As the leg gets larger towards the thigh, the stocking must be made to fit accordingly, bearing also in mind the fact that the calf of the leg is larger than the ankle. For the adaptation of the fabric to the changes at various points, this is reduced where necessary by curtailing the length of the stitch formed by the needle (these needles are arranged around the needle cylinder according to the needle-count of the machine) and the fabric is thus reduced in width and stretch. At the top of the leg, the stitches are made larger by the drawing of a longer loop by the needle, this giving the necessary welt-stretch for the fit of the thigh, while in the calf, ankle and foot, the size of the stitch is altered accordingly.
For the achieving of this alteration of stitch, a graduating device built into the machine permits smaller or stiffer loops, and larger or slacker ones, although the same number of needles is used for the whole of the stocking.
The shaping of the leg and foot by a gradual tightening of the stitch brings into force the combination of wales and courses