The two socks are mirrored, and the stitch pattern works best when you use a solid colour paired with a more colourful variegated or self-striping yarn. Both Cutcombe and Alcombe use one ball of Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball combined with a ball of Lang Yarns Jawoll, but you could of course use any combination of suitable sock yarn that you fancy.
I first used this stitch pattern in a spiralling sock pattern that I designed while working on The Knitter. Since that toe-up pattern is no longer available online, I'm delighted to have given it a whole new lease of life with these two top-down designs. It was another of those ideas which just arrived in my head with very little warning. I had enjoyed discovering helical stripes, thanks to a post on Grumperina's blog, and before I knew it the first pair just emerged from my needles. Sometimes it's hard to explain where design inspiration comes from, isn't it?
I bought 100g of each yarn which gave me enough to work 2 pairs of Cutcombe socks - reversing the colours for the second pair. The helical stripe technique is explained in detail, but is actually addictively simple to work. It's one of those things that when you read it through looks like it might be tricky, but as soon as you try it you wonder why you hadn't thought of it before!
The second design is called Alcombe and is also a top-down sock, this time with a standard heel-flap construction and plain stocking stitch foot. The legs feature the same helical stripe pattern with slip-stitch spirals.
I know that many sock knitters love socks as they can almost work on auto-pilot once they have established the pattern on the leg, so I thought that it would be handy to have a pattern using a heel-flap, since that is the most popular sock construction out there. The only "downside" to using this is that you lose the consistency in the colour gradation from leg to foot, and can get quite a step in colour at that point. I don't particularly mind this feature in these socks, but if it bothers you, then the Cutcombe Socks might be more your cup of tea!
Many thanks again to Jesse Wild for brilliant photography - all the pictures in the blog post are © Jesse Wild. Thanks also to Kim again for awesome sample knitting and helping me to get to the bottom of the perfect yarn/shade combinations. Both patterns were expertly tech edited by Rachel Atkinson - thank you!
As a celebration of this surge in productivity, I'm running a buy one, get one free promotion on all of my self-published patterns and eBooks. Simply add two patterns to your Ravelry cart, and it will automatically give you the cheaper pattern for free! The discount is applied before you go and pay at PayPal, so don't proceed to PayPal unless you can see the discount has worked! You can see all of the eligible patterns and eBooks in the Jen Arnall-Culliford Designs Ravelry Shop (the Cloudy Apples eBook is not eligible as it was published jointly). This promotion will run until the end of the day on Monday 17th March 2014 (GMT - London). Go and enjoy!