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The great sock encyclopedia: Learn more about blind warps, yarn dyeing and more

The great sock encyclopedia

The encyclopedia explains the technical terms from the world of socks. Learn more about blind chains, mercerizing, toe socks, gauntlet socks and what imperial jewels are.

Blind linking

Normally stockings are closed with a normal chain seam. Here each stitch is individually pushed onto a needle bed in an end row. The result is a clean warp seam, which we all know from the stocking top. What is blind chaining? This is when the seam is not finished exactly according to the mesh. Most machine-made socks are knitted with a conventional chain stitch. Blind warping requires an extremely high concentration and endurance. If we had the "blind warp seam" knitted by human hand, all stockings would be far too expensive for people not to buy socks. That's why we rarely find blinkers in sock making in the 21st century.


The yarn for the socks is wound from the classic bobbin onto the cross-wound bobbins, from which stockings are knitted. The natural fiber yarn is much easier to process from the conical cross-wound bobbin. Why? The yarn running onto the cross-wound bobbin is guided through a narrow point in the form of an adjustable slot. This automatically separates thick yarn areas, small knots and impurities. Only the noblest material is processed in the thread, which can be thicker or thinner.


The hand-linked sock is considered particularly elitist. But what exactly does the linking mean? During linking, stitch by stitch is pushed open, creating a fine row of lugs at the tip of the sock. This chained lace is characterised by a hardly noticeable, but very filigree and elastic seam. By linking, the sock becomes more stable and gains significantly in durability. Chain-linked socks rarely fray, the bulging seam does not cause pressure points on the toes.

Day of the lost sock

On 09 May 2019 another holiday will take place, which the world must celebrate: The day of the lost sock (also: Lost Sock Memorial Day). Do you know the problem? Again and again there are single socks in the drawer, which are practically useless for nothing, right? Why don't they have a partner anymore? Has the sock monster struck again? This unexplained mystery belongs to one of the greatest secrets taking place worldwide. What can one do with the orphaned, single socks?

Single socks are worth more than gold. They shouldn't just end up shining shoes, no: You can use fine, individual socks as scented cushions for noble lavender blossoms. Simply tie individual socks with a fine ribbon when they are filled with lavender flowers. This scented bag is guaranteed to drive all moths out of your wardrobe. Long live May 09!

Double cylinder machines for sock production

The stocking blanks are often produced in double-cylinder machines. So each pair of socks comes out of the knitting machine in a long chain hanging together. Each pair of socks is connected with a special separating thread. On this machine it is only conditionally possible to knit the stockings individually. The aforementioned separating thread is pulled out of the stocking fashion by a special cutter. It is only through this process that individual stockings are created which are still open at the sock toe. After the separator has removed the fabric from the double-cylinder machine, she turns the fabric to the left. In this state, the sock fashion can now be completed.


Embroidered socks are always an elegant, fashionable legend on your foot. It's not for nothing that well-known designer labels attach great importance to real embroidery on the sock waistband. The sock waistband refines all stockings and is regarded as a status symbol for women's and men's socks. There are modern embroideries on socks, which are worn in the partner look. The finest yarn is processed into high-quality socks. Natural materials are the trump card of sock production. Fine embroideries can be applied to the stocking fashion in a different colour. Do you want to give your sock fashion that special touch?

Flipflop socks

Do you know toe separators, colloquially called flip-flops? Of course - flip-flops inspire us especially in summer. Did you know that there are flip-flop socks? With these stockings, also called split toe socks, the big toe separates from the other 4 toes. The flip-flop socks reduce blistering and absorb sweat. These socks avoid annoying pressure points between the toes. Everyone who wears these socks feel very comfortable wearing flip-flops.

Function socks

This pair of stockings is important when you are actively on the move. Depending on functionality, there are hiking and sports socks. It is important that you feel comfortable during outdoor activities and that you always wear the right pair of stockings. Functional socks usually consist of a mixture of natural fibers such as cotton, elastic and a chemical material such as nylon. Why chemistry on functional socks? Functional socks specifically must avoid sweaty feet and ensure perfect air circulation.


Footlets are not only popular with ladies. What distinguishes this exceptional sock? The stretchy fabric of the socks only reaches from the heel to the toes. Socks are popular with all summer friends who don't want to do without socks and still give the impression that they are barefoot in their shoes. Socks are suitable for ballerinas or other light summer shoes. Would the stylish gentleman also like to wear booties in summer? Yes, this trend is more than appropriate. Isn't it much more hygienic to wear socks in your shoes that you can't feel even in summer?

Gauntlet sock

Do you still remember the cuff sock from the style of the 80s fashion? The gauntlet sock is an exceptional kind of sock fashion. It often reaches in thick wool up to the calves and has the toes open for it. Gauntlet socks are often worn as fashion accessories over the trousers. Cuffs warm the calves and ankles, but not the toes or toes. Cuffs often convince with their colourful design and bright colours and patterns. With gauntlet socks the modern woman is conspicuous with her leg wear and covers her legs without losing sex appeal. What would the good 80s be without gauntlets? Thank God we are celebrating the comeback of the gauntlet sock.

History of the sock

The first socks have already been found in Jutland. They probably date back to about 1500 years before Christ. In historical graves of antiquity people found these socks made of fabric for the feet. Many years before, socks were still sewn firmly onto trousers as a piece of clothing. These socks, which originate from Egyptian graves, are presumably from a time approx. 500 after Christ. Still, in the Middle Ages the sock was an object, which was carried as a status symbol only by the higher social classes. Only in the age of industrialization did the sock slowly become a mass-produced item that everyone was allowed to afford.

