I recently discovered the idea of wrapping the bottom hoop - makes a huge difference. I got some small white bias tape, ironed it flat and then wrapped the inner hoop. Sew the end to the wrapping when you get all the way around, so you never have to wrap it again. I never have to re-tighten my hoops now.
I've never done it on something that was going to be used. I think that it would wash out pretty quickly - the color never seems to set completely no matter how many times I iron. If you made sure you'd washed it a few times by hand to get rid of most of the excess, you shouldn't need to worry about wax on the dishes or in the washing machine, but I don't think the color would last very long.
Here's what I do - works any time of the day or night. I put a large book - up on it's end - or box on my craft table, and drape it with a big piece of white fabric (thick or folded so nothing shows through).
I lay the piece on the fabric, or prop it up against the book if it can stand. Then I pull my desk lamp over in front of the piece and point it right on the embroidery.
set my camera to the incandescent setting (the little lightbulb), with the macro on (the little flower), and no flash. I take my pictures from just below the lamp, making sure not to get the lamp in the shot :-)
Take the pictures from a little further back than you'd want the final picture, at the highest resolution on your camera - it focuses a little better - and then crop the photo in closer.
I also use photoshop or a similar program to lighten it up if needed
I've done a bit of this. Use regular crayons, not fabric ones.
Iron as hot and long as your fabric can take (I'd use 100% cotton). No matter how much you iron, it never seems to set the color 100%, so I iron, let it cool, and then scrub it with a washcloth under warm water. I dry it with the iron, and then re-color any areas that washed out, or add another layer of color in areas I want more depth. I repeat that process anywhere from 3-10 times depending on the effect I'm going for.
You could stitch first, but that causes a few problems - You can't get right up tight to the stitching without getting some wax on the threads. Once you iron, that wax melts a little and makes your stitching look funny. If you scrub the piece heavily between ironing, you'll rough the threads up too much, and they'll look very fuzzy.
When you iron, place a piece of copier paper on your ironing board, and then the colored fabric face down on it, and iron from the backside, or you'll get melted wax everywhere!
If you want to do circulars, you'd have to use 2 or do magic loop. There's no way that there would be enough needle to hold on to with something short enough to work around a sock.
Have you tried the DPNs? I hate working with them too on larger sizes, but it's okay for socks. Nearly every pattern is written to put these stitches on needle 1, those on 2, etc. It might be easier for your first pair or two to follow as written.
Without ribbing and/or a resting place to hold fabric in place, it will continue to sag. It's the effect of gravity. The only resting place on your ankle is the ankle bone, so everything falls down to that point.
It's why I never like to knit socks that don't have ribbing on the whole leg or cables or something.
I think your best bet is to get some elastic thread and weave it in at a few places - around the bottom of the ankle and at the top of the sock. That should help considerably.
You could also try modifying the pattern a little bit. It looks like there are 6 pattern repeats. What if you did the 2 on the back and 2 on the front and then instead of 1 pattern repeat at each side, you inserted ribbing there. You could even do some ankle shaping within that ribbing.
Or, you could knit just the front panels of the sock - like they are on the foot, and make the back of the leg all ribbing.
I for one love the new layout. I hated the old one. The pictures weren't clear and it bugged me to have ads interspersed with the patterns. Makes it pretty hard to pick up a magazine in the grocery store isle and have to look at every single page before deciding if you want to buy it. The new layout - you only need to look at a half dozen pages to determine if it's a worthwhile issue.
And re: the person who asked if you could do clementine with just 2 skeins of Alpaca Silk.
I just finished it a few days ago and it definitely takes 3 skeins. I might have even wanted 4. It wouldn't even get around your shoulders with 2 skeins, unless you made it really narrow (it's only 10 inches as is). If you cut out a whole lace repeat, you might make length, but it would be only 5 or 6 inches wide - not really enough to cover your shoulders.
I'm not a fan of huge needles like that either, especially plastic. They're very slippery. With only 5 stitches on, though, it'll be really easy to see if you drop one.
My concern with a pattern like that is all the ends to weave in - with such huge stitches, I'm not sure how you could keep them secure, and keep the ends from being really obvious.
But, if your repeats are all even numbers, you can just carry the yarn up the side to the next time you change colors, which would avoid all the ends. Though, on size 15s, those carries might be pretty big, and get caught on things in the finished scarf.
Have you thought about doing it on smaller needles, just cast on more stitches, and maybe work 4 repeats instead of 2? It won't look exactly the same, but it might be easier if you're not used to such large needles.