Sock Length

Before I start the post about the length of socks, I was responding to a comment earlier this morning and while writing to her, remembered something I had totally forgotten.  When I first learned to make socks,  I’m betting I ripped out that first sock a dozen times.  I would get so frustrated and put it down and say “I have to walk away for a while”.  I dislike doing ribbing even now.  I didn’t know how to rip out and then pick up stitches so if I messed up, I had to rip the whole thing out and start over.  I wish I knew how many times I messed up that heel flap and had to rip all the way back to the beginning!  I had forgotten that Vince said to me “Why don’t you just give up?”  He’s never said that to me before about anything but that tells you how frustrated I was.  So, for those of you who have experienced the frustration .. you see where I am now!  I can almost knit socks while sleeping.  Don’t give up!  You can do it!!

OK . . back to the regularly scheduled program — the length of socks.  I was asked yesterday how the leg length of my socks compares to the leg length of storebought socks.

It’s a bit different if you’re knitting a pattern because you probably (or . . maybe not) want to make whole patterns so you might need to make your sock a certain number of rows.

It’s been years since I bought socks so here’s a storebought sock, that’s obviously about to wear a hole in the foot, on top of a recently knitted sock.

Obviously, the knitted sock is a bit wider and a bit taller than the storebought sock.  I love that the hand knitted socks are not tight on my foot.  You can see that the ribbing at the top is tight enough to keep them from falling down.

I knit my legs from the top of the ribbing to where I start the heel flap 7″.  I like that length, plus, that’s the length of my knitting needle so I don’t have to keep a measuring stick with me.

Since I knit the leg 7″ and the heel flap about 2-1/2″, the total length there is about 9-1/2″.

And when I’m knitting, I don’t get real worried if one sock is 1/2″ (or more) longer than the other one.  I try to make it perfect but often, it isn’t.

From the heel to where I begin shaping the toe is also 7″ . . which is the length of the knitting needle so again, there’s no need for a measuring stick.  That would be something else to have to keep up with!  These measurements won’t work for everyone but they’re perfect for my foot.  You can make the leg/foot as long or as wide as needed for your own measurements.  Just be aware that you may need an additional skein of yarn if you’re making them much longer/wider than the pattern states.  I have never run short of yarn and I buy skeins that are at least 350 yards.

And then . . when I wear them — it’s heaven for my feet!  If you ever get used to wearing hand knitted socks, especially if you like the feel of the soft wool/cashmere/nylon blends, you’ll never want to go back to regular storebought socks again.  I’m sure there are socks you can buy that feel and fit as nicely as my  hand knitted socks but I doubt they fit my budget!  These socks are not tight, they’re not loose . . they’re just right!


  1. 1

    peggy says

    Interesting the comment Vince had regarding your frustration. I have not done anything more difficult than scarves so far, but when I first picked up knitting needles again after years of sewing, crafting and quilting, my husband commented how nice it was because knitting is so portable. In other words, I was in the same room with him. After seeing me rip out a project many times for the same reason you stated (not knowing how to pick up ripped out stitches), he commented one evening “Maybe you should go back to quilting.”

  2. 2

    Linda in NE says

    Not too short, not too long. Not too tight, not to lose, but just right. Makes you the Goldilocks of socks doesn’t it?

  3. 3


    I adore my hand-knit socks. I have made many, many pairs and have given many away to friends and relatives. I always tell them their feet will never be cold if they wear wool socks. They’re always skeptical, but they come back later and say I was right! Wool socks are not cheap, but who says cheap is best? One of my favorite yarns is Patons Kroy, which is pretty reasonable compared to a lot of sock yarns, and also is very durable and easy to knit. Sock knitting, like any skill, is a learned ability. No one starts a new craft making everything perfect, but if they stick with it, they’ll improve and make items they’ll enjoy and be proud of. I advise your other readers to persevere if they want to knit socks. I think it’s worth it!

  4. 4


    I have two pairs of hand knitted socks that two different friends knitted for me. I love them both. I wore the heel completely out of one of them and now they are ruined. I haven’t thrown it out yet though…..I am sold. I WILL learn to knit socks this year. Why don’t you just come on over to Michigan and visit me for a week! LOL. Your socks look very comfortable. Do you make them for Chad and Vince too?

    • 4.1

      Evelyn says

      If you have worn out feet on your socks, you can rip off the foot and reknit just the foot. I have lots of friends that will knit the heel a different color so that when the heel wears out, it is easy to redo. Don’t throw out your worn foot socks because they are salvagable! Cheers! Evelyn

  5. 6


    I LOVE my hand knit socks — just the other day I gave away all my store bought socks – I haven’t worn any of them in the 2 years since I learned how to knit my own socks. I’ll never go back to store bought — handmade for me!

  6. 7

    Sharlene says

    Judy, I’m trying your suggestion of 2-on 1 needle toe up and it’s fun but it’s a size 2 needle and it’s taking me forever. what size needle for what size yarn are you using? Jeanne….. what size needle are you using for the Patons Kroy yarn? I have a couple of balls of that to try.

