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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!
Maybe it’s a little funny that in our colour search we have “Rainbow” as an option. I mean, rainbows are made of lots of colours, that’s the point! But if you need rainbow socks, then you need rainbow socks, which is why Rainbows have their own category too!
The difference in the results between Rainbow as a colour search and Rainbows as a category is that the colour search brings up individual varieties that are rainbow, like the M Sleeves in Classic Rainbow, where the category just shows styles that have rainbow options. The category is also a little looser on the definition of “rainbow”, like with the Kawaii Not Rainbow Youth & Junior Crew, which is defined as “Pink” by our colour search, since that’s the dominant colour in the sock.
I’ve mentioned this before, but our main goal with the colour searches is to make sure that nobody is going to search for “green” or something and be disappointed by what the results are. So in multi-coloured styles we only tag the dominant colours. Unless, of course, it’s RAINBOW.
So let’s look at some rainbows across different brands! As we discussed in the post about matching stripes across styles, rainbows are basic but tricky, because there are so many more colours to match up. That means our focus in this colour post is more about types of rainbow styles, rather than dissecting how a hue is portrayed across brands and fibers.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks (including Love Lite Tie Dye)
As the majority of Love Lite Precision Tie Dye styles are made with our Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks blanks, it’s easier to wrap them all up together. Between our three versions of Rainbow Dreams and our plethora of Radiant Rainbow and Harvest Rainbow styles, we’ve got rainbows on lock down. The classic tie dye rainbow stylings of Love Lite are the cherry and whipped cream on top (or the pot of gold at the end of all these rainbows!)
Top row from left to right: Rainbow Dreams Bright, Rainbow Dreams Classic, Rainbow Dreams Pastel, Radiant Rainbows, Harvest Rainbows
Bottom row from left to right: Extraordinary Tie Dyed Thigh Highs, Extraordinary Tie Dyed Stripes
Full of classic primary-coloured rainbow options, Foot Traffic also has some fun styles with rad rainbow touches.
Some basic rainbows, sure, but K Bell also rocks the rainbows striped or set off with black.
From left to right: Rainbow Skull & Crossbones Knee Highs, Neon Rainbow Gauntlet Gloves, Vertical Rainbow Fishnet Tights, Acrylic Rainbow Thigh Highs, Over the Rainbow Thigh Highs, Neon Acrylic Rainbow Thigh Highs, Neon Rainbow Striped Fishnet Tights
Background is Rainbow Organza Tutu
Sock It To Me
They just cover the basic rainbow needs, but they do it well!
With probably the slimmest of classic rainbow offerings, I figure it’s because Tabbisocks focuses on nailing all aspects of solid colours.
Other brands have something to represent rainbows, but they’re regularly pretty basic stripes (with the exception of space dye in Sparkle, but we’ll get to that in a sec).
Now, let’s look at the basic variations rainbows end up in!
We use “t-shirt like” to describe the texture of several styles. It’s difficult, over the internet, to properly convey the texture and weight of something, so we use a lot of similes. A sock isn’t going to feel 100% the same as a t-shirt, but there’s a tangible difference between your average sock and one that feels quite a lot like your favourite tee.
First, let’s start on the opposite end of t-shirt texture and remember what “halo” is when it comes to socks. We talked about it a while ago on the Sock Journal, and it’s basically the fuzzy or hairy texture wool and wool-like fibers have.
The fuzzies of the Este Luxe Crew Sock
Styles that we compare to t-shirts are on the opposite end of the fuzzy scale. They’re cotton blends that are smooth to the touch and lack any real discernible surface texture. If you look at the socks below, you can see the difference between a wool style with a halo, a pretty socky sock and something “t-shirt like”.
As comparatively smooth as they are, t-shirt styles aren’t the smoothest thing out there. Socks and tights that have that total stocking smoothness make the gauge of t-shirt textures look rustic in comparison.
So, we’re looking for this middle ground of smoothness. Essentially, when we touch the sock, it feels like touching a t-shirt. And it’s surprising how narrow that cut-off point is. A style that is pretty smooth, like the Cotton Anklet, is still rougher than the Socklings.
Mind you, this is all how we use the term. It’s rather subjective, and one of those “know it when you see it” situations. Believe you me, I tried counting the knitting gauge, but without knowing the yarn gauge, needle size, tension, or any of the other factors that give a texture its texture, I can’t give you a real set of rules that define what “t-shirt like” is.
To compound that difficulty, there’re a lot of different kinds of t-shirts out there. There’s the thinner, finer kind with more snap and stretch to it; or the thick, “beefy” tees that take lots of washes to get a good drape; the vintage and faux vintage styles that you’ve got to layer for modesty.
