I have recently become aficianada of Ravelry, a great online community for knitters, spinners, and crocheters. On Ravelry, you can join various groups: I joined the Spinner Central group, Adult Surpise Jacket group, and a huge group, Sock Knitters Anonymous. Sock Knitters Anonymous has over 8000 members!
One of its main activities and attractions is Sockdown: Ravelry! Sockdown is a series of monthly personal sock-knitting challenges, not really a contest, although there are prizes. (I'm not sure how they decide who gets the prizes, but no matter.) Every month you have a choice of usually two or three challenges, and you can do one or all. One challenge is always a technique or style of sock; for example, in October it was making a man's sock, and in November it was using mosaic knitting in a sock. Or, a certain designer is featured, and you can make any design by that designer. On odd-numbered months, like November, there is a Mystery Sock! A well-known designer designs a sock for that month, and the first "clue" is posted on the first of the month. The mystery sock for November is called Miss Marple, after the Agatha Christie character, and the technique is mosaic knitting. All we know now about the Mystery Sock is how to knit the cuff; future details will be forthcoming.
You have two months to knit your sock. That's lucky for me, because I didn't cast on my man sock for October until October 30! I chose an easy, fast, and reliable pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Woodsman's Sock, from Wool Gathering 10. I made this about twenty years ago for my dad, and he loved it, but unfortunately it was made out of 100% real wool, and it shrank in the washing and drying. So this time I'm making it out of a washable wool blend with some washable merino and nylon: Stroll Sport, sold by KnitPicks.
The original EZ pattern called for a heavy Bartlettyarns yarn, but I am using two strands of Stroll Sport to equal the weight of the original yarn. I couldn't find a bulky washable sock yarn. Maybe somebody should make one. Heavy socks are great under boots in the winter time.
To make this sock you cast on 44 sts on size 6 needles. I will knit the ribbing for about seven inches, and then continue the ribbing on the top of the foot. This makes a sock that hugs the foot snugly. The pattern can be found in EZ's books Knitting Around and The Opinionated Knitter.