Hi friends, Just the other day I was chatting with Glenna about her recommendations for books about sock knitting – in particular, books that would give me an easy outline of (and the rationale behind) the various methods of working a sock heel. It might have had something to do with the fact that knitting the heel flap, turning the heel and picking up the instep stitches on that innocent-looking sock up there took me one two three FOUR tries. (And I was sober!) But I digress. Ahem. Glenna gave me some great recommendations, including More Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch; Socks from the Toe Up, by Wendy D. Johnson; and New Pathways for Sock Knitters, by Cat Bordhi. They're all great resources, but before I headed off to do some serious shopping, I also tried to get her to write a mix-and-match sock book, one that listed all the options for toes, all the options for heels, and a few ground rules for joining them together. You know, just for me. (It's always worth a shot!) That imaginary book (and my plans for who else I'd try to get to write it) had been on my mind for about a week when an advance copy of Ann Budd's newest volume, Sock Knitting Master Class, landed on my desk yesterday. Turns out that this master knitter was way ahead of me. It's not often that I scoop a book from the top of the review pile and take it home with me, and it's even less common for me to sit down and read it right away. But with sock knitting on my mind, I was intrigued, so last night I sat down to peruse this over a cup of tea. I was absolutely delighted to see that the first chapter of the book is devoted to explaining the whys and wherefores of sock construction. Top-down or toe-up? She's got it covered. Heel flap, short row or afterthought heel? Ditto. Want to choose from a pointed toe, a spiral or star toe, or a toe band? She's got your back with that, too. Of course, you need to get from here to there, so she also explains things to consider when designing rest of your sock, too – whether you're using colourwork, cables or lace. (From my lips – back through time and across the miles – to Ann Budd's ears!) With the basics covered in the front of the book, the back is chock-a-block full of sample patterns by prominent sock designers (think Cookie A, Cat Bordhi, Meg Swanson and Anne Hanson). The patterns use the techniques in question – I love the way each pattern has a box highlighting the techniques – and an introduction from the designer that explains how the design developed. Notes from the author give hints and tips for working the pattern successfully (and there's a DVD, too). In addition, Clara Parkes (whose book The Knitter's Book of Socks comes out in October; it also looks excellent) has provided a bit of background about the yarn used in each pattern, and why they work well together. Now, I admit that I'm still pretty new at this sock-knitting thing, so I doubt that I'm going to be designing my own socks anytime soon. Then again...maybe I will. This book seems like just the right foundation for someone who's ready to strike out on their own – even if the starting place is just switching out the heel or toe treatment for one that suits them better. If I start now, maybe I'll be ready for Sock Summit 2013! If you're intrigued, click through to watch a video and view a preview. The book comes out in July.