I am pleased to say that I appear to be smarter than a sock knitting chart - I have finished one sock of the Vorticity pattern from Alice Yu's Socktopus - but not without significant help from the internet. That chart VEXED me, until I found the Ravelry group and the errata page done by Ms. Yu herself. I noticed that I pop up pretty high in the results when you do a Google search about the Vorticity pattern and problems, so for those of you who are just here to gawk at what I'm making, you can skip ahead to the pretty photos at the bottom. For those of you in a vexed state about your own version of the Vorticity sock, read on.
First off, read the chart left to right, starting at the bottom right corner and working left, then up. In the book, the leg chart (p. 88 in the U.S. version) is properly numbered - there are 21 rows, and the numbers are right next to the appropriate row (they are not for the instep chart, but more on that in a minute.) The stitches for the rows repeat until you get to the last 10 or so stitches. At row 11, you knit three, then knit 2 together, and that is the end of that row. Place a stitch marker, mark your paper (or whatever you do to keep track of where you are in the pattern), and immediately start row 12. (This is where I went wrong the first two times I started.) Row 12 is knit normally, and the last stitches of that row are the ones that were the four stitches that made up all of row 11. Continue on with the chart. When you get to row 19, you don't knit the last 4 stitches. Those 4 stitches become the start of row 20. The shifting stitches help contribute to that lovely rippled pattern.
The heel, heel turn and gusset were all pretty straightforward. As I was knitting, I was thinking, "Hmm, I wonder if this pattern will feel strange on the bottom of the foot of the sock?" Turns out, you don't do the pattern on the bottom of the sock. After you knit the heel, and as you start the gusset, you use a stitch marker to establish the instep portion of the sock, and that's the only part that gets the pattern - the rest of the stitches are straight knitting, leaving a smooth sole on the sock.
When using the instep chart, you'll notice that there are 21 rows, which is not accurate - there are only 20. Alice Yu explained on Ravelry that the printer's typesetting caused the numbering to be off from the actual rows. I re-numbered the rows, starting at row 3 (where they start to go off-center of the row) so that my pattern chart has the correct number of 20 rows. (I put my knitting down and pick it up often and tend to knit in the morning on the train, before my second cup of coffee. I need every crutch and clear set of directions I can get my hands on.) Knit the instep pattern for only the stitches found on the instep needle, and then straight knit the remainder of the row. The instep chart doesn't have the same stitch-shift that the leg chart does, so I found it a little easier, and it was smooth sailing right through the toe decreases and binding off (I used the Kitchner stitch to close the toe.)
I cannot wait to wear these socks. Too bad it's summer, and I'll have to wait a few more weeks.