Pattern: Asparagus Cables Socks by Wendy Johnson (size: large)
Materials: The Knittery's 4ply Sock: Merino Cashmere, 1 skein (397 yds), Seabreeze
Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm
Started: June 21, 2008
Completed: July 23, 2008
This is the pattern and yarn Wendy sent me as reward for winning the 2008 Summer of Socks button design contest, so I thought it fitting that these be my first socks for this year's along. I cast on the day Summer of Socks opened. I did the bulk of the knitting on our camping trip at Pacific Beach—inside our tent because it had to be the coldest, windiest summer camping adventure ever!
The pattern calls for a US0 needle, but I used US1 for better gauge and to produce a fabric that wasn’t stiff. Even with the increased needle size, my gauge was still more like 9 st/in rather than the 8 st/in called for and the fabric is very dense. My gorgeous summer-colored socks will be brightening up the Seattle gray winters! (That's appropriate, I suppose, given the wintery temperatures of our time at Pacific Beach.)
I knit both socks at once on Magic Loop. The stitch pattern itself is not difficult. But if you’re going for a full-length sock, all the twist stitches can get tedious. I had to use a cable needle rather than employing a needle-free cable technique—my stitching was too dense and the yarn too split-y to make it work otherwise. It actually took me longer to do the twists when I tried the needle-free method!
That ribbing's just shy of one inch long. Would have preferred 2 inches, but I ran out of yarn. Rats—it's a good thing these socks are knit toe-up! I might not have run out if I'd made the medium size instead of large, which I'll do when I make this pattern again. At the very least, I'll cast on fewer stitches for the toe, which is much wider than I can wear well and puckers quite a bit. I’m hoping to even this out with blocking.
Modifications: The pattern is written for the two sides of the twist motif to be split, with 4 extra stitches added around the width of the sock, and with the split cables extending into the ribbing. I did not split the side cables at the top of the heel, did not add the 4 stitches, and did not extend the side cables into the ribbing.
With the cashmere content, this yarn is too soft to really show off all the neat little twists. In person—without the benefit of the lighting for the pictures—the pattern gets a little lost in the halo. Next time, I'll select a yarn with higher twist and more subtle color variations, if any. Despite how it shows in the photographs—where I’ve worked to emphasize texture—the colorway stripe is just pronounced enough to distract from the pattern.
All that said, these are tremendously soft and thick socks, and I’m sure they’ll be on my feet a lot come the cold season!