Pattern: Cable Twist Socks from Hello Yarn (actually, I used only the stitch pattern and went my own way for the rest)
Yarn: Rowan 4 Ply Soft in color 372: Sooty (a steel grey). 100% superwash merino wool. I used 2 balls + part of a 3rd (there were 35 g left on the 3rd ball). Each ball: 191 yards/50 g. Purchased from Woodland Woolworks.
Needles: 2.25 mm (US 1) Lantern Moon wooden DPNs
Gauge: 7.5 st/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette
Notes about the yarn: very soft, squishy, and elastic, and not easily split. Two thumbs up!, a pleasure to knit with, although pricey if you need that 3rd ball. I don't know how well it will wear, but it's got a tight twist to it.
Notes about the needles:I like to use wooden double-pointed needles or magic loop. I avoid ladders in the socks by:
1) hiding the needle change in a purl trough - lots of those in this sock.
2) working the first stitch of the next needle, then putting the needle into the 2nd stitch, and then tugging to tighten up the first stitch and the join. This tends to work better for wool than cotton.
I used 2.25 mm needles which produced a firm fabric. It's not as bouncy as the original yarn, but K liked it better than the 2.75 mm and it'll probably hold up better to wear.
I used the stitch pattern from the original and crafted the rest of the sock from generic sock patterns and my own head.
The pattern isn't difficult, is easy to memorize, and gives you a nice cable effect without the cabling. All the cables on those socks are left twists: just work the 2nd stitch first, then slip the first. This is essentially the same as cabling without a cable needle, using only 1 stitch to cross. The ribbing it produces is very springy! However, it still was too small to fit over K's feet, so I added a couple more repeats. These still fit firmly on his feet, but not restrictively.
My version of the pattern:
Cast on for 10 repeats of the pattern, instead of 8 (10 x 7) = 70 stitches.
If you wish to do calf shaping, cast on 10 additional stitches = 80 stitches.
I cast on only 75 stitches and you can't hardly tell there's any calf shaping. If I did it again I'd do 80.
The stitch pattern is 5 knit/2 purl, with the cable shaping happening over the 5 knit group.
Calf shaping: Work 5 knit/3 purl for about an inch, then switch to stitch pattern, still working 5 knit-cabled/3 purl. Work about 4 repeats of the pattern then purl-2-together over 2 purl stitches in every 3 purl group = 70 stitches.
Work stitch pattern until leg is long enough, ending with the final stitch pattern row.
Heel flap (I used a plain old slip-stitch heel flap):
Assuming your stitches are arranged as follows:
needle 1: 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl
needle 2: 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl
needle 3: 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl
needle 4: 5 knit, 2 purl, 5 knit, 2 purl
And you are at the very beginning of needle 1:
Knit 18 stitches, k2 together (this will be 1 knit and 1 purl knit together). Turn work
Purl 34, turn.
The non-purled stitches will be worked later as the instep)
(One each end you are dividing the 2 purls into 1 purl held on the instep to work later, and 1 purl to be involved in heel shaping.)
1. (Sl 1, K1) across, turn.
2. Sl 1st stitch, Purl back
Repeat rows 1 & 2 for a total of 17 times (34 rows total)
Now repeat row 1 one more time
Turn heel (34 stitches to start):
You should be starting with the wrong side facing you, after that final #1 row from above.
Sl 1, P 17, P2 together, P 1, turn.
Sl 1, K 3, SSK, K 1, turn.
Now, repeat the following 2 rows until you have no more stitches left. On the final repeat you won't be able to do the last P 1 and K 1. No worries.
1. Sl 1, purl to 1 stitch before the gap. P2 tog, P 1.
2. Sl 1, knit to 1 stitch before the gap. SSK, K 1.
Pick up and knit 18 stitches across the side of the heel, one for each slip-stitch loop on the edge + one at the end where it looks kind of loose. I always tend to pick up 19-20 stitches, instead of 1 per slip-stitch loop. If you do so, just decrease the stitches using a few judicious K2tog or work the gusset a little longer. A couple stitches REALLY doesn't matter much at this gauge.
I tried Grumperina's Pretty Way of picking up stitches and I like the effect. It gives a nice taut edge with a neat pattern. I twisted every stitch I picked up, as she directs. This has been the best thing for me to avoid the dreaded "gusset gap" when you join instep and heel.
After picking up 1 side, work the instep stitches IN PATTERN--just start a new repeaton the cable pattern. You should start with a purl 1 and end with a purl 1.
Pick up and knit about 18 stitches on the other side of the heel. Knit half of the back stitches onto the same needle you used to pickup/knit the heel stitches.
Rearrange your stitches so that you have the following:
Needle 1: starts at the very back of the heel, includes half the heel stitches and left picked-up stitches. I also move the 1 lonely purl from beginning the patterned instep to this needle.
Needle 2: all the patterned instep stitches, minus the 2 purls at the ends. If it's awkward to hold, break the stitches on this needle up into 2 needles.
Needle 3: the lonely purl at the end of the patterned instep, all the right picked-up stitches, and the first half of the heel stitches.
Next row, start the gusset decreases:
Repeat these 2 rows until you have 20 stitches (18 knits, 2 purls) on needles 1 & 3 (33 stitches on needle 2) = 73 stitches total
Needle 1: K to 5 stitches before the end. K2 tog, K 1, P 2
Needle 2: work in pattern
Needle 3: P 2, K1, SSK, K to end
Needle 1: K until 2 stitches before end, P 2
Needle 2: work in pattern
Needle 3: P 2, K until end.
At this point, work the toe straight, knitting the knits, purling the purls, and working the cable pattern section in pattern. Work until you are about 2 1/2" inches before the end of the toe, ending with the last cable pattern.
Why all the purl 2 fuss? Because I wanted the cable pattern on the foot to be framed by 2 purl troughs, of 2 purls each, just like the purl trough from the top of the sock. You can see this effect best in the "wearing" shot below, where the stitches are stretched out.
Note on the picking up the gusset stitch: to be totally correct, you would need to PURL the first stitch you picked up on the right heel, and PURL the last stitch you picked up on the left heel, to keep the pattern from the top continuing exactly.
I tried this on the 2nd sock, but a) it was really awkward to purl and twist the stitch, and b) I think it actually looked worse than picking it up and knitting it with a twist, at least using the Grumperina pick-up method. So I say, just go with the knit-twist.
*** this first part is important to a balanced toe!
Move the 2 purl stitches at the end of needle 1 to needle 2.
Move the 2 purl stitches at the beginning of needle 3 to needle 2.
Needle 1: 18 stitches
Needle 2: 37 stitches
Needle 3: 18 stitches
total: 73 stitches
Work one row all knit. (I didn't do this, but would have, because the purls look funny if you go straight into the toe decreases)
Work the following 2 rounds 9 times (until 9 stitches each on needles 1 & 3=37 stitches total)
Needle 1: Knit to 3 stitches from end, K2 tog, K 1
Needle 2: K 1, SSK, knit to within 3 stitches of end, K2tog, K 1
Needle 3: K 1, SSK, knit to end.
Knit entire round
Next, work Round 1 every round 7 times, stopping before you work needle 3 the very last round (you're going to leave the yarn at the end of needle 2).
Needle 1: 2 stitches
Needle 2: 5 stitches
Needle 3: 3 stitches.
Transfer Needle 3's stitches to Needle 1 and graft the toe closed.
These have been done for a couple weeks but I wanted to get an Action Shot. K liked them so much, he wouldn't remove them from his feet after this pick. A successful socking!