Can you see the mistake I was making? Here it is in close up:
Do you see the difference in the heel of these two socks? Ah-ha! I messed up the heel - not the turn heel though (which is actually the trickier part to manage when you're first starting out on socks... go figure how I could mess up the easier part).
I misunderstood what I was supposed to do in this part of the sock pattern (but didn't realize it... and have knitted... um... hanging my head here... about 3 pairs of socks with wonky heels before catching on). Whoops! That would explain why my socks weren't quite so comfortable in the heel area, not to mention why they look so shrunken and tight.
Do you want to know the saddest part of this tale? I only figured out what was going on when I tried using a different sock pattern. You do know what that means? If I'd continued to use the same pattern, I would likely have continued to knit up socks with wonky, shrivelled heels. Nice, eh? I had to laugh at myself and I have been enjoying my "new" way of knitting the heels on my socks. My feet will be thankful for it when wool sock wearing season returns.
I probably shouldn't tell you that my second knitting goal in life is to make a sweater. It might be wisest to let my knitting skills grow before I decide to tackle that!