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2015 has been a pretty exciting year for us, and we’re particularly pleased with the direction our house brands have been heading this year. We’ve actually released so many new styles of DreaM Stockings and Dreamer Socks that we felt they deserved an end-of-year round-up. Both lines are custom made for us in the USA, and feature regenerated yarns and minimal packaging, for minimal environmental impact. If you’ve never tried our house brands before, now would be a great time to start!
The first two new DreaM Stockings are actually new versions of boot socks that we previously carried. While the M Bootsocks changed to a new solid charcoal body, the construction of the sock is still just how it used to be. Our new Warm and Cozy Bootsocks, on the other hand, are a reimagining of a somewhat different style – the old Thick and Bulky Bootsocks. They still come in soft, pastel colors and feature fluffy, high-bulk acrylic yarn, but they’re just not quite as thick as they used to be.
We had hoped that 2015 would be a year for finding new yarns for O Marled socks, but we didn’t have any such luck… which just meant that we had to get a bit creative! Our brilliant sock knitters found a way of combining two different yarn colors, for our Striated OTKs, which feature an irregular pattern reminiscent of heathered and marled yarns.
Striated OTKs in red and bubblegum
We also added another length to our much-loved line of chevron patterned DreaM Stockings: Shorty Chevrons! We went for some brighter colorways for this length, as we think they’ll be perfect for summer, given their anklet length and breathable open knit!
Shorty Chevrons in purple with light grey
Of course 2015 also saw the addition of some new stripey styles of DreaM Stockings. It just wouldn’t be Sock Dreams without our stripes! Presenting Bee’s Knees, and Sporty Stripes — we consider these two styles to be instant classics.
But wait! We have one more stripey style up our…. (dare we say it?) sleeves! That’s right, we’ve added Holiday Mis-match Sleeves, in four colorways to represent 4 major winter holidays! Made in the same style as our M Sleeves, these are a little bit extra-special, because each pair features one sleeve with wide stripes, and one with skinny stripes!
Holiday Mismatch Sleeves in black, kelly and red
We couldn’t let DreaM Stockings have all of the holiday fun, though! We had the same colorways made up in crews and OTKs for our Dreamer Socks line. Knitted from cozy, high-quality acrylic yarn, these feature the great stretch that our Dreamer Socks are known for — the idea behind these socks is to be inclusive, so it only made sense to make them in a style of sock that can fit as many people as possible!
Exciting as our Holiday Stripes are to us, we happen to think that there’s an even more beautiful new striped sock in the Dreamer Socks line this year… so beautiful, in fact, that we had to make them in three lengths. Our new Elemental Stripes come in 5 different colorways, to represent the five alchemical elements, though we’ve put our own spin on their names. Available in two lengths of thigh high and a larger-footed crew, we’ve made it almost too easy to get into your element, so to speak.
Extraordinary Elemental Stripes in spirit, terra, inferno, glacier and zephyr
2015 was also a big year for experimentation with what our sock knitters can do with the machines. We’ve got some other new patterns and textures in the pipeline for you, but you can already see two of the fun new styles we came up with this year! Our Vertical Vintage OTKs feature a pattern based on a 1920’s postcard we came across a few years ago, while our Diamond Pattern Midcalves offer a larger-footed alternative to our Dreamer Diamond Waves, while taking the pattern a little further with concentric diamonds.
Diamond Pattern Midcalf Socks in red and white
A couple of this year’s new Dreamer Socks are based on preexisting styles that we liked so much, we felt the need to make them in shorter versions, too! You probably already know how much we love our Extraordinary Thigh Highs, but did you know that they’re now available in a knee high? Additionally, our Dreamy Bamboo Patterned OTKs now come in a sweet little crew, perfect for summer!
And now, dear readers, our round-up is drawing to a close, but we have one more pairing of new styles to present to you. Once again, we’re just so in love with our Extraordinary Thigh High styles that we had to create yet another variation on the theme. For our final new Dreamer Socks of the year, we’ve rolled out Roll-Topped Extraordinary Thigh Highs, as well as a longer version! Featuring a non-constrictive roll top, these tend to need a garter belt or other anti-gravity device to stay up, much like vintage stockings. At 28 inches around when the tops are fully stretched, these fit the widest range out of any of our house brand socks yet, and that makes us some very happy Dreamers.
Whew! Looking back over the last year (and these last 18 socksy styles), it seems like it’s been a long journey, though certainly not an unpleasant one. We hope you find our new offerings as exciting as we do. We simply can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store for 2016!
This week saw the official start of winter, and while it may have felt wintery for the last couple months, those of us in the northern hemisphere are currently experiencing the longest nights of the year. Though some see these long, cold, dark nights as kind of a bummer, we try to look at them as a great chance to get cozy, drink some cocoa and read in front of a glowing hearth, all while wearing our longest, warmest socks.
