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Where Does Inspiration Come From? We Asked Design-a-Sock Entrants!

One of the coolest things about Design-a-Sock Contest is the incredible variety of designs we get. They come from all over the world (84 countries and counting so far this year)! They come from people with vastly different life experiences and perspectives. And, of course, everyone has their own idea about what should go on the perfect sock.

We like to think about Design-a-Sock Contest as more than just a contest: it’s a global conversation about design. And this year, with less than a week to go to enter, we’re going to do something we’ve never done before. We’re going to show you some of the designs we’ve already received to give you a better idea of what people are saying.

We got in touch with five different people who sent us designs this year. Here are their designs, and here’s what they told us!

Carlee Shirts

What do you want the world to know about your sock design? 

Turtley Awesome by Carlee Shirts

The idea came from my pet tortoise, Alfie. He has a heart print on one of his shell plates and was a gift from my hubby for our 17th Wedding Anniversary, so we just had to name him after the tortoise in the love story Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.

Where does your inspiration come from? Who or what inspires you?

My kids, hubby, fellow roller derby girls with the Idaho Rebel Rollers, nature, the unique talents and creations of other artists.

What do you enjoy most about being creative? 

Seeing my ideas come to life.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world? 

You have amazing gifts to share with the world! Take the leap! You have no idea how many people you can influence, affect, inspire, and make feel a part of something by sharing who you are.

Sarah Hussein

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

While designing the socks I kept thinking about how to spread joy and happiness to people who might be interested in wearing it. I wanted to send a confident message to people who feel different and prefer to make special choices.

Who or what inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from?

Dogs and Bones by Sarah Hussein

My inspiration comes from many sources such as nature, animals, plants, and modern art. I am a painter who keep an eye out for very specific details. I am training my eyes to be better though through processes like meditation, reading art books, and taking my camera and my sketchbook with me everywhere.

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

The most interesting thing about the creative process is that I’m making a reflection of my own self through painting, designing, photography. I feel good when I express myself through these artistic media. I love challenging myself on every single piece I’m working on. I love telling myself that every piece must be my masterpiece. Art refreshes my soul.

Under the Sea by Sarah Hussein

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

I try to inspire people through my work by making the audience feel my soul through my art. I would like them to feel something different, something that hugs their hearts softly, something they may know or not but definitely would touch them.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world? What do you think would help make people feel more included?

Absolutely all creative people have the same issue. All designers feel shy. Even the famous and great artists get nervous. They can’t help thinking of others’ judgements. So my advice is to share your art with the world because without sharing you will never get anywhere. Just do it, share your art, share your soul.

Carla Puebla

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

When it comes to sock designs, most people think about famous paintings or food or animal patterns, but science and biology can be fascinating too. White blood cells (Leucocytes) are quite interesting since there are many different types and they have multiple functions. I thought about adding some red blood cells (Erythrocytes), but it’d draw attention from the lesser-known leucocytes. But mainly, what I want to show is that people who take an interest in these specific subjects are not alone. Science and our own cells can be beautiful too, in their own unique way. 

Where does your inspiration come from? Who or what inspires you?

I’m currently studying Medicine, and I was inspired by a Histology class I attended. It opened a whole new world of creative possibilities, since you can use different stains to highlight different aspects of a cell. For example, if you were to stain the cells with Hematoxylin and Eosin, leucocytes would be pink without much contrast. Which is very different than what you would get if you used the Romanowsky stain. The actual design is based on a May Grumwald Giemsa stain from a peripheral blood smear.

Mi-Toe-Sis by Carla Puebla

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

I’d say that the best part about being creative is the freedom that it implies. In the case of sock designs, instead of looking for something similar to what I would like, I myself am actually doing it. In that way, I don’t really have to wait until someone does it. 

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

I think looking at peoples’ ideas can be inspiring. I would have never thought about designing a pattern with cells if I hadn’t seen the cell slides paintings. So, it’s just a matter of recognizing potential among the normal objects that we see daily.

