|All photos (c) Sockupied/Harper Point|
I was eager to see how things had evolved over the last 5 years.
I remember being amazed when Sockupied debuted 5 years ago. Here was the perfect magazine for me: all about socks; even then I was an avid sock knitter. Conventional knitting magazines, which were great learning resources as I moved from beginner to intermediate knitter, just didn't seem to have enough content geared specifically toward my main love: socks.
|Laith Socks, Rachel Coopey|
Spoiler Alert!For those of you with limited time, I'll cut to the chase. I love the new Sockupied format of being PDF only. It saves space on your computer. It's easier to download and start using. The content is very focused. The patterns and photography are beautiful. If Sockupied had been offered in PDF format from the start, I would own more issues of it. I'll definitely be paying more attention to Sockupied from now on.
The DetailsSockupied 2015 is the first time the magazine has been released in PDF only format. I love this new format. It's straight forward. You can email a copy of the PDF to yourself to access on other devices (and as an easy backup method). And it takes up very little disk space on your computer: 3.75 MB. Download the PDF and you're ready to check out the delicious patterns. There's 1 file with all the pattern information you need.
Previously you had to download and install the file onto your hard drive. It's not an onerous task, but it does take up disk space (546MB for one issue I downloaded for the .exe, plus more for the installed magazine).
The eMag format was both interesting and frustrating. Because of my day job, I'm very much at home on a computer. I spend my working hours, along with many leisure hours, glued to a laptop. So it was fun to have something interactive to click through. But from a usability perspective, I didn't always know where to click. Or how to get the pattern for the sock I wanted to knit from the pattern, including how to find it again after I've closed it.
|Mill End Sock, MK Nance|
I love that the table of contents clearly states whether the pattern is toe up or top down - one of the first questions I have about a pattern. Plus, there's a short description of the key highlights of the pattern. This tells us that in MK Nance's Mill End Sock pattern "Swirling stitches cover the legs" and cable lovers might like Kate Atherley's Washington State Knee socks in which "Simple small cables are worked in a sport weight yarn." This makes it easy to pick out what's unique in each pattern.
|Washington State Knee Socks, Kate Atherley|
Sockupied's design aesthetic has really streamlined itself too, for the better in my opinion. Sure, it was fun to have lots of things to click in the interactive eMag, but that didn't necessarily improve the content or the reading experience.
Now, the magazine has a laser focus on what it does best - presenting beautiful sock patterns in a beautiful and consumable way. There are 5 patterns, a featured designer interview and an article on how to customize your knee-high socks - the perfect how-to article to answer questions that might be raised by readers when they explore Kate Atherley's knee-high sock pattern.
Another I noticed with much appreciation, is that there are no advertisements in Sockupied. I understand that advertising usually pays for magazine production costs, not subscriptions. But I like this streamlined approach. Sockupied is offering readers what we want: beautiful sock patterns at an affordable and fair price.
The Spring 2015 PDF is $11.99 on the Interweave site. You can also explore the patterns on Ravelry. That's a meager $2.40 per pattern - cheaper than any professional pattern I've seen. Plus, Kate's article on customizing socks is invaluable. Truly, any sock knitter should have the know-how to make their socks custom fit their own foot and leg shape. Factor that great advice into the purchase price and it's a steal at $2/pattern and article.
The featured designer article is a fun little feature too. Although it's just a page long, it's a fun way to learn a bit more about the designer as a person, her key design elements, and offers some handy sock knitting tips. In fact, I'm looking forward to trying out her Kitchener stitch tip on my next pair of socks!
|Karner Butterfly Socks, Jennifer Raymond|
|Chain Socks, Mone Dräger|
by Mone Dräger looks like a great pattern to use that hand painted skein we all have but don't know what to do with.
Another great thing about the patterns is that they offer multiple sizes. Rachel Coopey's socks come in only 2 sizes. But the rest of the patterns offer from 3 to 6 (6!) sizes to choose from. The instructions are concise and clear.
My only 'issue' (in quotes because it's more of a personal preference) is that due to the format, the instructions tend to run together in longer paragraphs. I like a bit more white space and visual separation between my instructions. Here's an example of what I mean.
If I were writing up the pattern (or even just following along), I'd prefer to see it like this:GussetNext rnd Sl 1 pwise wyb, k19 (21), pick up and knit16 sts along side of heel flap, work 32 (36) instep stsas foll: k1, [p2, k2] 1 (2) time(s), p2, work Chart E over24 sts, k1, pm, pick up and knit 16 sts along side ofheel flap, k36 (38)—84 (90) sts: 32 (36) instep sts, 52(54) sole sts. Pm and join in the rnd. Dec rnd Work inpatt to m, sl m, ssk, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog—2 sole stsdec’d. Next rnd Work even. Rep last 2 rnds 9 (8) moretimes—64 (72) sts rem: 32 (36) sts each for instep andsole.
Next rnd Sl 1 pwise wyb, k19 (21), pick up and knit 16 sts along side of heel flap, work 32 (36) instep sts as foll:
Rnd 1: k1, [p2, k2] 1 (2) time(s), p2, work Chart E over 24 sts, k1, pm, pick up and knit 16 sts along side of heel flap, k36 (38)—84 (90) sts: 32 (36) instep sts, 52 (54) sole sts. Pm and join in the rnd.
Dec rnd: Work in patt to m, sl m, ssk, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog—2 sole sts dec’d.
Next rnd Work even.
Rep last 2 rnds 9 (8) more times—64 (72) sts rem: 32 (36) sts each for instep and sole.
That white space and use of new lines for new rounds add visual cues that help me separate out chunks of information. But, I understand that this is a personal preference and that different magazines have different layout and style requirements. But since this is a PDF, I can easily highlight text using the PDF tools to help me focus on the steps, line by line.
Full disclosure: I was given a review copy of the Sockupied Spring 2015 PDF, but otherwise received no compensation. Amy Palmer, Editor of Sockupied was clear that what I said about it was up to me. She encouraged honest feedback, both good and bad. And frankly, I was going into the review with the opinion that Sockupied had disappointed me after its debut in 2010. But I really like what Amy & team have done and the direction they're taking with the PDF. By focusing on the content and not the bells and whistles of how it's delivered, I think they've really come up with a winner.