Cuff Length on Socks

DSC02829A few people have asked me how long I make the cuffs on my socks, and whether or not a certain skein of yarn will make 2 socks. Here is my first String Theory sock, folded over (not yet washed or blocked. Just in case you’re looking that closely). I wear a size 11 shoe, so my socks are always a good test of yardage. That’s one positive, I guess. I like my cuffs to be the same length as the foot of the sock, when folded in half. Once in awhile I’ll make them a little longer if I’m having fun with the pattern and there is still plenty of yarn left, but normally, I double them. When knitting socks, I split the skein into 2 equal balls using a winder and a scale to measure the weight, and then I knit toe up. This way, I never have to worry about running out down by the toe, from having knit cuff down. You can see the little bit of yarn I had left from this first String Theory sock. Actually, I screwed up the two balls a little and I used the smaller ball first. So I can say with great confidence that there is PLENTY in that skein to make a pair of socks. I knit this one on size 1 needles with 60 stitches. I can also say with great confidence that whenever we wrap up a set of small sock blockers, I am totally jealous of that person with the small feet.

DSC02828I also knit up a Spirit Trail Fiberworks sock out here. I love the colors (this one is Turkish Stone) and I used my default no-brainer pattern – the Baby Cable Rib. That’s the pattern I use when I don’t want to have to think while I knit. (3 rows of K2, P2, then one row of K2tog but leave on the left needle, knit the first stitch again and pop it both stitches off, then P2). It’s a very stretchy, comfortable sock. We’ll have a Spirit Trail re-stock again soon. I had a lot of fun meeting Jennifer in person at Maryland Sheep & Wool in May, and picking out colors for our next order in person.

So, are you mostly a toe-up sock knitter or a cuff-down sock knitter?  And how long do you like your cuffs?

Sheri enjoyingthealmostdailyafternoonthunderstormsthatlastabout20minutes


  1. I’m not trying to suck up or anything, but I make my socks just like you do: divide the skein into two equally-weighted balls (and if one winds up being slightly lighter than the other, start with the smaller one) & knit toe-up until I have a sock that’s equal in length for the foot and the calf/leg/cuff. Seems like the best combo (for me) of stretching the yardage + size + trying on as I go. I’ll try your baby cable idea, but my favorite ribbing is k4, p2. 🙂

  2. I make toe-up because of the long foot club, but prefer top-down because none of the zillions of bindoffs I’ve tried make a satisfactory cuff. I like a little longer cuff, closer to 1.5 of foot. but same length as foot is the traditional – and the way that grandma taught me :).

  3. i’m cuff-down, but i have genetic cankles, so i never have a full-length sock. just an inch cuff, then straight for the heel. also, my feet are size 5, so i can easily make myself a pair of socks out of one 50g ball. i don’t think i have to tell you how great that is.

    for gift socks, i usually ask preference. most people my age prefer “ankle” socks, but my parents and in-laws prefer long socks. i usually stick with an inch cuff and then just follow whatever sensational socks’ chart says for their respective sizes. i don’t like to think about it.

  4. adendum……my sister-in-law and her boyfriend specifically request “hodge-podge” socks, which allows me to use up all my random pieces from everyone else’s socks. they like the punky brewster way it looks and it helps me out a great deal.

  5. Hey like minds! I knit toe up most of the time, weigh and divide my yarn, and fold my sock in half for cuff length. I’m not a risk taker. 😉

  6. I do either but the last few pairs have been toe up. I personally prefer a shorter cuff. It has nothing to do with my size 10 wide foot but every thing to do with my internal combustion engine that will not stop. I don’t wear sweaters or long sleeves so long cuffs on socks are a no no. My husband, however, prefers at least an 8 inch cuff, higher is better. He is cold, all the time, but mostly because he wears work boots alot when he is outdoors and the higher cuffs come over the top of the boots and then don’t all bunch up in the boots. Love the string theory colors. I may have to try a little. N

  7. OMGoodness Sheri..did this posting ever help!! I’m a size 12 shoe!! and even though I haven’t yet had a problem with running out of yarn, I’ve been making some socks (to try the pattern) with shorter legs..shorter than I’d like.

    I can’t believe you’re a size 11….well, yes I can cuz I know we’re out there, as they buy all the larger-sized shoes before I do. Are you tall, also?

    I love the mountains and this is the first time in 15 years that we won’t be visiting our cabin in the mountains in Idaho. We’re in Michigan. There’s too much life going on and that is more necessary to pay attention to right now, as they (the kids) will be gone soon from here and off to their own lives.

  8. Toe-up, cuffs about the length of the foot (though if I’m terminally bored with the sock, a little shorter is fine). Heel style depends on the yarn; I do thumbjoint heel (or, since I learned that variation, Bordhi’s afterthought leg) for striping socks and either toe-up flap or short rows for non-striping.

  9. I guess I am weird, but I just knit and try on the sock (always on two circulars) to see how much cuff I want. It usually ends up being about the same length as the foot. I tend to knit top down, because I haven’t been able to master when to start the short rows to make the sock the right length. Is there a trick to that? That makes the short row socks not feel as comfortable (probably because they don’t really fit!).

  10. I greatly prefer toe up and avoid cuff down like the plague usually. 🙂 I wear an 8.5 which is kind of average I think. I usually am ready to quit so my cuffs are only about 6 inches long I think.

  11. I haven’t figured out my perfect fit toe up… so I’m top down. I also wear an 11. I do a 6 inch cuff/leg. Any higher and it runs into too much “shapliness” in my leg and they start slouching like crazy. Any lower and I’m always feeling like pulling them up. I can get a 7 inch cuff on most of my husbands socks… he wears a mens 11. It always scares the bejeebers out of me though. I try to have some backup toe yarn ready just in case I run out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.