Regarding the fit. I do try on my sock before determining when to start the toe. In fact I try on my sock all throughout the knitting process (starting when I have maybe 2 inches of cuff) because I just love imagining how it's going to look/feel when I finish it. I have reflected on your questions and I think I have narrowed down my problem to three possibilities:
- I am the queen of approximation, which is why My Old Man calls me Miss Approximate. So even though I try on the sock to see when I get to the point of needing to start the toe, I think my measurements may not be, how shall I say it, oh, accurate. I really do have a problem measuring things right, especially knit things that can be stretched. I can measure the same thing three times and come out with a slightly different measurement each time. Perhaps I should start mentally adjusting for that and assume I need to start the toe before I think I do.
- I think I may have heel flap issues. I have small feet and narrow heels. I wonder if I should be altering the heel flap (or sticking with short row heels instead) to accomodate this. I think that perhaps measuring from heel to end of sock while the sock is in progress maybe doesn't give a true representation for me for how the thing will ultimately fit once it's done, because the heel is going to fit looser than I think when I'm wearing it as opposed to actively measuring it. Not sure, just a thought.
- Row gauge? I hadn't thought about this till Sean brought it up. I do check my gauge, but not my row gauge. So maybe if my row gauge is off then even if I am starting the toe at the right place it is going to end up too long? I should measure the toes of these socks and see if they ended up the length indicated by the pattern.
Now about the utility of socks. Perhaps I overspoke. It's true that I have a tendency towards exaggeration. Perhaps it's also true that my shoe styles don't tend to accomodate handknit socks very well. I do wear them with my Mary Jane-style Earth Shoes some. And very, very occasionally with my Birkenstock sandals (but I've been trying to tone down my 90s-style hippie-esque style ever since entering the professional workforce). I also wear my handknit socks to bed. But most of the time, I wear basic boring black socks or (with loafers) knee high stockings or (with boots) tights. Maybe I need to break out of my mold a bit, I don't know. Most of my handknit socks are somewhat delicate things, so I think I feel they are inherently more luxury than wardrobe workhorse. I really should peruse the Socktoberfest flickr group to get ideas of how the right shoes could really make the handknit sock work.
Meanwhile, lest you think I was overly serious about all my exaggerated moaning about taking a break from sock-knitting, I really must show you what I cast on next: