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Shamrocks and their luck are traditional symbols for St. Patrick’s day and their bonny green is associated with the holiday as well.
There’s a lot of history behind what colour you wear on St. Patrick’s day. Some folks wear orange, a colour you also see on Ireland’s flag. We offer a lot of oranges, from rusty shades to crayon brights.
But did you know that St. Patrick and Ireland used to be symbolised by hues of blue? From the sky tints of history to the richer shades used today, “St. Patrick’s blue” is still found in modern symbols.
So many colours to pick from! But no matter what you choose, have a happy St. Patrick’s day!
It’s March and that means National Craft Month! We’ve given you lots of DIY options for rejuvenating socks that aren’t good for being socks any more, but what about nylon socks and stockings?
Nylon styles can be thin and anybody who regularly wears classic stockings has experienced a ruining snag. With socks you can darn holes or cut ‘em to make arm warmers, or use them as the base of fun crafts. There’s a lot more material involved in a sock than there is in a stocking. Sure, thicker and opaque styles you can turn into arm warmers (like at the end of this DIY post), but what about those classically styled, sheer “nylons”? Dreamer Zaf gave some good tips for dealing with holes recently on the Tumblr, but what about when there’s just no saving them?
Well, conveniently I collect household hint books, and even more conveniently, I’ve got one from the 1960s (reprinted in the 1970s), back when nylon stockings were a staple. Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints is pretty much my favourite household hint resource and between this old version and later versions (she’s even on the web, now!), there are lots of ways to get some last use out of snagged nylons. They’re not that craft-oriented, but they are crafty (as in sneaky and smart!). For all of these tips, use clean nylons and cut off any lace tops (especially if they have silicone grip strips inside).
Lotsa tips after the jump!
Sometimes, even if you’re careful about checking the Sizing Tips of a style, the fit isn’t exactly right. You need a little less room in the foot or a little more stretch in the calf.
If you’re a knitter, you’re probably familiar with the ways to get a little more stretch out of a sock. High percentage cotton and wool knits can be manipulated when wet (“blocking”), sneaking out a little more room or tightening up the fibers for a snugger fit. You can’t change the stretch or size of a sock dramatically with blocking, but you can add (or remove) a little extra for a more custom fit.
Whether you’re looking to add some more stretch in the body of the sock or shrink the foot a little, you’ll need a small towel, hot water (Be safe! Wear rubber gloves if you need to and keep the water about the temperature of a hot bath) and a place you can splash a little. And of course you’ll need the socks you’ll be working on. I’ll be showing you the process using O Basics.
If you’re looking to stretch the body of the sock, you’ll also need something to stretch around. Coffee cans are pretty perfect for this, but anything sturdy and round can work. Use a measuring tape and find something that’s just a bit wider around than the sock can stretch now. Or you can go around putting the sock on things to see what just barely fits. That is more fun.
Right now there is a lot of variance in the calf stretch of O Basics, so sneaking a little more stretch out of this style is pretty useful. Wet the area you’ll be working on by dunking the body of the sock into your water. Get it thoroughly wet, somewhere between dripping and just damp. I’m mostly concerned with the calf area, so that’s the only part I’m getting wet.
Now gently but firmly stretch the sock over whatever you’ve picked to stretch it over.
Now you just wait a couple of hours (or longer, depending on how humid where you live is). Once your sock is dry, slide it off and check it out.
Before stretching the body of these O Basics stretched to just barely 16 inches. On the can they were stretched to about 16 and a half inches. Now they stretch to 17 inches! How much you can get out of wet stretching depends on the fiber blend, the colour of the sock (some colours just have no stretch, it’s crazy!), a lot of little variables. But you can almost always get a half inch more. Keep in mind that you’ve reduced the elasticity a bit, so your stretched-out sock may not stay up as well as an un-stretched sock.
Shrinking the Foot
This process is more of a try and try again sort of procedure. You’ll notice that for high cotton content styles like the O Basics we recommend that you “Machine or hand wash in cold to cool water, tumble dry low or hang dry.” If you’ve ever had a pair of high cotton or wool content socks sneak into with a load of bathtowels you know why—they shrink in the heat!
Unlike some of the other DreaM Stockings (like any of the striped “knees” styles), the O Basics have a smaller foot, which we recommend for “Women’s shoe size 5-10, maybe even bigger.” But it’s loose on a size 5, so let’s see if we can make them work better. They’re starting off at about 6.5 inches from toe to heel, unstretched (my measuring was a little more accurate than this picture!).
WARNING: doing this is going to shrink the body of the sock a little too, so if you don’t want to lose any calf stretch, you might be better off using this awesome sewing method we linked to on Pinterest from Little Porcelain Princess.
