Toe-Up Socks For Everybody by Wendy Johnson ($27.95)
This is an excellent book for people who a) want to improve their sock knitting skills and get into more complicated patterns, b. prefer toe up socks, and c. need to modify patterns to fit their feet.
Personally, I swear by toe-up sock knitting, it is just plain and simple easier and I like having a bit more control over the sizing. An added benefit is knowing that I'll have enough yarn to finish the project. Toe-up rocks!
Fit is a big issue with a lot of people and Wendy negotiates this in a couple of ways. The patterns in the book are written in several sizes, based on foot circumference. The patterns are generally small/medium/large, or 7/8/9" circumference. Additionally, Wendy offers instructions on how to up-size a sock pattern, even the fancy ones, in width and length. She also has instructions on how to design your own sock!
Wendy is a great teacher, she holds you hand every inch of the way. The patterns may be fancy looking but the instructions are clear and intended for people who have never made a fancy sock. At the start she she walks you through how to read charts, so don't worry about that, they won't look like multiple choice test to you anymore. The chapters are organized by concept: lace, cables, color work. At the start of each chapter the patterns are ranked by difficulty, followed by the techniques used, which are are discussed and clearly illustrated. She also gives you advice on what type of sock yarn to use.
Finally, the book looks great! The patterns are consistently beautiful, they very pretty socks you will enjoy knitting and wearing. There are patterns for men, women and children, as well as a pair of knee socks and thigh-highs. On a more superficial note, the photos, layout, and graphic design are also lovely. I know this sounds silly, but it just makes me happy.
Toe-Up Socks For Everyone gets two thumbs up!