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This might be one of the easiest sock DIYs and I can’t believe that we haven’t shown you how to do this yet! You’ve probably encountered those little bean bag sort of packs that you can chill in the freezer or heat in the microwave. They’re fab because they drape so comfortably over whatever sore spot needs comfort. And they’re also a perfect sock craft, sewing optional! You really just need two things: socks and filler.
Sock-wise, all you need is a Crafty Bundle or a (clean!) old sock that lost its mate or got holey in the toes. We like styles that are little longer, especially if you want to make this a sewing-free project. If your sock is open on both ends, make a knot in one end, so you have a closed tube. If you want, you could also sew that end shut.
For filler, there are a lot of great options: uncooked rice, feed corn, buckwheat hulls, barley, oatmeal, beans! Rice and barley are the most common options. Keep in mind that their grainy smell increases when you heat up the pack, so if you prefer a less hot-cereal scent you might like to add dried herbs and flowers like lavender and rose petals or mint and rosemary. If you decide to add a scent, mix it in with the filler and let them hang out together in a closed container for a while, so the smell gets nicely infused and distributed.
Now, all you’ve got to do is fill the sock with the filler! You want to aim for half to three-quarters full, this leaves enough room for the filler to scootch around and drape comfortably. Sticking the sock in a large glass and cuffing it over the top makes the filling process easier. A funnel is useful too, but so is a heavy piece of paper folded in half to make a sort of slide. Whee!
The second and last (!) thing to do is close it up! Again, a knot works just fine, but you can sew it if you want. Cut off any excess sock.
To heat your pack up, microwave for a minute or two and keep an eye on it for safety’s sake. You might also want to stick a small glass of water in the microwave with the pack while you heat it, the moisture helps heat sink into your muscles and helps ensure nothing catches on fire.
All ready to relax! But, what do you do if you don’t have the leisure to sit still and let the pack do its work? Here’s where a long sock comes in handy. Slip your pack into a long sock and let it fall to about the middle. Then use that long fabric to tie the pack in place! This works particularly well for lower back stuff (tie it like a belt) and shoulders (tie like a sash).
Now you can relax on the go, all thanks to this quickie craft (and socks!).
We took our time bringing in compression socks, because we wanted to offer styles that worked well and were safe. Graduated compression styles have a scientifically designed snugger fit, tighter at the ankles and less as they go up the leg. The way these socks compress muscles, veins and arteries at the feet and ankles increases arterial pressure, encouraging more blood to return to the heart and not pool in the feet. That’s some straight up science!
Even though we love science, none of us are professional scientists (yet!), but luckily the compression brands we carry have plenty of them. Therafirm, Sockwell and CEP are all amazingly designed graduated compression brands, each of them designed for different lifestyle needs. Therafirm’s Preggers styles are graduated compression tights designed to energise and support the tired legs and feet associated with pregnancy. CEP is designed for sports, maximising performance and recovery after competition or working out. Sockwell has socks that maximise fun and health, with gorgeous designs and smartly built socks. Even Dahlgren and Injinji have compression styles with the same smart sports and lifestyle designing that defines their brands.
There’s a trick to putting compression socks on correctly, though. As you might have noticed, compression socks are tight and can be hard to put on. There’s a reason for that. Just yanking them on won’t distribute that smartly designed sock correctly and will prevent the sock from giving you the benefit of proper graduated compression. Plus, for styles with higher compression, it can be unhealthy, since they are designed to be worn with the fabric evenly distributed up the leg. CEP has a fun little video on YouTube showing the basics of putting on compression socks and Therafirm’s Preggers has some great tips on their website for donning compression styles.
This simple little trick just takes a minute or so extra but is worth every second. For folks who prefer a photo reference, we got you covered after the jump!
Folks say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and maybe that’s why it has two birthstones, Aquamarine and Bloodstone. The daffodil and Pisces round out the other symbols for March.
The aptly named “water of the sea” Aquamarine is turquoise beryl (its deeper green cousins are emeralds!). Now, we’ve got a lot of things that are turquoise, it’s a very popular colour (although, I will confess, it’s a real bear to colour correct!)
But March gets two birthstones! The second is Bloodstone, also known as Heliotrope, even though it is totally a different colour than the Heliotrope flower. Deep, dark green with flecks of red, it’s sort of the perfect counterpoint to the clear blues of Aquamarine. Green and red don’t appear together on socks very often, but I think we can capture the ideals of Bloodstone pretty easily.
I always forget that March’s flower, the Daffodil, is properly called the Narcissus. Frilly and yellow and already flowering in my yard, they’re harbingers of spring, reminding us that sun is around the corner. I was a little worried about picking styles to represent these flowers. Yellow, despite the recent popularity of mustard as a colour, isn’t a common shade of sock, but lo and behold I found a couple of shots where we used the Narcissus to bring out the best of lemony shades!
Properly following February’s Aquarius sign, March’s constellation is mostly Pisces, symbolised by two fish. And we’ve got two-by-two options for you, both straight up fish:
And more symbolic scales (maybe your feet are the fish!):
March marches on, bringing us the start of spring and sneak peeks of sunshine. Are you a March birthday? Do you pick Aquamarine or Bloodstone?
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!
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.