Mine and others
I wrote Knit Socks! to extend the community of sock knitters beyond those I could support directly through classes. I especially wanted to reach knitters who didn’t have opportunities to take classes so they, too, could join the tribe. And join they did After six printings there are 70,000 books in print.
Knit Socks! clearly and simply walks knitters through the traditional top-down sock knitting process: turning the heel, closing the toes and ultimately caring for beautiful handknit socks. The book is written for double pointed needles. It is an excellent book for beginners or knitters who have been intimidated by the idea of making socks. Additionally, the book has something for everyone. There are patterns of increasing levels of difficulty that enable sock knitters to sample slip stitch, lace and stranded 2-color patterns. My favorite patterns are those that look more complex than they are–socks that make great social knitting. Knitters of all experience levels will find patterns they love in this book.
I was pleased to be asked to revise and add material to my original “Knit Socks!” book. After six printings (70,000 copies) my publisher, Storey Publishing, wanted to re-issue the book as part of their classic offerings which are intended to stay in print for a long time. I love being a part of the Storey Publishing family with their commitment to publish practical information that encourages “personal independence in harmony with the environment.” Who could argue with that—-certainly not me!
Initially I thought that a “revised, re-issued” version of that book would basically involve me re-introducing the material and adding more helpful hints and information. As it turned out, this was very far from what happened. I ended up re-writing much of the explanatory and introductory material so that it included instructions and illustrations for knitting socks with any needle configuration: double points, 2 circulars or 1 long circular needle. I updated yarns and sock models for the favorite classic socks, replacing discontinued yarns with yarns currently available. I revised patterns to make it easier for knitters to use circular needles. New patterns were added, and all of the new ones have several variations that result in there actually being 8 new sock patterns available in the revised edition. I am very pleased with the final results of the new book that will be released in September, 2010. I look forward to reaching and supporting more sock knitters through this book. Knitting socks is such a joy, simple and meditative once one becomes comfortable with the process. But more about them at another time.
I would be the last person on earth to be able to review objectively a book that my daughter dedicated ten years of her life to writing. I will say, however, that Becka’s perseverance and strengths as an adult, such as to never take “no” for an answer when she wanted a “yes,” were qualities I observed in her since she was a child. So, I am not surprised that she stuck with this project, despite numerous challenges, until she was able to write the book she needed to write in the way it needed to be written.
After reading the manuscript in progress at many stages, I still love it and am in awe of the hard work, sensitivity, insight and artistry that went into its creation. Its ranking on the nonfiction New York Times bestseller’s list speaks for itself, as well the many positive reviews in newspapers, journals, radio and television. It’s a significant accomplishment and a great vehicle for bringing visilibility to the contributions made by Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cells and the scientific developments that followed. I am proud of my daughter and the Lacks family. My daughter skillfully weaves together so many different threads in the book: ethical, legal, medical, historical, racial, narrative, and personal, which make it a rich reading experience.
And she is a knitter, too ! An unabridged audio book is available including an interview with the author–if any of you knitters like to “read” while knitting.