At 30 inches from heel to top, our line of Extraordinarily Longer Dreamer Thigh Highs aren’t our absolute longest socks, but they are one of the more universally beloved tall socks, as they tend to fit a wide range of legs as true thigh highs.
We love our Extraordinarily Longer Dreamer Socks so much, that we also have them in two rainbow styles! The Harvest Rainbow colorway features our usual regenerated cotton blend yarns, in a muted rainbow, which has become one of our best sellers! The Radiant Rainbows are made from brightly colored high quality acrylic yarn, and are extra soft and warm.
We also carry them in 5 “Elemental” colorways, referencing the 5 alchemical elements, which we’ve put our own spin on!
Top: Extraordinarily Longer Elemental Stripes in spirit, terra and zephyr
Bottom: glacier and inferno colorways
Getting a little bit longer, our next three styles all hail from our DreaM Stockings line, and are over 30 inches in length, but still under 40. These styles are knitted on antique machines, just for Sock Dreams, and while they don’t all fit quite the same range as our more contemporary Dreamer Socks line, you’ll find some great funky and vintage inspired textures and patterns here!
Our next 4 styles are all just about 40 inches from heel to cuff, which is lengthier than most people’s inseams! They’re mostly intended to scrunch or slouch, but one of these styles (hint: the leg warmer) has such great horizontal stretch that they can actually make a great thigh high without any scrunching on legs that are both long and full-figured!
Some of you might be thinking that this is it — our longest socks. But no! There are even longer socks! At 50 inches, our Longer Super Stripes are beautifully thigh high on smaller legs, with great scrunch potential on larger legs!
And even then, we’re not quite done, because we have even longer socks! Simply (and aptly) called “Super Longs,” these beauties are a towering 100 inches, for the lover of length who just can’t get enough sock! These essentially demand to be scrunched!
Super Longs – 100 inches of sock per leg!
Now, you dreamers who have been around the
block sock a few times might be wondering about the Great Whites, and if so, you’re right to wonder! They are in fact twice as long as our Super Longs, but they’re currently out of stock, and they’re just so long that they’re going to need a bigger blog…
Back in 2011 we wrote a Sock Journal on darning socks, which has turned out to be one of our most popular Sock Journals of all time. Since socks get so much traffic from being in your shoes all day, they tend to get holes more often than other items of clothing. You can fix these nicely with the darning tutorial we made.
Now darning is pretty great and looks neat and tidy, but sometimes it can be a bit fiddly. For those of us with little patience to spare, throwing the socks away gets more attractive by the minute. But if you’re patching a high-traffic area, like a toe or a heel, it doesn’t need to be pretty, it just needs to be sturdy.
If you were to look at wool fibers under a microscope, you’d see that each strand has little barbs running the length of it. When wool is exposed to heat and moisture, these little barbs cling to each other, thus creating felted wool. Needle felting is the process of repeatedly stabbing wool with a special needle, instead of applying water and heat. The resulting fabric is tough and perfect for patching a bare area on your best wool socks. If you’ve never needle felted in your life, don’t worry—it’s simpler than it seems!
What you’ll need:
• A 2 inch Styrofoam ball •
• A scrap of fabric (optional) •
• A felting needle (or two!) •
• Matching wool •
• A damaged wool sock •
First, wrap the scrap fabric around the Styrofoam ball to make a felting egg. You don’t have to use the scrap fabric, but it prevents you from having to pick little bits of Styrofoam out of your socks before you can wear them again. Our next move is to insert the egg into the sock right where it needs fixing. You’ll notice that in our darning tutorial, the sock is turned inside out. You can totally do that here, but I have elected to felt on the outside so the shoe rubs on the felt itself rather than the sock.
Lay a bit of wool over top, keeping in mind you can always add more if you find it’s not enough. Begin rapidly poking around the edges of the wool with your felting needle, being careful to keep your fingers away from where you are working. Don’t jam the needle all the way in, or you won’t be able to remove the egg easily; keep your needle stabs nice and shallow, just barely entering the egg. You’ll notice the wool starting to tighten up a bit and join to the sock. Once you’re confident the edges are nice and felted, start working towards the center in a spiral.
Here’s where your personal judgement comes into play. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s felted enough or not. Go ahead and pop your felting egg out of the sock and check it. Do the fibers pull apart if you stretch the heel? Do the edges come away from the sock? If yes, pop the egg back in and keep felting and checking. If it looks and feels nice and sturdy, you’re good to go! The final test, though, is to try on your sock and see how you like it. Go ahead, admire your hard work and ingenuity. You’ve earned it!
As you’re finishing up (or, like some of us, just starting) your holiday shopping, we wanted to pull attention to one of our favorite sections: kids socks! While shopping for children can be the best part of the holidays (there are so many adorable options out there!), it can be hard to decide which styles will work best for the particular kid on your list. First we recommend that you check out our handy guide to navigating baby and kid–sized socks. Once you know which sizes you’re shopping for, we’ve got a lot of fun style suggestions below, no matter what personality you’re gifting to!
