Oh, we've got trouble right here in River City.
I had four toes finished on the right sock and was picking up the stitches for the big toes when I realized I only had 16 stitches.
I should have had 20.
I went back to the instructions.
I looked through projects in Ravelry, trying to figure out how so many people could knit these toe socks without mentioning that the instructions were wrong.
I sent the pattern link to a friend and asked him to see if he could find out where the problem was.
In about 30 seconds, he found it. The pattern is not wrong.
The pattern reads, "Replace held sts on needle and reattach yarn. Pick up and K 4 sts along the CO edge of little toe. 54 sts. PM for beg of round and work in st st for 4 rounds." I had skipped that paragraph entirely, which meant I was off by four stitches and all but the smallest toe needed to be frogged.
By chance, I was near the teenager's house after work last night, so I stopped and made him try on the sock to see if the length of the toes were correct. He was very excited about them, and his excitement made me feel much better about fixing the problem and making sure his toe socks were done properly and fit well.*
On the way home, I had an epiphany. Since each toe is done with its own piece of yarn, couldn't I just unpick the first row and leave the toe intact? Then I could kitchner it back onto the foot once I'd done the additional rows! It wouldn't work for the fourth toe (the one that needed me to pick up 4 stitches), but it would work for the other two. I was a genius!
Except, of course, it didn't work. In theory, it should work, but in practice it left me with dropped stitches and cursing. I finally just ripped them out and started again.
Before I went to bed, I had redone three toes and saw that I have the correct number of stitches for the fifth toe. Onward and upward.
It has not escaped my notice that the teenager needs two socks.
*I will admit to harboring a tiny hope that he had an abnormally slender big toe--a toe that needed four less stitches than normal big toes. You will not be surprised to hear that this did not happen.