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

 I’d say to not be afraid to show it to others. Sure, some people might say that they don’t particularly enjoy your art, but it is not a tailored-made creation for someone. People have different styles and that’s where the beauty of art resides: in diversity. There will always be someone that supports you. At least there is a mathematical certainty about this. But even if at first it doesn’t succeed, sharing your art enables you to improve based on constructive criticism. 

What do you think would help make people feel more included?

I think that people would feel more included if we accepted that there are different points of view and perspectives on art, and there is not a “correct” way to do it. If we were shown different styles, it would encourage those with unusual techniques or ideas to share their creations and continue the cycle.

Michelle Dooley

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

As to specific socks:

I thought a menacing plant would look interesting on a sock. What was the name of that movie about the plant that ate people? The Little Sock of Horrors – no, that wasn’t it – well, it is now!

Feeling so tired today. I have to work my way through this thick pile of research about comets for a column I’m writing. Also want to think about some sock ideas. So much to do. Need a little pep in my step. Time to hit the coffee ‘cause I’m practically – Comet toes!

Reachable Stars by Michelle Dooley

My tights have had a few “ladders” over the years. I thought a ladder would look interesting on a sock, but where would the ladder go? I played with a lot of possibilities, then suddenly though of an old song about chasing the “Impossible Dream.” It’s good to aim high, but why shouldn’t some goals be accessible – let’s celebrate “Reachable Stars.”

Who or what inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from?

Over the years, I’ve had a few different careers: doing shopping mall market research (“Excuse me, ma’am, could I ask you a few questions about the deodorant you are wearing today?”); writing technical reports about photocopiers and facsimile units (What can I find to say that’s interesting about different toner colours and print capacities?); developing product ideas for The Franklin Mint (purveyors of fine collector plates, Jackie Kennedy dolls, and other dustables); and, most recently, teaching World Cultures as an adjunct at a local university (an increasingly challenging job).

How did I get here?

Little Sock of Horrors by Michelle Dooley

Growing up, I went to eight schools in four countries (my father was an international business executive). At each new school, I watched the other kids, then tried to be like them, to meld into the new group, and “belong.” It took many years to realize that wasn’t necessary.

Eventually, I figured out that each person has an individual tale to tell. Each story is unique. That’s what makes it interesting. Tell your own story!

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

What is my superpower? I wear thick glasses. It gives me a different perspective on the world: when I mis-read a word or an object, and realize my mistake, it can turn into a new idea. I also can’t draw very well and I’m not that good with technology. I struggled with that for a long time before suddenly being inspired to cut simple designs out of coloured paper. My biggest challenge has been to find a way to get what’s in my head, out where people can see it.

Comet Toes by Michelle Dooley

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Look for the funny side of your particular predicament: you will feel better and so will everyone else around you – and they’ll probably then share a similar experience they’ve had, which will bring you together.

Not every idea is a good one. That’s why it’s good to have a lot of them. Where do ideas come from? Everywhere! Talk to people. Read stuff. Look at stuff. Learn stuff. Remember stuff. Always be curious about everything. The more ideas you have in your head, the more likely your mind is to make interesting connections.

Haley Tebo

What do you want the world to know about your sock design?

It sort of depends on which design specifically, but in general they were made with love and passion by a young graphic designer!

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Sweet Treats by Haley Tebo

After researching the Sock it to Me catalog and competitive market, I created some unique designs inspired by the Sock it to Me aesthetic. Your bold and creative designs inspired me to be experimental and unafraid in my own designs, from a fish riding a bike to wildly silly geometric turtles.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by people and works that make me feel something. Awe, motivation, and inspiration, yes, but also things that are relatable to the human experience. I aspire to be an excellent storyteller and visual problem solver, so Rebecca Sugar is one of the people that I look up to. Her show Steven Universe has inspired me because of its success in world-building and evoking emotion through art, music, and cinematography. The Steven Universe movie just premiered and I think that many viewers can find something to relate to that makes the viewing experience special and personal. It’s something that I would be ecstatically proud to be part of someday. Given that many “Cool Girls” that are part of the Sock it to Me community also advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and body positivity, I think that we can all appreciate the strides that Rebecca has made to address these in her work.

Carp-e Diem by Haley Tebo

What do you enjoy most about being creative?

