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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.
Harvest season has historically been a time of celebrating and enjoying all the hard work that went into planting and growing in the warmer months. A feast is traditional, and who doesn’t love a huge spread to share with family and friends? We Dreamers love to share, so we would like to invite you to our delicious harvest meal. Everyone is welcome at our table, so pull up a chair and fill your plate!
• Space Dyed OTKs – Grapes in Space •
A non-alcoholic option that’s always in style.
• Beer Socks •
A hearty favorite for adults! We have a couple lengths on tap to suit any palette.
• Vino Knee Highs •
For the adults with more sophisticated footwear tastes.
A note: While you can indulge in our socks and drive, we’d like to remind you that combining actual alcohol and driving is a bad idea. Please stay safe!
• Berber Fleece Slipper Socks •
as fluffy and creamy as your favorite mashed potatoes (with no lumps!), perfect as a “thank you” gift for all the people who bring warmth to your life!
• Olive Socks •
Olives are a favorite for all ages at the dinner table. We have a self-serve bar of different lengths and materials to choose from.
• Waffles Knee Highs •
Not just a sweet morning meal, you can dress these up savory as well.
• Thanksgiving Turkey Crews •
The part everyone has been waiting for! There’s no chance of overcooking or overseasoning this delightful bird. And because no actual turkeys (or other animals) were part of the creation of these cotton/nylon blend socks, these are also completely vegan. Go ahead, have seconds.
• Berry Cobbler Stripes •
Raspberry and blueberry stripes paired with crisp golden-brown, just like your grandma’s award-winning cobbler.
• Key Lime Stripes •
Here’s something a little more tropical! While limes aren’t what immediately comes to mind for a harvest feast, we’re sure these will be a hit for everyone who misses summer.
• Thanksgiving Pie Crews •
Feeling like pumpkin and fruit pie? You get both on one sock, with slices of cherry and pumpkin pies topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Thank you for joining us for dinner! We are thankful for our families, co-workers, and most of all our loyal customers. As the days get shorter and colder, we hope you will keep your hearts and your toes warm with the spirit of friendship and good socks.
What a wonderful day today was! As you know, I’ve been planning a Cat Birthday Party for weeks in honor of my sweet baby, Dale! I sent handmade invitations out to all of our closest friends and even made my very first fish cake.
Waking up with my kitty crew usually leads to hours of cuddling in bed, but I really tried to keep it short since we had so many things to do. Even though it was Dale’s special day, I tried to show all my angels equal amounts of affection. Soon after we enjoyed breakfast, that nice girl from across the street, Erin, came by to see the kitties. Their happy little meows were all the assurance I needed to know they were purrfectly pleased with her company! Erin was kind enough to join me on my daily walk around the neighborhood to look out for stray and lost cats, and she even helped me re-fasten weathered “Lost Cat” posters! Luckily, we did not find a single stray today because I’m not sure Dale would have been thrilled to share the spotlight at his party. Once we got back to my house, we groomed every cat so they’d each look their best. Harrison, especially, took quite the liking to Erin!
Once my babies were coiffed to perfection, I barely had time to dress myself. Plus, I always have the hardest time choosing what to wear. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between what my cats like best and what looks best. Currently, most of my cat-themed tights & leggings are free of the signature snags and runs my kitties usually produce, but it was still so hard to pick a pair!
As our guests began to arrive, I couldn’t help but become a little perturbed that most of them came alone! Clearly, they didn’t realize that we had expected them to bring their cat companions. However, I’m sure it soon became obvious once everyone noticed all the cat party favors, the scratch-post circles, and the crinkle tube city. Admittedly, I was kind of disappointed, but I can’t deny that I was positively delighted to see all my guests wore their very cat-best!
While they might’ve been a little embarrassed they left their feline friends behind, I’m sure their little babies thoroughly loved the treat bags we sent home for them! Don’t think that I wasn’t grateful for everyone in attendance, dear Diary; I was tickled pink to have them along and I could tell my furry ones were, as well. Dale was an extraordinary host and the other babies seemed to be supportive of his special occasion. I think everyone had a great time, actually!
I hope I inspire some of my friends to throw their cats a party, someday; I would just love to go to a party of cats! My little kitties and I are taking a line-dancing class later this week and I’m feline like it’s gonna be fun!
Until next time,
– The Cat Lady