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Posted by Lucy H on 16th Nov 2021

​Q&A with Lynne Rowe, author of The Sock Knitting Bible

The Sock Knitting Bible

What made you decide to write this book?

After editing and writing step-by-step techniques for various sock books, it seemed a natural step to write a book of my own and so I was absolutely delighted when David and Charles invited me to author The Sock Knitting Bible.

Who do you think is your typical reader, if such a person exists? Who would you love to read your book?

I think the book is perfect for both new and experienced sock knitters: For those who either haven’t knitted socks before, the step-by-step tutorials are really detailed and easy to follow. There are lots of choices for different ways to knit socks, from the cuff down or from the toe up, so I’m hoping my readers will try both methods to see which they prefer. There are even socks on two needles for those who really don’t like knitting in the round, so there is something for everyone.

For those who can already knit socks, there are in-depth and illustrated techniques sections as well as ten amazing sock designs that are really beautiful and stylish. So there is plenty of content for experienced sock knitters too.

The COVID-19 situation has affected us all in different ways. How did you manage during the lockdowns?

I’m not sure I would have managed without my knitting to be honest. I love to practice mindfulness whilst I’m knitting as it helps me to focus on the present as I relax and watch my hands as they knit each stitch. Sock knitting is perfect for a spot of mindful knitting, as you can knit a simple sock without having to think too much about what you’re doing, and each day during lockdown I tried to knit a few rounds to help reduce the stress and worry of the whole situation. Once the readers get to grips with their favourite sock recipe from the book I hope they find them really relaxing too.

Virtual socialising in lockdown has been invaluable. Now that we’re allowed to meet up in person again, who would be on your fantasy dinner party list and why?

After missing so many ‘big’ birthdays and celebrations during lockdown, I would love to invite all of my wider family to a great big dinner party and we can all have a catch up and a laugh and a giggle. We could chat about the ‘good old days’ and talk about what we’re planning to do now that lockdown has eased off.

If you were teaching children how to create things, how would you begin, and what would you suggest they made?

There are lots of fibre-related projects that are really great and I find that it’s always good to have a variety of options with children as they’re all different and have different levels of skill and different preferences. Making pompoms and tassels are a great way to start and can be made into bunting or used with gift wrapping; simple circular weaving can be done with a cardboard disc and either arm knitting or finger knitting are great options for the more adventurous.

What’s the most unusual creative project you’ve ever started, and what would you absolutely love to make?

I have so many works in progress hidden away in my cupboards, including a pair of really long knitting stockings that I started to make from a vintage knitting pattern. Whilst they seemed a good idea at the time, I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish them. I’d love to weave a scarf as I love the textured fabric that a weaving loom creates. I could use up my yarn stash to make something bright and colourful.

Do you think all children should have the opportunity to learn crafting at school?

Absolutely - I think all children should have the opportunity to express and develop their creativity as it forms a huge part of their developing personality. I think creativity is just as important as academic achievements and can also lead to great careers in the creative industry. Throughout their childhood one of my children loved art and another loved dance and both ended up training as professionals in these areas – one as an artist and one as a professional dancer and the best thing with creative careers is that we can also enjoy their achievements by attending their exhibitions and shows too, which are always amazing to watch, not to mention enjoyable.

Do you think social media is useful in raising awareness of traditional crafts (and newer ones!)

I think social media is really great for the craft industry because it’s visual, engaging and informative, which is perfect for platforms like Instagram (my favourite). I save my favourite photos to look at when I’m feeling a bit fed-up or need a boost or inspiration. I see things I would really like to try and learn so much about crafting skills and traditions, especially from indigenous crafters. It’s a great way of passing skills and knowledge to others and keeping them alive.

Sustainability, specifically recycling and repair rather than replacing items, is vitally important. How would you advise people to make their crafting more sustainable?

In my previous career I was an environmental scientist and focussed on sustainable waste management, so I still follow the sample principals with my crafting and follow the waste hierarchy of prevent, reduce, reuse and recycle. I love to design projects that make the most of each ball of yarn, and I love to create stash-busting projects that use up your stash.

Crafting with sustainably sourced yarns and recycled fibres can be a great way to begin more sustainable crafting. Also, visible mending is growing in popularity which means that you can repair your clothing with visible stitching, applique or patches, so that it adds some bold and beautiful details, as well as repairing it, which in turn adds interest to the story of its life as well as giving it a new leash of life.

We’ve seen that more men (especially younger men) have taken up handicrafts over the last few years - Tom Daley’s famous Olympic knitting, and the men who take part in the Great British Sewing Bee, for example. How do you feel about this?

It’s absolutely amazing to see crafting being taken up more widely across the gender spectrum as traditionally it has been mainly associated with Women. So I’m really looking forward to seeing more men taking up knitting and crochet and enjoying the calming and relaxing benefits that it can bring.

What would your perfect day look like, and what’s the first place you want to visit once we can travel freely again?

I work Monday-Friday full time in my knitting and crochet business, and it’s amazing that I’m kept so busy. I catch up with emails (especially checking that I haven’t missed anything urgent) and work in hourly or two hourly slots, although it’s hard keeping to this tight schedule sometimes. I try to find time to go to the gym or for a run at least three times a week, as it’s really important for my well-being, and I like to go for a walk locally too to get my steps in. Then I always sit and knit or crochet towards the end of the evening, which helps me to relax and switch off before bedtime.

I’d love to travel again to my favourite holiday destination in Spain, called Isla Canela, which is close to the Spain/Portugal border. It has such a beautiful, long beach, and most of the staff and holiday makers are Spanish and Portuguese so it’s always a huge learning experience, which I love. I’ve been learning Spanish so that I can converse better with everyone and I can’t wait to go again.

Do you have a favourite genre or author? What books or authors would you say were significant influences on you?

I grew up reading historical novels and Philippa Gregory is definitely one of my favourite authors of historical fiction. I’m always drawn to the Tudor times, and I’m waiting patiently for some spare time to sit and read Hilary Mantel’s final book of the Wolf Hall Trilogy.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just started to read The Testaments by Margaret Attwood, because I really enjoyed the TV series of The Handmaid’s Tale. I still have the recent series to watch, but I’ve also read a few chapters of the book too. I still don’t know what happens to Offred.

What was your favourite book as a child?

At junior school I won quite a few prizes at the end of each school year and one of them was a large book of Hans Christian Anderson’s enchanting fairy tales, which I treasured and loved to read. My favourites were The Ugly Duckling with its happy ending and I was mesmerised by the darker tale of The Little Match Girl which was so sad. Each time I read it I would hope for a different ending, but it never came.

Thank you very much for speaking to us, we wish you every success with the book.