Custom Socks


Measuring for custom socks

Shaping a sock to fit someone, is very much defined by specific measurements in order to perfectly tailor the perfectly fitted sock.

sock measurements

Measure and record the measurements below

Measure A---- ankle                                                                               

Measure B ----leg

Measure C---- knee

Measure D--- foot length

Measure E----heel length

Measure F--- leg length

Measure G----calf length

Measure H--- knee length

You need to measure around the widest part of the foot.

You need to measure around the widest part of the calf.

Hints for knitting your socks

The measurement taken at “A” is usually the measurement that, in combination with your gauge, will determine the number of stitches you will cast on for a normal length pair of socks.

For example, take the measurement “A” in inches, and multiply it by your stitch gauge, and you will have the number of stitches you should cast on to begin your sock.

Make two gauge swatches when determining your cast on. Always use the preferred sock yarn and suggested needle size. Do a swatch of about 20 stitches and about 20 rows in stockinette stitch, and take a gauge measurement.

The second swatch is done the same way, but knit in the pattern stitch of the sock top or leg.

To take this measurement, measure the gauge at rest, then take a gauge measurement with it stretched to its maximum. The gauge used is figured from the average of these two gauge measurements. Compare the two, and go for the gauge that will be snug around your foot.

You want your socks to stretch some on the feet, to adjust for the “stretch” factor. The length of the leg of a sock for short socks is “F”, and this usually averages around 6 inches. Use a good stretchy pattern stitch for this.

If you are using a lace or more flat knit piece, like intarsia or Fair Isle, be sure and work an inch or more of a stretchy ribbing in the cuff to help keep the sock up.

If your sock top extends above the leg into the area where the calf begins to enlarge, use your best stretchy cuff ribbing here. There are tons of great decorative ribbings to explore!

Be sure and knit a heel flap, measurement “E” that is plenty long enough. Short heel flaps are the major cause of socks that constantly work down into your shoe or boot. A well-fitting heel flap that is plenty long enough will help keep your sock where it belongs!

When decreasing the gusset, you can decrease more quickly, for long thin feet, and decrease slowly down to the smaller size for wide thick feet.

When doing your toes, notice if the wearer’s toes are “blocky” or “pointy”. That way you can determine how many stitches to decrease down to before closing your toe. Decrease down to a smaller number of stitches for a pointy toe, and for a larger number of stitches for a more “blocky” toe.

A good average for most feet, is to knit the length of the foot, measurement “D”, less 2 ½ inches for the toe. For example, if the length of the foot is 10 inches, knit the foot length to 7 ½ inches, then begin your toe. Remember, the sock should fit snug!

Other options for people with long toes is to knit your sock to measurement “D”, minus 3 inches and knit your toe decreases slowly decreasing. If they have short toes, knit your sock to measurement “D” minus 2 inches and decrease your toe more quickly.

For knee socks, you will knit the length of the leg as measured by “H”. Part of the “H” measurement will be an inch or so of ribbing at the top of the knee sock.

The number of stitches you cast on from measurement “C” will be determined in the same way as when you cast on for shorter socks using measurement “A”. Many times, these will be the same!

From that point, you will increase a gusset area at the middle back of the sock to the thickest or middle part of the calf, where you will then mirror by decreasing in the same areas where you previously increasing in the gusset area until you get to the bottom of the calf.

Decrease to the original Cast On stitch count, and will decrease more if this part of the leg is particularly thin. Then you will knit straight on as a regular sock.

Plan your gusset with paired increases then paired decreases on either side of a marked centre stitch that runs at the very back of the sock. This gusset area can be accommodated for many patterns and textured stitches and when paired nicely, is attractive itself.

You can use a stretchy knit along yarn in your heels and toes, such as woolly nylon. You can make the soles of your socks extra warm and cushy by using the same heel stitch that is used in the heel flap, but knitted in the round.


Socks have evolved over the centuries from the earliest models which were made from animal skins gathered up and tied around the ankles. In the 8th century BC, the ancient Greeks wore socks from matted animal hair for warmth. Romans also wrapped their feet with leather or woven fabrics. By the 5th Century AD, socks called ‘puttees’ were worn by holy people in Europe to symbolise purity. By 1000 AD, socks became a symbol of wealth among the nobility. From the 16th Century on, an ornamental design on the ankle or side of a sock has been called a clock.

The invention of a knitting machine in 1589 meant that socks could be knitted six times faster than by hand. Nonetheless, knitting machines and hand knitters worked side by side until 1800.

The next revolution in sock production was the introduction of nylon in 1939. Until then socks were commonly made from silk, cotton and wool. Nylon was the start of blending two or more yarns in the production of socks, a process that still continues.


Socks can be created from a wide variety of materials. Some of these materials are cotton, wool, nylon, acrylic, polyester, olefin, polypropylene, or spandex. To get an increased level of softness other materials that might be used during the process can be silk, linen, cashmere, or mohair. The colour variety of sock choices can be any colour that the designers intend to make the sock upon its creation. Sock 'colouring' can come in a wide range of colours. Sometimes art is also put onto socks to increase their appearance. Different sports generally brandish different sock colours and there are also sometimes each sock will have a different colour (for some significance or another). Coloured socks may be a key part of the uniforms for sports, allowing players teams to be distinguished when only their legs are clearly visible.

Sock sizes

Sock sizes can vary from 8.5 - 11.5. Sock lengths vary, from ankle-high to thigh level and much in between. In the UK, a sock's size is the similar to that of a person's foot; for example, a foot that has a shoe size of 9 would require a sock sized 8-10.


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