Nikki asks about where to start with sock knitting. I will indulge in a bit of shameless self-promotion, and point to my "Socks 101" article on Knitty.
The article guides you through creating a mini "training sock" that teaches you all the skills you need, and then helps you create your own custom-fit basic sock pattern.
Marilyn asks about using silk for shawls. Silk is terrific for lace, it blocks very very well. I've had great success with both refined, smooth silk yarns, and rougher silk yarns. Some of the blends are just fabulous. The Feeling I mention has a relatively small silk content, and really just feels and behaves like the nicest softest wool in the world. I am a big fan of Fleece Artist's Sea Silk, I used it for my Swallowtail Shawl. I can't find that specific yarn listed on their site at the moment, but they have many other silk and silk blend yarns.
For more details on the properties of silk, take at look at Amy Singer's No Sheep for You book.