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Zkano is the creation of second generation sock maker Gina Locklear. In 1991, Gina’s parents opened up their sock knitting mill in Fort Payne, AL at a time when a huge percentage of the country’s socks originated from there. These days, Emi-G Knitting (named after Gina and her sister) is one of only a few knitting mills left in the city.
When Gina grew up she merged her passion for environmentally sustainable living with the family trade to create socks that are beautiful and organic. Each aspect of sock creation is done on-site including design, knitting, seaming, and packaging. Zkano socks are “produced in small batches with certified organic cotton, low-impact dyes and minimal packaging to leave a light footprint while ensuring the highest quality fit and comfort,” exactly to Gina’s specifications. How Dreamy!
The Mara Over the Calf features fun stripes and color blocking, adding a unique look to any outfit!
Sunnie Slouch Stripe Midcalf has a comfy roll-top cuff that slides down the ankle for the perfect care-free scrunchy look!
For a more classic look, we also carry their Annabel Striped Knee High which have the perfect skinny stripes and wide cuff to make anyone’s toes happy.
If you’d like to learn more about the Zkano story, and take a peek inside the family business, check out the video below!
Though we started off, long ago, with a smaller array of coverage styles (knee highs, long socks, etc), we’ve added so many more coverage levels and styles in the past few years—this past year especially!
Most notably, more and more suppliers are offering true no-shows, little bits of nothing that cover your toes and your heels, but not the top of your foot. And we’ve also started offering shoe liners, a most un-sock-like sock option, but one that does the same job of keeping your shoes and feet from dirtying each other.
Because of this, we’ve refined some of our coverage categories (those thumbnails at the top of the Socks page) to make things easier to find and understand!
Let’s talk Liners
Liners, or insoles, are the closest to not wearing socks, because well, you’re not wearing socks at all! Shaped like the bottom of your shoe and made of materials to cushion or insulate, liners exist to give your feet some distance from your shoes. They can be tricky to first use, since it can take a little wiggling to get them into place. We’ve found holding them at the sides and bending the front edge back a little as you slide them in helps.
Right now we only offer two kinds of liners (we are sock folks, after all). The Alpaca Felt Insoles from Heartfelt are your winter option, adding warmth and coziness meant to work together with your favourite socks to keep your toesies cozy in the cold! SummerSox’s shoe liners are the summer option, for when you seriously could not imagine wearing socks, but don’t want your feet sweating and slipping on your shoes.
Though we were a little sceptical of liners at first, in our testing of them we fell in love! Having that extra layer between our feet and the cold ground that the Alpaca Felt Insoles offered made winter far more bearable. And the bonus to the SummerSox we loved was their soft combed cotton stopped that annoying “slap-slap” you get when walking barefoot in strappy summer sandals!
Colloquially called “peds” although “Peds®” is a registered trademark of the The Peds Company and only Peds® brand peds can be called peds, no-shows (or no shows, up to your personal hyphenation preferences) cover your toes and your heels, but leave the top of your foot bare. When paired with the right shoes, they’re practically invisible! Some brands also call them “liners” and we roll with that in their names, but if it’s covering your toes and heels and nothing else, then it’s a no-show—unless it’s a KeySock, in which case it is the happy child of a no-show and a knee high.
A great option for when you want the no-sock look or feel, but need more between you and your shoes than a liner can provide, the main drawback to no-shows is that the bit at the heel can sneak down into your shoe. Finding a style that fits you fab helps, but some styles know what is up and have grips at the back of the heel to keep things in place and we make sure to note that in Sizing Tips!
There are some no-shows that walk the line of not showing, like ToeSox’s Bella styles. That mary jane strap across the foot (that helps keep them in place) almost makes them . . .
Also called “sneaker socks” and sometimes even “anklets” (which are a whole ‘nother beast that is sort of similar/different to “ankle socks” in the same way crews and midcalves are just the barest difference of length). Footies dance right around the anklebone, landing either just below or just above, it seems like one of the key defining features of a footie is that it’s just the foot of a sock. See, the leg part of a sock is called the shaft (can ya dig it?) and a footie doesn’t have that. It covers the toes, heels, top of the foot and pretty much ends there. At most it has a bit of a cuff that covers the ankle bone.
Because a lot of the folks who make socks aren’t as persnickety as I am, footies also get called “no-shows” even though they show in most shoes (except sneakers, which would explain the “sneaker sock” term). And, as we tend to, we keep that supplier naming, and just sort them accordingly by coverage level.
A perfect summer or spring sock, often the height running styles are made in, footies are fun and fabulous when you just need a touch of sock but don’t want to be up past your ankles in warmth!
As the weather warms up, we hope these refreshed coverage categories make it easier to find just the right sock (or lack thereof) for summer!