I enjoy the processes of critical thinking and creative storytelling in graphic design. I am so grateful to have found my passion in this creative field that allows for a wide variety of collaborators, media, and opportunities.

How can you inspire creativity in other people?

Creativity can be found in more than just art. It can take the form of resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and unique experiences. Wherever it’s found or however you express it, there really is no way to fail at being creative.

Bark Print by Haley Tebo

What would your message be to someone who enjoys being creative but is nervous about sharing their art with the world?

I encourage individuals to explore their own path to confidence and creativity. For example, my sister does studio art, is her own boss, and creates as inspiration comes. I, however, was timidly creative until I found graphic design because it allows me to handle decision making with guidelines and research to support my creative process. Find your own passion and comfort zones and you will find a community you enjoy sharing with!

New Flair for Your Feet: Fall 2019 Sock Styles

Catching Up with Previous Design-a-Sock Contest Winners

Design-a-Sock Contest 2019 kicks off on September 3rd. Maybe you’re considering entering? Maybe half of you wants to enter, while the other half isn’t so sure? We get it. It’s normal to feel some degree of self-doubt. It comes with the territory when you’re thinking about sending your art out to be evaluated.

We want to introduce you to four people. They’re people just like you. They came up with a great idea for a sock, ignored self-doubt and bravely submitted their designs. And now they shall forever be known as… Design-a-Sock Contest Winners!

We recently caught up with these sock-designing dynamos to tell us about their experience–and asked if they have any pointers for anyone thinking about entering this year.

Alina Chetcuti
Breah Morgan
Grant Thackray
Katie Bryant

Continue reading Catching Up with Previous Design-a-Sock Contest Winners

Raise the Woof: Dog Socks and the Ultimate Doggy Dance Party

Have you been to a doggy dance party? As a human, it can be difficult to score an invitation to one of these soirees, but that didn’t stop me. I had to–it was imperative to my research for a new type of dog sock we were designing. When I heard the cool dogs were getting together to grill some hotdogs, I knew this was my chance. To infiltrate the doggy dance party, I would have to disguise myself as a friendly mastiff.

The first hour was dogs milling about, introducing themselves to other dogs, sniffing around. The croquet set was out, but nobody seemed interested in playing. A retriever and some friends were gnawing on the mallets. There was even a cat, telling anyone who would listen, “Actually, my owner says I’m more like a dog.”

Hey, Mr. DJ, put a record on

Soon, it grew dark. The DJ, a Boston Terrier, put on some music. The dogs made their way to the dancefloor. This was their playlist:

Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men – Doggy dance parties always begin with the official dancing doggy anthem. This ecstatic ode to freedom–something the dogs don’t get to experience very often–gets tails shaking and paws waving in the air like they just don’t care.

Walk (the Dinosaur)” – Was (Not Was) – Modern dogs have no concept of dinosaurs. And since “dinosaur” and “dog” begin with the same letter, they assume this song is about walking a dog. You can’t blame them for thinking this is a song about dogs. After all, what other animal would you sing about walking? Not a frog or a hamster. Certainly not a cat. 

Sure Shot” – Beastie Boys – One of the dogs at the party said he was friends with the dog who recorded the “Rawr rawr rawr” in the intro of this song. From that point on, he was able to live off royalties for the rest of his days. He purchased a tract of doghouses for his entire extended dog family and put his grandpuppies through obedience school. That was one lucky dog.

I will always love yOOOOuuooooouuuuuuOOOUUooo

I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston – The dogs enjoy howling along to the chorus of Dolly’s/Whitney’s iconic ballad. It was quite a cacophony. This song epitomizes how dogs feel toward their masters.

Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men – The pace slowed for the last song, but the dogs know how to pick it right up. This time, they did a conga line. I got the sense that the dogs knew the answer to the eternal question–who let them out?–but when I asked a pitbull about it she just growled. I did not press the issue, thinking my ignorance would expose me as the outsider I am.

