These are Steve’s (non-secret!) Christmas present, modelled by Alex. I hope he likes them! Here are the details:
Pattern: Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks, by Ann Budd, in Favourite Socks
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, in colourway Stonechat
Needles: 3.25mm and 2.75mm
Modifications: I added woolly nylon to the heels to make them more sturdy. Other than that, I followed the pattern exactly.
What I learned: How to do the Old Norwegian cast-on. This was fiddly to learn, but is a pleasingly stretchy and unobtrusive cast on.
Notes: I found it quite hard choosing a pattern for this yarn. I’m not really a fan of variegated yarn – I’m such a control freak that the unpredictability of the colour combinations makes me go a bit wobbly! I also dislike how multi-coloured yarns tend to obscure many stitch patterns, and yet how without any stitch pattern there is even less chance of controlling what the colours may choose to do.
I chose this yarn because the colours are so beautiful, and they are also the colours that Steve wears often, so I could be pretty confident that he would like it. And in the end, I think the simplicity of the stitch pattern works reasonably well with the Malabrigo.
As it has turned out, I don’t mind the stripes that have emerged too much. But there are elements to the colour patterns that the perfectionist in me would rather not have. If you look at the bottom photo, you can see that the stripes at the top of the sock are quite narrow; they get broader further down the leg and are broader still on the foot.
This is because the top of the sock is worked in larger needles to accommodate manly calves. After a few inches you change to the smaller needle. The slightly smaller circumference is what causes the broader stripe. Then on the foot, the circumference is smaller again, as the cable pattern takes up more yarn than stocking stitch in which the underside of the foot is worked.
However, moaning and control-freakery aside, I adore the Malabrigo sock yarn. Over the Christmas break I plan to finish off my Lacy Cable Stockings (also in Malabrigo) so that I have them ready to wear in the New Year.