Many of us Dreamers are big fans of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, so when we saw the latest Dream Stocking Design—the Sporty Striped OTKs—Fionna the Human was the first thing that came to mind. For years, we’ve had people emailing us looking for the perfect socks for Finn’s female alter-ego. We’ve even got two DIY options for her signature socks in one of our blog posts, DIY: Drawing Detail. Now at last, we’ve got an easier option for Fionna cosplayers. There are even two different blue stripes to choose between, so that you can better match your socks to your outfit.
Rae was quick to jump on the idea of a Fionna cosplay; as our Events Coordinator she gets to see the best con-goers up close, and has always wanted to get in on the action. Rae’s pretty new to cosplay, and Fionna is a great costume for beginners. Most of the outfit consists of articles of clothing you might already have in your arsenal, making this a great “closet cosplay.”
Rae already had a suitable blond wig, but she took to our local thrift stores to find the perfect skirt and shirt for Fionna. It took a bit of digging, but that just made the outcome all that more rewarding!
With the main pieces taken care of, it was time to worry about the one thing we couldn’t find at a thrift store: Fionna’s hat. Fortunately, her hat is pretty simple, and offers a great chance for beginning cosplayers to try their hands at some sewing. We found a great pattern on Instructables.com. It’s specifically a Finn hat, but you just need to make the ears longer (and a bit more “bunny” shaped) for Fionna.
At this point, Rae’s outfit was essentially complete, but it still needed that last little thing to pull the whole costume together. Namely, the backpack. The Instructables pattern we used for the hat also has some instructions for a decorative version of the backpack, which should be pretty easy for beginners. We ended up going a different route and basically drafting our own, because with all the hauling we have to do at cons, we really wanted something that could do double duty: both style and function! And we just couldn’t pass up this themed fabric from Joann Fabric and Craft Stores. Be warned though, backpacks are tricky things to make at the best of times, so drafting the backpack is not a project we recommend for beginners.
Rae will debut this costume at Denver Comic Con this weekend; say hi if you see her! We’ll be at booth #802.
Did you know, May 17th is National Packrat day? I’m sure you do know “packrat” is a term for folks who hold on to maybe more stuff than they’ve space, or who are avid users of what I call “organised piles” (which is a thing I do, and those piles are library-catalogued, test me).
What does this have to do with socks? Well, I’m pretty sure some of you saw the word “packrat” and guiltily thought of your sock stash. That’s what it has to do with socks. So!
First off: no guilt, you love what you love. Second, let’s use this silly fake holiday to figure out how to make your stash more like a dragon’s hoard, rather than a cute rodent’s mega-nest. Organising, mending/crafting and sharing are ways to manage your socks. And you gotta organise to figure what the next step is, so let’s jump to it.
On the face of it, “organising” sounds kind of insurmountable. I mean, if I was organised, I’d be able to find those cute anklets I love for spring, right? The thing to remember is that you’re organising for your lifestyle, not a magazine spread. If two heaps of socks in separate laundry baskets is what works best for you, then go for it (that was my choice of organisation for years!).
A Sock Dispatch from last summer talks about some of the ways Dreamers organise their socks, which are varied as the Dreamers themselves!
“Those are still really organised!” Oh dude, don’t stress. We definitely tidied before taking pictures (and tight crops of sock storage means you don’t see any yet-to-be-sorted socks just outside of the frame)!
Let’s focus on how different Dreamers sort their socks. Everybody rocks socks in different ways, with their own individual emphasis on what they want socks for. So look at what influences your sock choices most? Here are four of the more common sock sorting themes, but there are lots more!
Do you want warmer socks separate from lightweight ones?
Do you have trouser socks for work and dreamy slipper socks for home?
Do you want to keep running/yoga/biking/aerial socks and leggings separate from “regular” styles?
Do you want to keep things sorted by colour and pattern first?
So, set aside a chunk of time (or a couple small chunks of time) and let’s make some glorious, organised heaps of socks. Your main sock stacks are going to be whatever sorting system works best for you (by weather, activity, fashion, etc). Then, make three more piles, and be honest: socks to mend, socks to give away, socks that are no longer socks.
Once you’ve got your stash sorted, put away everything but those last three stacks. Boxes, baskets, one of those intense custom closet systems from Overboard , whatever works for you. However you are putting them away, try to do so with good intentions. Keep delicate stockings in separate bags so they don’t get snagged, make a home for wayward onsies to stay until their friends return.
Sometimes, setting up simple expectations (I will pair everything before putting it away!) can help in building habits that better your day (if everything is paired, I can have matching socks even if I have to get ready in ten minutes!).
Look at that! You organised the HECK out of those socks. That’s the hardest part, you’re awesome!! I hope you re-discovered an old favourite. Now, we’ll deal with those three problem piles.
Mending & Crafting
Let’s look at the “socks to mend” pile. It doesn’t take too much crafty skill to do basic mending and fitting, especially when you know that most of your awkward stitches will be nicely hidden in a shoe! If you have socks you love but don’t wear because of holes or an imperfect fit, make yourself a little sock hospital of a mending basket (or bag, or box!) that you can dip into when you have a moment to restore a sock to health and regular rotation!