The first step is just getting the foot thoroughly wet in hot water. Just get the foot wet (and the ankle, if it’s too baggy on you), unless you’re trying to shrink the whole sock.
Now throw it in the dryer on medium, with towels or some other bulky stuff. If you can (although it’s a waste of energy and quarters), dry them with things that aren’t wet or damp, so the body of the sock doesn’t get wet and shrink as much as the foot. As the sock dries the fibers contract. Now the foot is about 6 inches unstretched! Not a huge difference, but it can mean a lot to little toes. We did try getting the foot wet and letting it air dry AND getting the foot wet and putting it in front of a hot air heater, but they didn’t create any noticeable shrinking.
Remember, wet stretching doesn’t totally transform the fit of a sock, it just helps you get that extra perfect fit. Read those Sizing Tips and remember you can always drop us a line for more in-depth sizing info.
I know a lot of folks born in February. In fact, I think three (!) Dreamers have had birthdays already this month. February’s symbols aren’t hearts, cupids and lace though, they’re the very stately and fabulous Amethyst, Viola and Aquarius.
Amethyst is a super fascinating stone, used for protection in battle, as a ward against drunkenness and for intaglio carving, its soft purple hue lends a calm beauty to goblets, amulets and jewellery. Found in a range of purple (one of the definitions of Amethyst is “purple” qualified by “any purple”), some of amethyst’s more common shades are rose, mauve and lavender.
The most valuable amethyst, however, is deep purple, with tinges of violet. I think what we and our suppliers tend to call “plum” is a good match.
Because people have always loved to coordinate, violets (more properly, “violas”) are February’s flower. Tiny and purple with a distinctive five-petal shape; their larger, hybrid form is called a “pansy.”
February’s dominant constellation is Aquarius, the water bearer. Symbolised by layered waves, it’s also part of a song title I bet you’re trying not to get stuck in your head. I think Nouvella’s Space Ocean colourway is kind of a perfect match—and the wee baby sock version way more fun (and cozy!) for little folks born this month than rocks and flowers.
So far February hasn’t tricked me with a sneaky nice day that pretends spring is around the corner, but we’re only about at the halfway mark of this short little month. There is plenty of time for one surprisingly warm day to make me think I don’t have to work so hard to stay cozy.
Hearts, red, pink, candy and kisses are all common Valentine’s day themes. We’ve got a category full of sweet styles for your sweetie (luckily socks won’t give you a toothache) and we’ve already seen some super thoughtful sock gifts pass though our hands. We’ve offered a couple different takes and styles on the holiday here on the Sock Journal over the years and our site’s theme is even in the mood for love.
This year, we’ve got a Valentine’s gift for you. No, not a sale or a code, but something much sillier. May I present four covers for (pretend) romance novels featuring our favourite stars, socks! If any style tugs at your heart strings, I’ve given the names links straight to the colour shown.
Her love held him, but would their fibers keep them apart?
Shirley was a gorgeous cotton sock and heiress to a fortune. When she finally meets Michael, the one sock who seems to love her for more than her money, Shirley knows in her deepest heart that he’s too good to be true. When he turns out to be a wool blend she works even harder to bind him with love, hoping he’ll stay and that their different washing techniques won’t keep them apart. But will Shirley go too far and actually felt his cashmere-blended heart?
A baby can test your patience, but can it test your love?
Bea and her baby Dottie give Sabina the family she always wanted. Sabina has never hesitated about jumping into a situation with both feet, but she’s also never jumped into something quite like this. Is sharing the duties of mother too much for the Bea and Sabina’s growing love?
Branded “L” for Love
A sheriff bootsock romance.
Sheriff Gregorio was never easily swayed by a steady life or a pretty sock, until he met April. The flirty knee high was as sweet as could be, but it was her streak of bull-headedness that roped him in. When he finds out that April has been running her family’s ranch by herself, Sheriff Gregorio pitches in and finds that he and his trusty steed might be ready to settle down.
Tides of Desire
They never expected to be swept away . . . by love.
The beach cottage was playboy Greyson’s getaway, a place to escape to. Just like he’d escape to the arms of whoever he could find, leaving both love and cottage when the city called him. This time he chose Franco and, as the sun-warmed days wore on, Greyson began to doubt he could leave his soft embrace—but could Franco fit in with Greyson’s city life?
I am not ashamed to admit I maybe spent a lot of time thinking of the stories for these. I mean, I love socks, why couldn’t they love each other?
Have a lovely Valentine’s day and remember to treat yourself too! Because, if I can paraphrase one of my favourite quotes, “if you can’t love yourself, how are you gonna love someone else?”