Some sock patterns are indeed pretty easy, easier than you might think.
Once you get the basics, knitting is pretty much following the pattern properly (at least until you are brave enough to plan your own patterns).
I think where experience really starts coming in is when you can look at your piece and know where you are, whether you remembered an increase, etc. You can see turned stitches, you can correct dropped ones. You can correct a knit-purl mistake without much fuss. If you messed up, you can look and make a quick fix of your own design , just know that one extra stitch isn't going to throw off the pattern (and when it will), and when (sigh!) you just have to rip it back. You can see how the piece is coming together as you go, instead of it looking like a blob until you finish. You know when your gauge is getting off and when to stop and check it. You know whether your stitching tends to be loose or tight, and you choose needle-size accordingly, never-mind the instructions.
Edited by SweetSilver - 7/13/12 at 7:43am