We’ve talked about mending a lot before on the Sock Journal, so I’ll just give you some links to resources for being a sock doctor!
• Got holes? Darn it! •
• Stockings too long? Simple sewing solution! •
• Too big a foot? This Tumblr user has a great fix! •
• A smidge too snug? Blocking may be your friend! •
• Foot just no good ? Maybe they’d be better as arm warmers! •
• Just not working as tights? Bet they’d be fabulous gartered stockings! •
I’m saying this as a person with a mending basket that never seems to empty, but mending is perfect for those times when your brain is just not up to crafts but you need something to do with your hands while you watch TV or listen to podcasts. Setting small goals (I will mend one thing a month!) or getting friends in on it (group mending nights!) helps a lot in getting those socks fixed and back on your feet.
But what if there is not still a sock enough to mend, but you still don’t want to throw ‘em away? Well, what can you make with them? We’ve got mad loads of crafting and DIY posts in a range of skill levels for you to check out in our DIY category!
And even if you don’t have a crafting or mending bone in your body, you may know somebody who does! Socks are great for doll clothes and their thickly knit material is easy to handle for small ones just learning to sew. Essentially, you can make your own Crafty Bundles (though the socks we use for Crafty Bundles have never been worn and are just defects and things like that).
If, after later inspection, some socks are just not fixable or useable in any way, set them into the “socks that are no longer socks” pile and we’ll get to them in a moment.
What? Give people your old socks?! Give me a second—I’m not talking about, like, your ratty, shoe-stained ones. I mean, you bought a pair and they don’t fit the way you like, or you just never wear them or that was the pair that taught you that you were allergic to wool.
Because of the sock saturation most Dreamers have, we end up with a lot of styles we just can’t give the life they deserve. So, just like with clothing swaps, we often bring in old styles during regular closet clean-outs and let other folks have at it. If you’re somebody who does clothing swaps on the regular, then try introducing socks into the mix of sweaters that sweet-talked their way into your closet.
If those socks still can’t get love, then take them to your local clothing donation center. Some smaller towns have giant mailbox-looking bins, some places have charity shops, check and see if they take socks!
No matter how you’re sharing and swapping socks, keep these this in mind: make sure the socks are only gently used. If something is just ratty and threadbare, it’s not a nice thing to give to someone else and your better bet is probably recycling.
Socks that are no longer socks
Fiber recycling is sort of hard to track down. It’s going to vary a lot on what your local options are and if charity and thrift shops around you also take fiber recycling donations. Luckily, Zkano takes socks for recycling through the mail!
There’s more info at this link, but here’s a little of what they say:
Old fibers can be reworked and reused. The most worn out cotton fibers can be composted. Here’s where we come in. . . It’s little steps that make a big difference as we move towards a sustainable lifestyle. Our family is proud that you’re taking a few of those steps in Zkano Socks.
Look at that! Organising, fixing, sharing and repurposing. It’s something possible with simple steps that can be broken down as small as your time needs. Don’t let your socks wear you out!
Dreamers Dara and Kori fell deeply in love with Waves of Grain Bakery nearly a decade ago, back when it was tucked away in Cannon Beach, one of the best vacation spots here in scenic Oregon. So you can imagine how excited they were when they discovered that WOG (as it has come to be known by their loyal fans) was opening up a brand new bakery here in Portland! Not only were they bringing they’re scrumptious cookies, biscuits and pastries to our home town, but they were finally offering a full brunch menu, all day, every day!
Once the small, family business finally opened their doors on East Burnside last Spring (just west of 28th Avenue’s “Foodie Row”), we Dreamers were quickly converted into WOG fanatics ourselves, with the help of many special employee treats provided by our generous Officers. Their cookies, OMG, their cookies!!!
This week we decided to support our favorite bakery by holding one of our weekly PR meetings there, and since we happen to have a photographer on the team, we felt compelled to photograph some of the amazing treats they offer. As it turns out, socks and baked goods (and coffee, and brunch!) go together better than you might think!
And speaking of coffee, did we mention that Waves of Grain happens to make the best latte in town, in our humble opinions? Heck, some of our opinions aren’t even all that humble — our biggest coffee snob travels out of her way every morning for that latte, brewed with Portland’s own Coava Coffee.
Over the past year, our two businesses have become besties, so it was heartbreaking to hear that this rustic mom-and-pop shop was having a hard time breaking through in the heavily saturated Portland foodie scene. There is just no reason why this little gem isn’t on the lips (and in the tummies) of every Portlander, their food is just so good!
Since May has been deemed Waves of Grain Bakery Awareness Month, we’re doing what we can to save our favourite brunch spot, because we’d just die without them! So, if you’re here in the Portland area, go to Waves of Grain Bakery this month for some uber tasty goodies and help spread the Wave! Let the counter service know that Sock Dreams sent you, and you’ll even get an exclusive SD coupon that you can use at our Sellwood Shop to beef up your sock drawers!
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