Next Stop, Serab

I love to travel; seeing new places, meeting new people. Experience, after all is priceless.

I also love to knit. Imagine my delight when I purchased Silk Road Socks by Hunter Hammersen, with 93 pages of history and knitting. The book is published by Cooperative Press, Cleveland, Ohio, 2010.

Hunter Hammersen has designed 14 sock patterns inspired by places along the Silk Road. The title page caught my eye – a map with socks along the ancient Silk Road, which stretched from Susa in northern Persia to the Mediterranean Sea in Asia Minor.

The knit patterns are not for novice sock knitters. But once you master knitting in the round, heel flaps and turning, you will want to start on a journey with one of Hammersen’s patterns.

The patterns are written for double point needles, top down with basic construction.

Instructions are clear and illustrations excellent. The patterns use twisted, traveling and lace stitches to create cables and overall texture. The socks are intricate, interesting and awesome photographs highlight the stitches.

Hammersen includes coloured drawings of Oriental rugs that inspire her sock patterns.

While she does not share knitting history, the book is full of information about the Silk Road and rug making traditions along the route.

Serab is a town in northwestern Iran. It is a market hub for woven rugs from villages in the area. Looms in the area create a unique rug – always long and narrow. Camel colours predominate with blue and red accents. My first stop on the Silk Road was Nain, a small town in the middle of Iran. I will stop in Serab next!

Inside the book a wonderful map shows the modern countries along the Silk Road. Hammersen outlines the history of rugs in the region, dyes, knots and construction and women’s role in weaving.

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route officially established during the Han Dynasty, China. It linked regions together for commerce. The network was used from 130 BCE to 1453 CE. The route predates the Han Dynasty as the Persian Royal Road. While it was a route for commerce it also created a route for exchange of culture, science, art, technology and language. The name comes from the popularity of Chinese silk  traded and coveted by the Roman Empire. Ferdinand Von Richthofen, a German geographer and traveler, coined the term “Silk Road” or “Seidenstrasse” in 1877.

Hunter Hammersen is a knitter and adventurer living in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a number of other knitting books to her credit. You can visit her blog at Her socks are spectacular and wearable. She has a love of design and textile. The book includes a list of yarn shops where one can purchase sock yarns suggested for the projects. My first stop is always Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store right in town first; they have a fantastic selection of sock yarns available.

I had to stop for a moment, take a break, knit something simple. But my hands pined for the patterns in Silk Road Socks. I took 2 mm needles, pattern repeats from the book and created some miniature socks!  Walking the Silk Road, wow!  Well, turning the pages of the book is a start.

An enjoyable read, a fantastic knitting experience, Silk Road Socks is a must for every knitter’s library.

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