[color="#330099"]Jan, what's wrong with doing your first pair of sock, two at a time?
Jan knows me, I'm a joker and I like a challenge. So for me starting out on my first pair of sock (with out a pattern in hand even) was just another challenge to be met and won.
I bought two circular needles of the same size and brand. Now I wish I had bought different brands or types so they would look different. But you are planning on using ML and only one long circular. That would seem a bit easier.
Cheri, are you the sensible type or the reckless and adventurous type?
If you are willing to take chances, make mistakes, get frustrated, learn from you mistakes, and even start over, then continue on undaunted.
Join, if you've done the DPNs then you have done a join. So where are you in the list of steps on that page you linked? :think:
I'll take it from the top, just to give you another point of view and suggestions.
First, you need two sources of yarn, that can be either two ends (one from the center and one from the outside) from the same ball or skein (no hanks here please, wind a hank down to two balls).
Put one working yarn on your left and the other on your right. How you do that depends on your choices in the first step. I am using two ends from the same skein. So I have my skein in a canvas shopping bag. I've carefully pulled loose several yards from the outside end and wound it into a center pull ball that is tucked beside the skein.
Answer to your second question: You will be working half of sock 1, switching yarn and working both halves of sock 2, then switching back to your first yarn to work the second half of sock 1.
Next, you cast on half your stitches for your first sock then drop that yarn and with the other working yarn cast on all stitches for your second sock. I think that answers your second question. (no joins or loops yet either). I might take a rubber band and wrap it around the end nearest the first sock (that has only half of its stitches cast on) just to make it easy to tell them apart.
Third step, move all CO stitches to the cord and divide & gentily bend the cord so so half stitches for sock 2 are on one side of the bend and half are on the other side. Grab the cord at the bend and pull it out between (the middle two stitches) into a loop. This is loop one*. (*Part answer of question 3, two loops used in ML)
I suggest using a contrasting yarn or thread tied in a loop as a stitch marker. I use one stitch marker/loop between the first two stitches of sock 1 and two maker loops between the first two stitches of sock 2.
You should be at step 3 on you linked page. (note photo is above the text for step 3)
Step 4) Now you need to cast on the second half of the fist sock. go back to the yarn hanging from those CO stitches of sock one and use that yarn to CO the remaining half of the stitches needed.
Now, if what you've got matches the picture after step four you are ready to pull the second point (I marked with a rubber band) of your circulars out (making your second loop*) and start your first half-row on sock one with a join.
Here is another page about ML (magic loop) and it may show you what you've missed about moving the stitches to the cable cord (I use the word cord so as not to confuse it with using a separate "cable" needle) and pull the second point out to start knitting on the front. This makes the second loop of ML.
See this page:
( http://www.az.com/~andrade/knit/mloop.html )
A join is just using the working yarn to knit (or purl) into the first stitch you CO for the sock you are working on. (Answer to first question).
Nothing special about a join, it is just a stitch into the first CO stitch. Well maybe pulling it tight to prevent a wide gap between the second half of this round and the first half.
But you've done DPNs so you know how to join, right? :??
Now continue on with your pattern, round 1... (divided into a fist half "row 1" and a second half called "row 2.")
Row 1, sock 1 (this is the first half of round 1 in your sock pattern):
Join with knit or purl stitch as given in pattern, place one maker, then continue in pattern until you are halfway through round 1.
Drop that yarn and pickup the yarn hanging off the back cord for sock 2.
Row 1, sock 2 (repeat the first half or round 1 from your pattern for sock2):
Join with knit or purl stitch as given in pattern, place two makers, then continue in pattern until you are halfway through your round 1.
Now you can see the start of each round and tell sock 1 (one marker) from sock 2 (two markers). This is very important if you are interrupted, or any time after you've had to pack your knitting away (like for travel).
Before you join with a stitch into the first CO stitch, first make sure all your stitches for the sock are lined up straight and the CO edges are toward the middle of your magic loop.
(Looking back, you said you've done DPNs so this is also something you should already know.)
Good luck! Crossed Fingers