But here’s what all these sock styles do have in common:
• high cotton content •
• smooth texture •
• soft drape •
• lightweight •
• feels like a t-shirt •
There aren’t a lot of sock styles that meet those rough requirements. Two brands, though, Una and EG Smith, have the largest representation in the t-shirt texture field. Both offer lots of styles that are the smoothest you can get from a sock with it still being a sock and not a nylon stocking.
For the rest, you’ll need to search “t-shirt like” and see what styles spring up! Remember, they’re just socks (and arm warmers, and tights, and, and) that are pretending to be your favourite tee. Give them a little benefit of the doubt, we think you’ll find them pretty smooth. 😉
A long time ago, in a warehouse far (not that far) away, we didn’t have the best lighting. This was fine, for the most part but, in winter particularly, it made seeing the difference between navy and black stupidly difficult. I mean, one is black, the other is blue, right? Well, it depends on the supplier and the fiber.
Navy has some special something that differentiates it from plain ol’ blue, even though it’s just a shade (adding black to) of the same. We go back and forth about adding “Navy” as an option in our Search By Colour, but once you start deciding which popular colour variants are worthy of singular attention things can get complicated. For now, your navy needs can be met by simply searching for “navy” and then limiting the results to Blue.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define navy. If you want more in-depth detail on the shade, Wikipedia is a good place to go and the Color Sorting Wiki is always a great resource for poem-like names of shades and hues. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. Now, let’s dive into those deep blue waters!
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
We only really have two versions of navy, nylon and our cotton reclaimed fiber blend. And the Navy N40s are a dark dream next to the lighter, more blue, cotton blends.
Because B.Ella tends to go for the dark hues as their basics, they rock the heck out of navy, bringing the widest range of what the shade can do.
Though they play around with navy in their heathers, EG’s solid navy doesn’t stray. It’s a very dark and pure blue, with no reds warming it up.
Like EG Smith, Foot Traffic’s navy is strong, dark and pure. Like a really good cup of coffee, only with the colour blue.
As they often do, Tabbisocks’ colours are imbued with depths of hue. I think they make the richest navy of the lot, though their tights go more the dim and dark route in shade.
For everyone else, their Navy varies across the board, from perfectly neutral to basically blue.
How much variety within a simple shade like navy can there be anyway? A surprising amount, considering the range of navy is from “basically black” to “still darker than dark blue.”
I’m going to be comparing these various subsets of navy against a pair of Simone’s Sleeves in Black. It’s a nice, true black that does well at showing the hidden blue in even the darkest navy.
Pastels are pretty straightforward. The fancy words for them are “high value and low to intermediate saturation”, which just means “bright, but not, like, vivid.” They’re all your basic colours, but tinted with a heavy dose of white.
What’s interesting about pastel tints are that some things, like beige, are technically pastels of something else (brown, in this case), but we don’t always consider them that. Pastels can be terribly contextual, but we know ‘em when we see ‘em. Some of the colours we’re going to look at have been touched on in other colour posts, but they all qualify (for us, anyway) as a pastel.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define pastels. If you want to go down the learning rabbit-hole, Wikipedia is a good source. The Color Sorting Wiki actually barely touches on pastels, saying only “Think pastel when you think spring. Although not all spring colors are pastels and not all pastels are spring colors, the frequency of spring colors matching pastel colors is quite large.”
I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. Since it’s sorta a subjective colour, to some degree, we’re just going to look at the pastel-iest of what we’ve got classed as “Pastel” in our colour search. That said, let’s get down to it!
Did you know, back in The Day, the O Basics were split up, with “O Pastels” on their own product page? As yarns changed over the years, we lost some of our favourite pastels for a while and, along with site changes, it just made sense to consolidate them.
And, of course, the O Lovelies are the prima donnas of the pastel, soft little shades that are whispers of colour. I tried my darndest to show that Lichen O Rayons are a soft colour, but they look so dark next to the other pastel Dream Stocking yarns!
Always more of a “winter”, in colours as well as fibers, B.Ella doesn’t have that many true pastels. But what they do have are classics. The cotton Bastia best exemplifies pastels for this brand. Though the Kimi, Erin and Sophia all have colours that we’ve classed as pastel, when you put them next to these Pima cotton pretties, they glower with tone (which is when you mix a colour with grey) rather than shine with tint.
Their soft heather styles give EG Smith an advantage in the pastel game, though really only their heather pink qualifies. Other than that, EG only represents pastel via the classics.
Though denim heathers and soft browns and beiges could be considered pastels (and we have Foot Traffic’s versions classed as such) for pastel purists only two colours really fit—their singular Mint and their thigh high in Pink.
As usual, Tabbisocks brings colour to the table, with a perfect pastel offering in several tints.