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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!
Is anything quite the special kind of adorable that big socks/little socks makes? I think the snaps I took for an old Father’s day post are still probably my favourite because of that.
We don’t offer a whole lot of kid styles, because there are shops out there that specialise in those complicated little sizes. But, gosh darn it, if we encounter a new baby or kid sock that is an itty-bitty version of a grown up style, then it’s pretty hard to say no. The Tropical Trio Socks are a good example. They match the Mouthy Fish 3-D and the Mouthy Alligator 3-D socks!
And we know we’re not the only ones who feel that way. We can tell that it’s new baby season when we pull orders that have perfectly paired sets of socks for the whole family’s feet! So we’ve made a way to find what socks have options for feet both big and small! Just search “family”!
You’re going to see all sorts of socks, but any sock we’ve tagged “family” come in options for big and for little feet. If you can’t spot the matching pair right away, check the main copy, Sizing Tips or Additional Info for links (we try to fit them where is most logical for the style)! We’ve done our best to cross-link matching styles.
Luckily, several of these family-ready styles have the smaller sizes available from the size drop-down, most particularly Sock It To Me, like with their Unicorn Knee Highs.
Mostly though, the two different sizes live in separate entries to make things a little easier for the majority of folks browsing (we don’t want someone getting a kid size when they were trying for an adult size!). Some big & little styles are perfectly paired, like the Sweet Marcel styles.
Or the Owl vs. Mouse Midcalf!
Others are similar, but have some colourway differences, so you get more of a style match than a 100% perfect sock match.
And some styles just exist across a bunch of heights and shoe sizes, so you can get the whole family in on it! I think the most notable styles for this are the Sock It To Me super hero styles:
And our Harvest Rainbow styles:
There are a whole hecka lota options for matching across sizes, so play around with the Advanced Search to limit the results to what you need. For example, if you’re trying to match socks for littler feet to larger feet (say, up to a US men’s size 12), click “Larger Feet” under Category to bring up just the styles that come in those larger sizes.
In general be sure to check the Sizing Tips on each product page to make sure that a size will work for you and yours. We’ve also got a post with some tips and tricks about sizing those tricksy little toes for you too! If your searching skills are strong, you can use the tags explained in the baby & kids sizing post to augment your search within family socks. Just remember, if you’re using two tags and want both of them to count, put a big ol “AND” between them. But not all of us are that skilled, so here are some quick links. Since these searches are looking specifically for little foot socks, remember, look for the cross-link to bigger sizes in the copy:
Family socks with styles that fit infant (wee baby) feet
Family socks with styles that fit toddler feet
Family socks with styles that fit little kid (generally folks 5-8 years old) feet
Family socks with styles that fit big kid (generally folks 7-12 years old) feet
Special bonus! Family socks with a smaller style that can fit up to a US women’s 5 or 6
There are a lot of parent holidays coming up (with Mother’s day coming up May 10th!) so let’s get you and yours (or your friend’s families) marvellously matchy!!
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. 😉
It’s been a couple of years since we last looked at what all makes up our Eco Friendly section. Overall, a lot of the themes remain the same, but we now have more brands that are a go-to for eco-conscious fiber options and our robust Advanced Search helps you narrow down your eco-friendly field, so let’s refresh!
Several more brands are offering styles in organic cotton. Did you know Turkey is one of the largest producers of organic cotton? They’ve got a long and storied history with textiles and some of the nicest cotton blends we’ve encountered are made there. That’s where ToeSox gets their organic cotton and although Sweet Marcel’s organic blends are made in the USA, the rest of their cotton is from Turkey.
As great as organic is, recycling and reusing fiber that would have otherwise become waste can be even friendlier to the ecosystem! All those scraps and bits leftover from making clothes get processed and spun into fresh new yarn! Most of our Dream Stockings are made with a recycled cotton yarn and our Dreamer Socks use an 85% regenerated mix of cotton, acrylic and polyester. Both are beautiful blends that make good use (or re-use?!) of an eco-friendly resource.
More brands and styles are joining the recycled and regenerated fiber train too! It’s been fun seeing styles like B.Ella get in on the recycled cotton action. And, of course, brands that use our socks as a base, like Love Lite Precision Tie Dye have the privilege of being of recycled and regenerated fiber too!
Three brands profiled in the last eco-friendly post that are beautifully focused on offering great styles with smart fiber choices are Una, QT Feet and EG Smith’s ECO line. Their fiber and value choices ring as true and clear as ever!
Zkano is not only made in the USA with certified organic cotton, they have a fiber recycling program! We can vouch for how difficult it can be to find good fiber recycling options. Their strong beliefs and sweet styles make them a favourite of ours.
Sockwell and Goodhew are sister brands, so it’s difficult to speak of one without mentioning the other. Both brands are (like we say in their Additional Info) committed to products and yarns made in the USA and they focus on natural and renewable options to minimize their environmental footprint. You can see more at their “Why Goodhew” page under the “Good Practice” header (Sockwell’s version of the page adorably says “Well-Considered Practices”). One thing we really loved when we were first introduced to these brands—beyond their fabulous fit and good looks—was that they grow their sheep at home, so all the fibers in their socks are made in the USA!
Sock Dreams strives to make our impact on the environment as gentle as we can. From our polymailers made of 100% recycled material to the minimal packaging of our house brands, we’re always working to soften the blow. We even make sure that things like our plastic gift cards are made from recycled (and recyclable) ABS plastic (though the truly green option is an e-card).
So let’s celebrate earth day and find all those little ways we can be more conscious of how we affect the environment! ♥