Whether they’re traversing a medieval land or conquering a jungle gym, these socks should help inject some extra excitement into the day of your resident explorer.
Dreamy, creative youngsters can be found curled up with a good book, or practicing for a recital, and we’ve got some great socks to give them a little extra inspiration.
Some kids just want to snuggle on the couch, especially as the weather gets cold, and these are some great options for a lazy day at home with your favorite cuddle-bug.
For those that are always fascinated by the universe around them, we’ve got some awesome offerings to keep them questioning and curious, even it’s too cold to be conducting research outside.
The Newest Arrival
Of course, some of the little ones in our lives are simply so new that we’re still just getting to know them—and for these littlest feet, we have some great offerings.
Speaking of new, we’re expecting some exciting new additions to our stock family soon, to match the adult Star Wars socks recently released by Stance. No official date yet, but keep an eye on our New page and all our usual social media, and you’ll be the first to know when these socks blast in from a galaxy far, far away.
If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the youngsters on your list, you can check out our full selection of kid and baby socks here on our website (with some extensive sizing guidelines at the bottom of the page—just click “read more”). And if you’re local to Portland, OR, be sure to check out our shop—they always carry a great variety of kid socks, many of which we never get on the website.
And of course, the young-at-heart may want to check out our Novelty Socks selection—little feet aren’t the only ones who can enjoy fun, quirky, adorable socks!
Sock Dreams has been shipping cozy, soft goodness nationwide and overseas for over 15 years, but the warmest moments have been grounded in the pleasure of providing that goodness to our local community. We firmly believe that something beautiful happens when people come together to strengthen the community in solidarity. Today, we’re sharing some of the local organizations we’ve had the joy of combining efforts with this year. We reserve a deep respect for their initiative and dedication, which is key to building solid relationships within our neighborhood. When giving back this season, please keep these and other non-profits in your area in mind.
Bicycle Transportation Alliance:
Proudly promoting bicycling safety education since 1990, this group works to improve bicycling conditions in Portland. Their work includes sharing information on the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, providing resources for free legal clinics and lobbying to ensure bicycling remains convenient and accessible in our neighborhoods. We’re proud to be a business member and (just in case you were considering joining the movement, yourself) offer a special in-store promotional offer to members.
An online charity to provide materials for prospective projects posted by public school teachers, Donors Choose is one of the easiest ways to give back to youth in your area. Sock Dreams has been proud to sponsor several projects listed by teachers in the Portland area. Below we have a few photos courtesy of Mr. Bund & Mrs. York of their classes enjoying the materials purchased!
Potluck in the Park:
Volunteers have been serving free, hot meals in downtown Portland every Sunday since 1991, using food donations gathered on a weekly basis. On Christmas Day, a full turkey dinner is served to over 1,000 people including music provided by local musicians, complimentary stockings, a visit from Santa, and cellphones that are provided for a free call to family and friends. The selfless contributions these volunteers make are the very reason we were happy to send out 500 pairs of socks this year to help them spread the giving spirit.
In addition to operating the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country, OMSI is one of the top science centers in the nation. They’ve been providing community outreach programs that bring education opportunities to schools in every Oregon county, which is just one of the many reasons we love their dedication to the field.
The largest anti-sexual violence organization in the nation has successfully created and operated two hotlines for providing survivors of abuse free, confidential services. Recovery information as well as sexual violence prevention education are provided through upfront commentary within colleges, local communities, and various media outlets. These endeavors are in addition to their numerous campaigns launched in effort to improve public policy. We’re proud to say that, through the end of the year, we will be donating a portion of our proceeds from our Whoopi Socks line to RAINN.
A local publication that delivers in-depth news on social and economical justice issues, Street Roots creates job opportunities for those experiencing homelessness and poverty. In addition to publishing a newspaper produced and distributed by these vendors all over Portland, they also produce resource guides and offer advocacy efforts for those facing homelessness and poverty. It was an honor to send 500 pairs of socks to this group in a small attempt to show their vendors how much we appreciate their hard work.
This organization is a support network for women of all ages, battling all kinds of cancers. This network is spread nationwide via Pretty Packages, which are sent out to cheer up women fighting cancer and include beauty products, scarves, a journal, and other feelgood items. Initially, we designed and donated the Fighting Pretty Striped Crews for their packages; however, we liked them so much we started carrying them online and contribute 20% of their sales to Fighting Pretty.
Sock Dreams holds these and other programs like them in high regard for identifying needs within our community and taking the initiative to keep our city healthy and thriving. For even more nonprofit inspiration, please see our Giving Back page where we list numerous other organizations we’ve worked with over the years. Our products keep our toes warm and our faces smiling and it means a lot to us to pass those smiles along to others. As family and friends come together this season, we hope you spread the giving spirit in your own way.