My first colorwork socks are off the needles, blocked, and officially done! I don't think it's possible for me to be happier with how these turned out.
After my inital false start, I ended up following some of your recommendations (thanks to everyone who responded!!). Before I posted, I knew I'd probably have to (a) go up a needle size even though I was getting gauge, (b) block these to really see how they'd fit, and (c) frog everything I had already knit. Kim pointed out that since Fair Isle isn't stretchy (I knew that) I needed to make sure to knit the socks to the size they would need to be on my foot (but why didn't that occur to me?!).
I modified this pattern in a few ways. I reknit the sock from the toe up so I could try them on as I went. I also switched to a size 2 needle because I knew going up to a 72 stitch sock would be too big in the end. I tried them on every 10-15 rows in case I ran into a fit issue. When I got to the heel I did my standard short row heel on a size 1.5 needle instead of on a 1 or 0 like I normally would have. I had forgotten to start increases for the gusset at the appropriate place so a short row heel was kind of my only option at that point. I went with the 1.5 because I wanted to make sure it would be stretchy enough to fit over my heel. When I got to the cuff I wanted to replicate the original top-down socks so I created a folded cuff and sewed it down.
Gray is the top of the cuff from the right side and white is the top of the cuff on the wrong side.
I think they look stellar for my first forray into Fair Isle and sock knitting. They are not without their errors. But I'd like to point out how zen I was about errors in this pattern. I kind of figured as long as they fit, right? Besides, who, besides people who read this blog, are going to notice any errors? No regular person should be checking out your socks that closely. I was even ok when I saw this little white speck of a stitch that I accidently put in the worng place:
I am so excited about these socks and would like to point out that I completed my 2012 goal of adding 4 additional pairs of hand knit socks to my sock drawer. I'm sure I'll cast on a couple more pairs before the year is over since they make great in class/lecture knitting.
Pattern: La Mancha's Giants by Rose Hiver (FREE!!)
Yarn: Shibui Sock in Graphite and Ivory (1 skein each)
Needles: US2 for colorwork, 1.5 for toe, heel, and cuff
Began: July 14
Completed: July 25