Roll Over Beethoven” – Chuck Berry – One weird fact you learn at a doggy dance party: every dog ever has seen the movie Beethoven. Have you? Even if you haven’t, your dog has–either at the shelter before you adopted them, or perhaps one afternoon on TV while you were out running errands. The song is about piano’s usage in early rock n’ roll compared to its traditional role as a classical instrument. The dogs don’t enjoy it on that level. They like it because it reminds them of the hilarious montage in the movie where Beethoven makes a mess.

The Cat: CAUGHT!

The Love Cats” – The Cure – I glanced over at the DJ station, but the Boston Terrier was gone. The cat had taken its place. I guess this is the song he ended up choosing.

Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men – Dogs do not like The Cure. I guess they like their rock less angsty. Anyway, they chased away the cat and then suddenly this song was playing. Again. Every time it comes on they get really excited. I don’t know how much more I can take.

I Wanna Be Your Dog” – The Stooges – To a dog, this is a very real and normal exploration of the emotions experienced when your master comes home from a long day at the office. “So messed up, I want you here / In my room, I want you here / Now we’re gonna be face-to-face / And I’ll lay right down in my favorite place / And now I want to be your dog.” As usual, they don’t want to consider that a song could be a metaphor for something else.

I Know You Want Me” – Pitbull – Do the dogs attending this party know that Mr. 305 isn’t an actual dog? Pitbull himself has struggled with his doggy-ness at times.

Woof Woof” – Dan Deacon – The pizza arrived and the dogs lost interest in dancing. Then this song came on and the energy was up again. All of the dogs returned to the floor for one last hurrah. I had no idea dogs listened to experimental electronic music, but everything about tonight has been eye-opening.

Dog Days are Over” – Florence and the Machine – It’s 3 AM. The evening is drawing to a close. Amazingly, none of the dogs have left, but as the song comes to an end they gather around the large gate to exit the backyard.

Who Let the Dogs Out?” – Baha Men – They stand at the gate waiting for one last thing. Of course. This song. How else could a doggy dance party possibly end? The gate is thrown open–just like in the music video. All of the dogs speed out of there. This is what they’ve been waiting for. Lights in houses all over the neighborhood turn on as they run around making a horrific barking racket. 

I didn’t see who opened the gate and released them–who? Who? Who? Who? I suppose it doesn’t matter. In a few hours, the dogs will all have snuck back into their homes and the masters will be none the wiser. That’s the way a doggy dance party goes. 

Raise the Woof: this is what a real doggy dance party looks like!

If you feel like throwing your own doggy dance party–or a doggy-themed dance party for humans–please feel free to use this playlist. Just make sure your guests know that it’s 100% authentic.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with socks. Well, remember what I said about the research? Of course we made a pair of doggy crew socks inspired by my experiences

So, if you’re ever looking for the perfect pair to wear to a doggy dance party, or if you’re looking for a pair to help you deal with the disappointment that the invitation may never come, try these on for size: Raise the Woof!

6 Awesome Astronauts You Need to Know

Astronauts are by definition exceptional people. To even be considered you must be extremely intelligent; ideally, you’d come from a background of engineering or aeronautics or have expertise in a specific scientific niche. At the same time, your body must be in peak physical condition to withstand the rigors of the zero gravity environment. And, oh yeah, you also need to be pretty brave to agree to strap yourself inside a rocket filled with thousands of pounds of the most combustible fuel on earth.

Since the days of Mercury and Gemini, this is how we’ve always thought of astronauts: incredibly smart, athletic, highly competent. You may have heard of some of their names and spacefaring exploits, but very little about the actual people underneath the spacesuits. Fortunately, that’s changing now for two reasons. One: since the advent of social media, more and more astronauts have created accounts and made themselves available to the public. And two: we’re beginning to enter an age where space travel is entering the mainstream. New agencies and businesses are springing up with ambitious new exploration goals and dreams of bringing spaceflight to the masses. 

Astronauts are exceptional people, but for the first time ever we can see them as real people–everyday people. And here at Sock It to Me, since we’re endlessly fascinated by anything having to do with outer space (and our outer space socks are pretty sweet, too), we thought it would be fun to come up with a list of seven astronauts you should really know about.

Buzz Aldrin, 1969.

