confusing isn't? its actually the stitches that name the needle.
you can use stitch markers..
find those little beads --the kind 50+ years ago that were used for baby name braclets--and are still called that.. though almost most no one in living memory has seen a baby in a hospital with one!
these bead also come in numbers..
make some stitch markers (closed loop earing backs will work!)
and label each bunch of stitches 1, 2, 3, 4.
this will help you knit any sock pattern.
if a pattern calls for a set of 5 DPN's (and your sets are all 4's), no matter, just double up (and put "needle 2 and needle 3 on one needle (and hang to stitch markers.. (#2 and #3) and Voila! you can knit the pattern.
want to try a sock on 2 needles (circ's) or on magic loop? hang the stitch markers on the knitting to keep track of which stitches are needle 1, or needle 2..(even though they are all on the same needle!)
Don't want to make your own 1, 2, 3, 4 needles? you can find stitch markers like this (just for sock knitting) on etsy.