel even includes a nod to the ever-popular use of Kool-Aid as a dye.

Generous rime is spent showing how to prepare your dyed roving for spinning, how different preparations will impact the color flow in your yarn, and how this will, in turn, look in the knitted sock.

Spin City
I was particularly pleased to see several pages on the subject of different spinning techniques and their impact on knitted results. One of the most interesting techniques is the use of "charged" singles (single-ply yarn that is slightly overspun and produces a bias in your knitted fabric) for design effect.

Vogel has included ample eye candy in the form of rich, large, and lush photographs. She uses them to explain each step and each concept, with detailed explanations of what you see and how it got there.

Happy Feet
Once you've prepared your fiber, your next task is to design your socks. Vogel walks you through every step (pardon the pun) of the basic sock pattern, illustrating the tricky parts and showing which measurements you really need to make it fit perfectly.

Then she explores nontraditional techniques, such as knitting a flat sock and adding "afterthought heels." Tucked within all these patterns are invaluable tips for any sock knitter, even if you're using store-bought yarn.

Comfort Reading
Our knitting community is in a state of transition as we adapt to our newfound popularity. Amid all the changes, this book comforts me. It still embodies the ultimate spirit of our knitterly community.

It's a fun, collaborative, egoless journey through color, fiber, and texture, led by talented women from all walks of life. If you're eager to branch out, I encourage you to add this book to your collection.

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