Until the rejoin, at which point...the heel flaps weren't as stretchy (besides being 2 stitches narrower and the top of foot also being 2 stitches narrower.) I had to change gussets to help with that...and then try to adjust (with frequent try-ons.) First they'd be really tight, then (when I let off on the decreases) suddenly they'd be overly loose. And the attempt to graft/Kitchener the toes shut...worst so far. Each pair has been harder--this pair was impossible. I was trying to do it flat, off the needles, using cooking twine to hold the stitches:
The idea was to stuff the end of the sock to make a rounded-nearly-flat work surface, and I'd be able to see what I was doing. There's a separate piece of twine through each needle's worth of stitches--6 front, 6 back. (Tied up here to they couldn't come loose I *still* could not see what I was doing. The stitches "shrank" without the needles in them. I had directions. I had watched the video again. I had directions in front of me; I understood the directions...but I could not see the stitches, or the results of what I was doing, except as a confusing mound. The first rounds tried to crawl back down into the fabric...I undid them and started over. Yes, I'd done things in the right order but they didn't look right. I did them again. And again. By the second or third stitch, there was a mound of yarn...and time (more than an hour...considerably...) was passing. Frustration built. Laundry needed to be put out. The other sock had barely started its toe decreases.
I gave up and ran yarn through every stitch and pulled the toe together. OK, it's a sock, it's not the best sock, but it's a sock.
The second sock, I left on needles, except changing to a smaller size needle right before trying to graft the toe, thinking that might help. No. This time I gave up faster (family had come back from the city--the solitude in which to say things to the yarn, the needles, etc., and the lack of interruption was over) and purse-stringed that one, too. It's annoying--I was able to do it with Red One and Blue One, both of whom have imperfect but definite grafted toes. But here they are, Green One socks on feet, off the needles. They're comfortable. I can walk in them, in shoes or out.
The thicker heels do help with my wider-heeled walking shoes, but also (and understandably) push my foot forward in the shoe a little. Although these fit better in some areas than previous pairs, they're still a bit big where I had to change the rate of decrease at the gussets. Learned a lot, but it's still not the perfect pattern.
On the very bright side, I now have three pairs of socks.