I'm actually wearing it now ... my first Opal, first toe-up, and first magic loop sock! The twisting lines of rib are from the RPM sock on Knitty - I only added them for the leg part. My first cast-off was too tight, so I unpicked it and did it again, this time using doubled needles to get more stretch into the top of the sock.
Now I just need to make another one! Think I've got bugger all chance of matching the stripes... hmmm.
June 16 : I'm adding some comments about what I thought of all the new things I tried with this sock :
1) Opal Sock Yarn. Lovely! A bit less soft than Patonyle, but it should wear well. Very comfy to wear. It's just as well, I might have bought a bit more via George in Germany!
2) Toe-up socks. These were a generic 'toe-up' recipe from Wendy Knits, with a short row toe and heel. I don't know, they were really pretty easy to knit, but just didn't have the same 'oooh clever' factor for me. I put them aside for more than a month. I like the padded heel flaps of a top down sock. I like doing all the tricky things at the heel. I like the stages you go through. And all those things aren't in this particular toe-up sock pattern, anyway (I'm aware that there are toe-up socks with heel flaps, which I'd be interested in trying). So while these socks certainly fit well, and are comfortable, and it is fun being able to try them on as you knit, I think on balance I'm a top down girl. I must admit I'm not feeling like knitting the second one, but I will cast it on today and make a start. Honest!
3) Magic Loop technique. I love it! I'm happy with DPNs too, but my sock DPNs are long Ivoré needles, and they're really a bit too long (and I'm not quite brave enough to cut them down...yet). I like the way you don't have to shift between needles so often, and stitches aren't so prone to falling off the needles. My 2.25mm circular needle has needles that are a bit too long, and the cable isn't really soft enough to lie flat when it's looped around, so there could be a better 2.25mm circ out there, but I think it's worth looking.
And a progress report on Mariah : the back is done to the armhole level, and is waiting on a shoelace...
I'm knitting both front pieces at once (one long circular needle, 2 balls of wool), so they'll be the same length exactly. I'm about 4 rows in. I really want to be able to wear Mariah this winter, so I'm going to put a bit more effort in...
And thanks for all the kind offers of Sydney knit-ins and company - you guys are just so lovely!