The hell you say! I had, and still have, absolutely no idea how to mattress stitch when the stitches are still on the needle. This is a great mystery up there with the ship in the bottle thing.
Some input and assistance from my knitterly friends wherein they read the translated English and perused the original German instructions, helped me decide that kitchener was the way to go. But to kitchener properly, I need all live stitches so rip, rip, ripping I went. I had to rip out the cast on row so I could pick up the live stitches. There actually was little ripping action, it was more like pull, pull, pull. I didn't get any of those satisfying tugs that unravel a whole row. It was time consuming, but kind of fun, in that sick, I like it when you spank me, kind of way. Painful, but a good pain.
So, I finally got all 3000 stitches un-casted on and onto a needle when I realize that there is no way in hell this sock would fit me. I mean, I could cut off part of my foot, but then all of my other socks wouldn't fit, so that would kind of suck. Since fitting seemed important, I went back and ripped out the second half of the heel. Which brings me to today. I am now ready to add a few more middle rows and then redo the second half of the heel.
Hopefully I can bang this out tonight because I'd like to start the second one tomorrow morning at SnB since I'm going to need some help. With the second one I'd like to do a provisional cast on. Only, I don't remember how to do it. I think there is a crochet hook involved. I am not crochet hook proficient. In fact, I don't even have a crochet hook since the one I had, a free one from the NYC Knit Out, mysteriously vanished. I think the crochet hook actually is hiking it's way along I10 hoping to get as far away from me, the anti-crocheter, as possible.