Nutcracker – WYS Christmas 2023 yarn

Please do not adjust your screen – it really is Christmas in August as the WYS Christmas 2023 yarn has been released today!  Woohoo!  The West Yorkshire Spinners Christmas yarns have become something of a tradition and this will be their 8th special edition yarn.

Phew, it might feel as if it’s a bit early but there’s a scarily small number of Mondays until Christmas (17!) and to make sure that everyone in the UK and overseas has the chance to knit socks in this year’s colourway, it has to be available now to give everyone plenty of time to get their projects underway.

This year’s brand new yarn joins Holly Berry, Candy Cane, Fairy Lights, Robin, Silent Night, Vintage Tinsel and Gingerbread, all produced in solid and/or sparkly versions to brighten up your Christmas toes (or whatever else you choose to knit with the yarn).  Every year, I hold my breath to see what colourway is coming next, and every year WYS pull another Christmas cracker out of the bag!

This year is no exception and I know you’ll be bursting to see it …

A pyramid of balls of multicoloured balls of yarn on a dark wooden box. A Nutcracker doll stands next to the yarn


Isn’t that fab?  WYS have done it again!  Oh, those sparkly stripes are so Christmassy; I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on the yarn and I’m sure you’re going to love it too.

A ball of yarn which will knit up into stripes of red, blue, green and gold

The yarn knits up into stripes in the same style as the Country Birds yarns so if you’re familiar with those, you’ll recognise the way the yarn works here – blocks of solid colour broken up by stripes of black and white “Fair Isle” and of course, it’s all sparkly!  What’s not to love?

As usual, this yarn would be perfect for plain knitted socks (and if you’re short of a pattern, please let me direct you to my Basic 4ply Socks pattern!), and also mitts, hats, shawls, scarves … this yarn is so versatile that you don’t have to use it just for socks – but if you do, it makes the BEST socks! 🙂  It comes in 100g balls and is available worldwide from WYS stockists.  Just in case you’re not sure where your local stockist is, there’s a nifty search page on the WYS website which you can find here.

I was delighted to be asked to design the free sock pattern that goes with the yarn again this year, and with the theme of “Nutcracker”, my head was soon buzzing with ideas about long boots laced up to the top and military uniforms … and I managed to incorporate all of my ideas into the socks!

Here is this year’s pattern.  It’s called Alexander …

A pair of feet resting on a wooden coffee table, wearing hand knitted socks in stripes of blue, green, red and gold

You might be wondering why WYS chose that name and I was too, but then when I read into the story behind the Nutcracker ballet, I discovered that the ballet was an adaptation of a story called “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King” by Alexandre Dumas (who also wrote “The Three Musketeers”) so it all fell into place!

This photo shows off the stripes beautifully, I think, and you can see how well they would work for a plain sock.  If you’ve been waiting to start your first pair (or even your 101st) and this yarn calls to you, it’s time to cast on!

However, the Alexander pattern is not for a plain sock – oh, it’s got cables (proper fancy cables – you wait till you see them!), twisted stitches and textured chevrons so if you’re looking for something a bit different, this pattern is for you!  As always, it’s based on my Basic 4ply Socks pattern so if you’re new to socks or need a refresher, you can use the Sockalong tutorials to help you.  (If you’re an experienced toe up knitter, you may well find that you can incorporate the patterns into your socks so it’s definitely worth a go if you like them, but as I’m strictly a cuff down girl, I won’t be able to help you!)

Here’s a front view of the socks.  Those fancy cables look just like the laces on the Nutcracker’s boots in the top photo – I’m really proud of those!  There are also chevrons at the bottom (lots of military uniforms have chevron stripes so I wanted to incorporate those here too) …

The front view of a pair of feet wearing hand knitted socks in stripes of blue, green, red and gold

and on the back, there are twisted stitches of “military” braid, inspired by the ceremonial uniforms of the processions of the Queen’s funeral and the King’s coronation earlier this year.