Buzz Aldrin – You’re undoubtedly already familiar with this O.G. astronaut. He was, after all, the second person to walk on the moon–one of only twelve to ever do so, one of just four of those still alive today. But did you know that Aldrin, 89, is very active on social media? His Instagram and Twitter accounts are both a great source of vintage photos, space news, and glimpses into his colorful personality. Speaking of colorful, we found this photo of Buzz wearing flashy socks, and now we feel like we have a special bond with him. Wouldn’t you love to see him in a pair of One Giant Leap?

One of Scott Kelly’s signature space selfies.

Scott Kelly – Maybe you already know Scott Kelly. It wouldn’t be a surprise as he has almost 7 million combined followers between Twitter and Instagram. He’s absolutely worth mentioning because he’s such an incredible resource for anyone interested in outer space, NASA, or really, anything related to science. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter to see the majestic photos of earth that made him famous, and also for his dry wit. An outspoken advocate of wearing socks inside the International Space Station, you can read his yucky explanation why here. Kelly has a twin brother, Mark, also an astronaut. A few years ago while Scott was in space and Mark was on earth, they were the subjects of a study that examined the long-term impacts of a zero gravity environment on the human body.

“Live long and prosper.” – Spock via Samantha Cristoforelli

Samantha Cristoforetti – Before Cristoforetti became an astronaut, she was an ace fighter pilot and captain in the Italian Air Force. Her first mission to space was November 2014 through June 2015, which broke records for longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European (a record that stands today) and by a woman (this record was broken in 2017). Sci-fi fans love Cristoforetti because she drops subtle references into her photos. She’s been known to do this with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and when Leonard Nimoy passed away in 2015 she donned a Starfleet pin and did the Vulcan salute for a photo in the International Space Station. She’s also the second ever person who attended Space Camp as a kid and then went on to become a real astronaut as a grownup. For her fun nerdy tendencies and to keep track of her explorations in space and to the depths of our oceans, we recommend giving Cristoforetti a follow on Twitter!

Christina Koch working on something that looks incredibly complicated.

Christina Koch – Christina Koch launched into space for the first time on March 14, 2019. She’s scheduled to return to earth in February 2020, which will be 335 days in space–long enough to set a new record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a woman. Christina is a great follow on Twitter and Instagram because she’s up there right now. She posts photos and videos almost every day, giving you a great sense of what daily life is actually like for an astronaut on the International Space Station.

“Annimal” Anne McClain suited up and ready to spacewalk!

Anne McClainMaybe you remember earlier this year: there was a controversy when NASA had to cancel the first-ever all female spacewalk because they only had one smaller sized spacesuit. Anne McClain was that astronaut who had to cede her spot on the spacewalk to a man. While Anne did end up getting to go on a spacewalk later on in the mission, it would have been cool to see her break that barrier. Still, there’s lots you should know about what an amazing person she is. She’s an Iraq veteran who graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point. She’s a pro-level rugby player who would have competed in the 2006 Rugby World Cup if not for her deployment. She’s logged more than 2,000 hours piloting combat helicopters under the callsign “Annimal.” In short, she’s a badass–pretty much as bad of an ass as you’ll ever find. She’s a talented photographer with a dreamy way of shooting clouds and a great follow on Twitter for her frequent slices of life in space (like Koch, she’s up there right now).

Someday, this might be how we travel to space. The center fuselage is the actual spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo. The surrounding quadjet, WhiteKnightTwo, is designed to carry SpaceShipTwo to a release altitude of ~50,000 feet.

Beth Moses – Try to imagine the absolute coolest combination of words you could possibly conjure up. Got it? You probably didn’t come up with anything as cool as Beth Moses’s actual job title: Chief Astronaut Instructor for Virgin Galactic. Moses began her career at NASA working on the International Space Station project, but unlike everyone else on this list, she’s primarily known for being a commercial astronaut. She has a Twitter where she occasionally posts interesting stuff, but the main reason we had to include her on this list is because if space travel is going to become viable for the public, she will have a big role in making it so. And if that’s the case, years from now we’ll look back and consider Beth Moses an important pioneer of modern space travel.

Now that you’ve met some of our favorite astronauts, be sure to check out some of our favorite space socks!