I finished my first sock in over 30 years last night. I can't remember how long ago I bought the yarn. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know I had enough yarn to knit a pair of knee socks. It was a couple years before The Periwinkle Sheep closed in Albany. It took me a couple months to decide to spend my birthday money on sock yarn and patterns. In addition to buying four skeins of yarn (in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in Hawaii and Lake Tahoe, I think) I bought one book and a pattern. I ended up buying two patterns but I was disenchanted with them. The design was from the cuff down and made for someone with very skinny legs, unlike mine. Either that or the designer thought socks need to be very tight to stay up. So the struggle to create socks to fit me correctly was on.
(You'll have to excuse the poor quality of the photo. It's from the web cam since the digital cameras are broken and I haven't been able to buy another.)
The first part was the toe. Work was very stressful and I find that affects how well I understand some knitting patterns. The only one that made sense was the figure 8 toe up. It looks like I used the seam-free rounded toe by Lynne Ashton. My first attempt was on New Year's Day and it amused my cats greatly. It's very tricky to start and I remember dropping the dpns a lot. I didn't get anywhere with this until I knitted a heart ornament from a pattern I found on Ravelry later on. The beginning was the same, only the stitches were kept on the two needles and you knit around them for two rows. I decided I could start my toe that way, and it worked! I've seen sock patterns recently that incorporate this.
I had the foot knit for a few years. I'm not sure how many times I've said at the knitting group that I might turn the heel on my sock. A couple years ago I tried to turn the heel using the wrapped short row heel. The heel just turned around the same set of stitches. I'm not sure what I did wrong. Unfortunately the women in the knitting group don't knit that heel. I let it sit for a while. Recently I decided to attempt it again and I used the wrapless short row heel from Lifestyle Toe Up Socks. There are a few steps in the video that the creator missed. She should have said to knit the made stitch and that it then becomes an active stitch to be used the next time. I had to shut off the video and think it through myself. I think it was a good thing I knit a few simple lace shawls in the meantime. I managed to make it work out, but I like the way the wrapped short rows look, so I might try that again.
After struggling with the heel for so long, the leg was a piece of cake. I used the shaping from the Basic Knee High Toe Up Sock from Simple Stitch Knit on Wordpress.com. However, I moved the gussets to either side of the sock. I don't know about other people's calves, but mine are definitely rounded on the side. Since the shin is relatively flat, it seemed to me it would work better. The only hitch was that I forgot to use a smaller size needle to knit the K 2, P 2 ribbing at the top. (I read somewhere that this ribbing is stretchier than K 1, P 1.) Then I used the stretchy bind-off for the top.
Of course I've tried the sock on. The foot might be better a little bit shorter, but on the whole it seems to fit great. I haven't washed the sock yet, so I'm reserving judgment.
A funny story (at least to me): Way back I took the foot of the sock to knit at the laundry mat and the attendant told me he had never seen anyone knit a sock before. This past week I took the almost-finished sock to show him. This time he said he'd never seen anything like that. Considering it was a turquoise, green, purple and white striped and zigzagged knee sock, I'd be surprised if he had.