The back view of a pair of feet wearing hand knitted socks in stripes of blue, green, red and gold

The heel flap is in Ribbed Heel Stitch which makes it a little bit stretchier for those with wider feet, or even just for those who feel that a heel flap is usually a bit tighter than they’d like to wear.  The twisted stitch rib sections give some stretch too, so there’s no need to adjust the size you’d usually knit because there’s a cable on the front – they should still fit properly if you knit your usual size.

Here’s a close up of the cable section on the front of the sock …

A close up of the cable pattern on a handknitted sock

I’m very proud of those circles that make the cable look like the Nutcracker ornament’s boots, I can tell you!  I’m also very happy to tell you that they are not as difficult as you might think either – this pattern calls for confidence when you’re knitting cables but it is not so difficult that you can’t work out what to do.  Most of the cables are versions of C4F and C4B (cable 4 front and cable 4 back) which I used on my Easy Colourwork Socks and you can find help there on creating the cables and reading a chart if you need it, and the circles themselves are actually created using an increase and a decrease stitch at the top and bottom – it’s very clever and you will definitely feel like a sock knitting superstar when you knit them! 🙂

There’s a video to help you create the increase and decrease stitches here.

You can get a paper copy of the pattern free with your yarn purchase, and you can also download the pattern from some yarn shop websites and here:

A pair of feet resting on a wooden coffee table, wearing hand knitted socks in stripes of blue, green, red and gold



And there you have it – socks for Nutcracker yarn!  There’s also a crochet pair designed by Anna Nikipirowicz and that’s free to download too.

What do you think?!  I do hope you enjoy the pattern and the Nutcracker yarn – it’s not just for socks so you might have other ideas for it as well!  This yarn would work really well as a hat, scarf or cowl, and all of those knit up quickly for gifts – don’t forget that there are some shawl and cowl patterns on the blog which you might think would be just the thing for this yarn – and even if you’re not celebrating Christmas, I think these colours would make a perfect addition to anyone’s wardrobe.

Here’s wishing you happy knitting!



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17 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    I would love it if Wool Warehouse send me a paper pattern but I’m definitely knitting even if it’s off my phone screen. What a fab pattern- well done.

  2. Susan Rayner says:

    Just gorgeous wool – and the design too – another lovely combination of WYS wool and your designs.

  3. Hazel Goulstone says:

    Are there any contrast shades recommended please?

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m not sure, I’m afraid, but CityKnits are usually pretty hot on the contrasts so it might be worth looking at their website to see if they’ve got any bundles then you can see the colours they’ve picked 🙂 xx

  4. Audrey says:

    love the pattern and yarn .this is a must for family Xmas stockings

  5. Felicity Archibald says:

    Another fabulous yarn and pattern, can’t wait to get started! I always make Christmas socks for my daughter, my sister in law and of course myself.

  6. Jacqui says:

    Loving the bright colour combination and if there’s gold thread in there too count me in. I don’t mind a few cables either so will definitely be adding to my growing sock collection. Thanks for putting the hard work into designing them!

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s a silver sparkle, not a gold one, but there is a gold stripe – the yarn is lovely and I know they’ll have it in at Black Sheep Wools so you’ll be able to go and see what you think 🙂 Thank you, I’m glad you like the pattern! xx

  7. Jean Birch-Leonard says:

    Just wondering if the sparkle in the yarn stops the yarn from being biodegradable?

    • winwickmum says:

      I don’t know, I’m afraid, that’s something you’d have to ask West Yorkshire Spinners. Their customer service is really helpful so you could always drop them an email 🙂 xx

  8. Ruthie says:

    love this design, and the very festive yarn!

  9. Karen says:

    What a lovely design. I am especially intrigued by the “curly cables”. I may incorporate those into a plain sock I just started, while waiting for my Nutcracker yarn to arrive!

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