I can't tell you exactly why it took me so long to post these socks; I can tell you that I absolutely adore them! I completed them exactly one month ago today and call them my Fascine-ation socks. A pattern is forthcoming.
The decorative stitch on these socks is quite wonderful. From a distance, it looks like a cabled braid:
But take a closer look and you discover that there's no cabling involved whatsoever!
The diagonal lines that your eye reads as crossed stitches have been created using the simple technique of slipping stitches that then get passed over newly knit stitches. It's ingenious, quick to work, and easy to execute without those pesky errors that creep in with some stitches just because you can't quite remember -- or figure out -- what row you're on.
To be clear, I'm not the clever knitter responsible for developing the Fascine stitch. As with so many other wonderful stitches, we have Barbara Walker to thank for bringing it to our attention. I think it's an absolutely perfect stitch to try with hand-dyed yarns that don't have long color repeats. The diagonal slip/passover breaks color lines and enhances the visual interest without overpowering the dyer's work.
The Fascine stitch's comparison to cables doesn't stop at resemblance. The stitch draws the fabric of the sock in for a nice, dense, foot-hugging fit. They're so comfortable that they may just be my favorite hand-knit socks to-date!
The basic sock construction follows the MUMTU recipe. The decorative stitch begins on the top of the foot and extends up the leg for a long, lean look. As is my usual preference, I worked a traditional, turned heel with the Eye of Partridge on the heel flap.
I used Koigu PPM in browns and couldn't be happier with the results. This particular yarn is one of Koigu's more subtle in the nuances of its colorwork, with some areas containing delicate speckling that leaves me puzzled as to the dye technique. Whenever I buy Koigu, I look for colorways with this quality -- as far as I'm concerned, there is no more wonderful dye work done today. (My Monkey socks were knit from a similarly scrumptious Koigu.) My only disappointment with this yarn was that there were two knots in one of the skeins. I'd not experienced that with Koigu before and was surprised to find the first, let alone a second.
After a 3/4-inch rib, I finished with Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off:
In this application, the bind-off created an almost ruffled edge. This is because the bind-off's expansiveness gets doubly emphasized by the Fascine stitch's denseness. I imagine the bind-off would have the same impact coming off a cable. The ruffle disappears during wearing, though, so it's not something that could work as a design element.
Pattern: Mash-Up Magic Toe-Up Socks (MUMTUS) by Zhenya Lavy
Decorative Stitch: Fascine Stitch worked over a 6-stitch repeat
Materials: Koigu PPM browns with a hint of orange
Needles: US 2 / 2.75mm
Gauge in Stockinette: 7.5 st/in
Primary Stitch Count: 60
Started: January 19, 2011
Finished: February 1, 2011