  7. 9

    Denise says

    You’re absolutely right Judy – hand knit socks are so wonderful cause they are made to fit your own foot. I have a size 11 foot – yes big – and store bought socks are never long enough in the foot to be truly comfortable and they tend to shrink so they end up even smaller and tighter. I hate tight socks! Iv’e even made them for my Mom in Arizona – hers have a higher cotton content in them but they do still contain some wool which helps them keep shape better and it’s all natural fibers so they breathe and your foot doesn’t get hot, just stays comfy. I never have cold feet when I’m standing at the bus stop in the snow unless it’s a day I don’t have the wool socks on. 🙂

  8. 10

    Evelyn says

    Judy – when I get to a complicated/change in a pattern, I will often take a piece of contrasting yarn, thread it on a yarn needle and pull it through the row of stitches on the needle. Then keep knitting. If you do make an error and have to rip back, that contrasting yarn row makes a very easy stopping point so you don’t have to keep ripping back. Cheers! Evelyn

  9. 11

    Suzanne Smith says

    I too am tempted to learn sock knitting! Denise made me think …I have a ten year old daughter that wears a size 11 shoe now and she is still growing!! She would love hand knit socks then I could teach her to make her own.

  10. 12

    Becky R says

    I certainly don’t need one more thing on my to-do list but I have been wanting to learn how to knit socks so I think this is the year. We have a nice knitting shop fairly close to where I work so I am going to to go and talk to them about a class to learn how to knit them. I just love your socks so much and think I would really love the feel of them on my feet too.
    I will keep you posted on my new project for the year.

  11. 13


    I could never get the hang of knitting. I think it’s because I’m a true lefty. My Mother is a lefty; but, she does things the right handed way. My Grandma could knit socks like it was going out of style. I love wearing them around the house and I wore out the last ones she gave me awhile back. I miss them and wish I had a few more of her knitted socks. They are so warm, comfortable and I felt so well loved whenever I had a pair of them on. My Mother isn’t well and she was never a steady knitter. No one else in the family is a knitter. So, no more socks. 🙁

    • 13.1

      Carolyn Thomas says

      Lee Ann: Before you give up permenently on learning to knit socks or knit period, get a book called “I can’t believe I’m knitting”. My mother tried for years (since I was 10 {I’m 54 now}) to teach me. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I could crochet very easily but not knit. The aforementioned book teaches both the American/English (right hand throw method) and the Continental method. I believe that the Continental method is easier for left handed people to learn. I am very right handed, but the Continental method felt the same as crocheting to my hand. I haven’t learned socks or any other shaping yet, but I am ready too.

  12. 15

    Mary Johnson says

    That’s one reason I like to knit two at at time….I do my ribbing for a while and say, that’s enough, then the leg, once I try on the sock and decide the foot is long enough, I do my toe decreases….I don’t have to worry about them being the same size because they’re being knit together.

    I notice you’re back to DPN, did you decide the two circulars aren’t for you or are you using both methods?

  13. 16


    What a great tip to use the needle for your measuring tool. Thanks for sharing how frustrating the sock creation was for you at first. I am still at that beginning and frustrating ripping out stage. BUT….like you….I am not giving up (except on the knitting two at a time on circular needles…..that is just TOOOOOOOOOOO confusing for me!!)

  14. 17


    Judy, I love all your socks! and the yarns and colors are beautiful. I’ve never knitted socks. I’ve been tempted, but I’ve also wondered if my “clothed with knitted sock feet” would fit into my present shoes? Whenever I see bloggers showing their knitting skills and their newly knitted socks, it’s on their bare feet. No shoes. So, my question: What shoes do you wear with your socks. Clogs? Boots? Lace up Athletic shoes? Loafers typs shoes?
    I have wool socks that I have purchased, but the yarn is very fine and I can wear all my shoes with these particular socks. Is the same true with hand knit socks? Thank you for any comments about knitted socks and fit for shoes.

  15. 18


    Great tip on using your needle to measure……… There is only one thing better than knitting your own socks and that is giving a pair of hand knit socks to a friend……..

  16. 19

    Carla says

    Thanks Judy that is a great idea about using the needle to measure the sock, now I can get rid of that pain of a measuring tape, it keep getting tangled with my yarn in my knitting bag.
    I envy everyone who gets to wear their knitted socks. I’ve been making sox’s for my husband. I’m allergic to wool, so I found Bernat Sox yarn that’s 60% Acrylic and 40% Nylon but that also makes me itch.
    What’s a girl to do?

  17. 20


    You use a needle, I use my hand to measure the foot of my sock! The length from the base of my palm to the tip of the longest finger is the same as my foot from the heel to where the base of my big toe is…it’s the same for my mom, but we haven’t expanded the test outside of our family, LOL.

  18. 21

    Pam says

    Judy, I LOVE all your hand knit socks. I’ve always had this “thing” for socks and now you have me hooked. I have to learn to knit socks this year. I do have a couple of questions. How do hand knit socks hold up? Do they seem to have a long life? Do you hand wash all of your hand knit socks or just the ones the yarn says should be hand knit? And finally, would you consider Knitting Circles Around a good book for a newbie sock knitter (lots of pictures, great explanations)? I have only knitted shawls, afghans, and scarves recently. I REALLY want to knit socks!!! LOL Thanks for any help you can offer and for the inspiration.

    • 21.1

      Pam says

      Hit submit before rereading my comment. Should have said “yarn says should be hand washed” not “hand knit” LOL. Thanks again.