Toe-Up Socks: Legs

You have traversed the most difficult part of the sock – the heel and now you are ready to work on the leg. This will be one of the shorter lessons as it should not be a difficult section of the sock to knit.

The leg of a sock is typically the showiest part of the sock. You don’t have to worry so much about wear and tear on this area and it’s the most visible, particularly if you are wearing shoes.

There are basically two structural issues to be concerned with at this point: (1) keeping the sock leg upright and not slouching down and (2) creating enough elasticity to get your foot and heel through it to put it on.


If you have skinny ankles and legs, you might want to switch to a smaller needle at this point to make the sock a little smaller without having to change the number of stitches. If you have a thick ankle or leg, you might want to switch to a larger needle to make the leg a bit bigger without changing the number of stitches. Another option is to use ribbing (K1, P1) or (K2,P2) to pull the sock fabric snugly around the leg and create a bit of elasticity in the design to help the leg stay up.


Ribbing is a common go-to to keep sock legs vertical, they stretch but it will adjust to whatever it is hugging.

Lacy pattern will not contract the way ribbing will and can be looser on the leg. Cables and color work, on the other hand, can prevent the sock from stretching at all and make it difficult or even impossible to get it on your foot if you don’t allow for that in the design. We won’t get into that here since you should be using a simple pattern for your socks. But in the future if you are designing your own pattern or just looking at possible patterns, remember to take these into consideration¬† and check the comments on Ravelry for the pattern to see if anyone reports having issues with the socks being too tight to get the foot through.

Your assignment for this section of the sock is to read through the pattern carefully, make sure you understand all of the directions, and check your measurements to make sure that you know how long to make the leg portion of the sock, including whatever is needed for the cuff.

Happy knitting! You are almost there.

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