I still haven't conquered the gauge problem and still worry about twisting my stitches, but I can knit toe up socks that fit. I even did one of the patterns from Socks Socks Socks the way it's written and it fits!
So I spent my Christmas money on 32 skeins of sock yarn from Knitpicks.
I don't feel the slightest twinge of fear or guilt, even though there's now enough sock yarn in my stash to make myself thirty pairs of socks. Not counting the single skeins of yarn I bought to make socks for the kids. Or the odds and ends from garage sales. I don't know when I'll have time to make all of those socks, and it doesn't matter. I've got plenty of yarn, two great new sock books, a huge stack of sock patterns I've printed off the internet. And a whole bunch of yarn that isn't sock yarn. It may not even matter if this stupid yarn diet/famine goes on for another year.
Oh, and Leif's hat fits!