I have knitted for four years now. I have knitted hats and scarves galore, a dozen or more pairs of fingerless mitts (knit in the round, with cables), a couple of baby sweaters, and some robots (like teddy bears but robots, get it?). I have cast on and knitted a couple of inches on a pullover sweater for me. But I have been completely intimidated by socks.
There's this complicated-looking thing you have to do to make fitted socks. Tube socks, sure, you just knit around and around until you like the length and you're done; but the sock on your foot probably has a right angle in the ankle/heel area with one arm going along your foot and the other arm reaching up your leg. It's called turning the heel: you knit a rectangle down the back of the foot and then turn your work to knit from there circularly towards the toes. I've read many sock patterns and I just couldn't figure out how it worked; even the most basic sock, which is just an inch or two of ribbing above the foot still needs that turned heel.
I finally found a pattern that I could make sense of, one with pictures and reassuring admonishments to just follow the directions and it would work. And I was pretty sure, after reading through the pattern a few times, that I could do it--I could follow the directions, anyway, and supposedly I would produce a sock.
So I measured my ankle and cast on some stitches to check my gauge, and plugged those numbers into the formula. I cast on and did a couple inches of ribbing and then...
I knit the heel flap. It hung down from the nice anklet-shaped ribbing, a rectangular flap of stitches waiting for me to do the next thing. So I did: I turned the heel, following the directions to knit short rows, picking up a stitch off the other needles at the end of each one to join the work. Joy! It worked! I had a little 90 degree cup at the end of the flap, just as if it were hugging around my heel to the sole of my foot.
So this shelf-shaped thing was hanging from the ribbing, and I had to turn the flat piece into a round one. This was where I lost my way. The instructions said to do something and I just couldn't make sense out of it. After counting all the stitches on the 3 needles and reading them through again, I had the "a ha!" moment and continued following the pattern. And here it is, so far:
The heel is at the top left; top right is the ribbing that would go around your ankle. The needles at the bottom are in the open section where I am knitting towards the toe.