Orginially, I had planned on starting the Bayerische Sock in Trekking Pro Natura wool/bamboo yarn as soon as I finished the Uptown Boot Socks, but the Watermelon yarn was just way too fun to pass up. Besides, I needed some relativelly mindless knitting for the Fourth of July weekend. Wine and Bayerische just didn't seem like they would mix well. Flipping through Favorite Socks, the Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks by Ann Budd seemed to be the perfect pattern for the Watermelon yarn. The rib would match the varigated colors and the diagonal cross would add enough interest to keep the socks from being boring. I grabbed the Watermelon yarn and some newly purchased blondewood Sox Stix in size 0 prepared to use my new favorite sock cast on, the Channel Island cast on.
First, though, I decided to actually read the pattern, (I know, novel thought) and the pattern called for a Norwegian cast on. Intrigued, I flipped to the notes section and gave it a go. The Norwegian is very similar to the Long Tail cast on, but with a couple of extra little maneuvers. It results in a chain across the cast on edge, which looks quite pretty, especially in the white of the watermelon rind.
Getting the color repeat just right took two tries and both ends of the yarn. To have the "watermelon" sitting correctly, I'm knitting from the outside of the ball instead of the preferred inside (are you and inside or outside the ball knitter?).
After finally getting the color repeat down, I knitted the cuff and then began the diagonal crosses, which are really just a one way slanting cable. Here again, the pattern recommends doing something different from my normal way of knitting cables, and here again, following the pattern gave way to better results. I think Ann Budd is a genius.
I generally knit cables without a cable needle by knitting into the second stitch on the left hand needle, then drop the first and second stitch of the left hand needle, then place the first stitch back on the needle to cross the stitches (either moving this first stitch in front or behind the second stitch depending on the cable cross. I can explain in another post with pictures if anyone is interested). This pattern though called for knitting into the back loop of the second stitch on the left hand needle, leaving the stitches on the left hand needle, knitting through the back loops of the first and second stitches on the left hand needle, then dropping both stitches of the left hand needle. I tried it once and was in fear of my new Sox Stix breaking, despite the amazing amount of flex the needles had. I thought it was a hassle and didn't see a need for it...until I did a full repeat of the diagonal cross pattern. I noticed that on the one cross where I followed the pattern instructions one time, the diagonal looked better and more like a diagonal. Hmm, I wondered what would happen if I used the new technique for a full repeat. This required changing needles to my much pointier heavier Knit Picks nickle needles, but the result is worth it.
The diagonal cross towards the top of the sock is using my classic cabling technique, while the diagonal closest to the bottom of the picture is using the new technique.
I have true diagonals without the sloppy "step" effect of the needless cable technique. I'm using this new method from now on for diagonal lines.