The cabling without a needle has proved to be pretty smooth, far less cumbersome and speedier than wrangling with a cable needle. I think my transition has been helped because I'm also working on Eunny Jang's Bayerische socks which have tiny cables all over them and so I've just learnt the cable-needle-free method from her instructions (I don't think her instructions are quite the same method as the Grumperina instructions which Alice linked to, but the effect is the same). The Ester cables, on much chunkier yarn, seem like a doddle in comparison!
As always, photographing red is a big challenge. The true colour is probably somewhere in between these two photos. Top one - a smidge too dark, bottom one - a bit over-exposed.