Imperial insignia

These stockings are royal marvels and date from the second half of the 12th century. The historical socks are part of the coronation regalia, they were made in the royal workshops in Sicily. Probably the treasures were made of velvet and silk for King Wilhelm II himself. The Alba was also made for William II. Where can you still admire these velvet and silk treasures with inscriptions today? They are kept in the secular treasury of the Vienna Hofburg, in a branch of the art history museum.

Knee socks

Knee highs protect against cold and enclose the calf warmly, while the short sock hardly protects against ice and cold. A further advantage of knee socks is that they do not slip and sit tightly over the calf at the waistband. This makes these stockings perfect for men as business socks. Today's modern gentleman can also cut a fine figure sitting down if he shows neither skin nor hairy male legs.

Knitting machine for the production of socks

In the age of the 21st century, stockings are mass-produced. The knitting machines are first adjusted to the yarn to be processed and the correct knitting pattern. Most knitting machines are located in halls, which are supervised in well-organised aisles by a supervisor. The task of the knitter (the supervisor) is to supervise all machines and to ensure faultless production. After the stockings are finished, they are carefully checked by the knitter. In most cases, one stocking per shift is checked for its elongation. Small mistakes are corrected immediately. Of course, the knitter is also responsible for other organizational supervision work around the sock production.


Mercerization is the chemical refinement of the sock. The cotton is exposed to a concentrated lye. What does the sock yarn gain from this? Mercerisation makes it silkier and smoother. This makes it easier to dye the yarn and maintains their shape and color longer. Now the yarn is less thick and loses about a quarter of its strength. Mercerized cotton is more expensive and more valuable than normal cotton yarn.


Overknees are high boots or stockings that extend a bit over the knee. Thus, the overknee is the longest sock, which does not pass however as pantyhose. We often find overknees as fashionable eye-catching accessories. Overknees can be worn funny curled for carnival or very elegant and sexy. Beautiful Overknees warm and distinguish themselves by a high-quality material mix. Of course, we find fashionable overknees in all colours and variations.

Piece dyeing

Unlike yarn dyeing, where each fiber in the yarn is individually dyed, the piece dyeing is not necessarily a quality feature for stocking fashion. First the sock is knitted in a simple yarn. Only after the sock has been knitted is it dyed. This means that the colour is not distributed so intensively in every single fiber of the sock. As a result, the sock bleaches and washes out faster than with yarn dyeing. In this respect the piece dyeing of the socks speaks against a very high quality, whereas the piece dyeing also makes the socks much cheaper.


All socks made of natural fibers such as organic cotton or cotton lint sooner or later. Only synthetic fibers never lint. That's why pilling or linting is even a quality feature in sock fashion. It shows that the socks are made of high-quality natural fibers. Especially at the thickly padded and padded load zones of the toe and heel, pilling occurs more intensively. The formation of lint can be reduced to a minimum through particularly valuable processing. This "upgrading of the sock" is a particularly high-quality feature so that socks lint less.

Pontifical shoes

What do these special shoes have to do with sock fashion? Pontifical shoes are called sandalia in Latin. The pontifical footwear consists of pontifical shoes and pontifical stockings (Latin caligae). This footwear is worn by bishops and abbots at the Pontifical Mass. Today this extraordinary footwear is only used in a special form by the Roman rite. Since the 11th century, this liturgical footwear has only been reserved for popes, bishops or cardinals.

Round chairs for sock production

At the beginning of the 19th century round chairs were used for the production of socks. In the age of industrialisation, the round chair replaced the hand ball chair. What were round chairs used for? The round chair modernised the mass production of stockings to such an extent that it replaced human labour for the first time. On the one hand this represented a curse for the individual person, on the other hand it was a blessing because now the sock was cheaper. Thus, socks were to be carried for everyone. The modernization made the sock cheaper, so that the sock became from the status symbol of the aristocracy to the wearable fashion for all social classes.

Sock trap against malaria

The science is curious: What medicines cannot do, the sock trap creates against malaria. The smell of sweat and the body's own juices, which are only stored in the sock, attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don't see people like this, but they smell our body smell, our breath and sweat all the more. Some bacteria collect very concentrated in our foot area, so our worn socks can be used as a mosquito trap. How many pairs of stockings would be necessary? If players from two football teams donated their stockings after the match, we could certainly fight malaria in half of Africa with football socks. Aren't socks a real benefit for our health?

Sock monsters

The sock monster loves the exact room where the washing machine is. Here it lurks greedily for its prey. Before, during or after the washing process, the monster always eats exactly one sock from the pair of socks that belong together. After that the people are annoyed that once again a sock is missing. Funny - why does the sock monster always eat a single sock? Until now, it remains a big secret when the monster eats up individual socks completely. Is it even during the washing process when nobody can watch it at dinner? However, little professors of sock art have proven that the sock monster never runs to the wardrobe to eat individual socks. Rather, it always lurks around the washing machine.

Stocking manufacture

Knitting needles around the production of socks clatter industriously? How are socks made today after many years? The last hundreds of years have seen a lot of progress in stocking manufacturing. While many years ago silkworms were still spinning the first threads for the production of socks, today we extracted important fibers from chemistry for the production of socks. All sock materials are more than important in every sock manufacture. Nylon makes socks highly functional if you enjoy sports. The stretchable material spandex is indispensable in any stocking manufacturer, as it makes stockings stretchable and keep them in shape. What will the stocking manufacturer of the future bring?

Stocking blanks

Sock blanks are not yet the final socks you can wear. Blanks are used by the manufacturer for further processing. The blank of a sock is usually found in white and is bought in large quantities. If a label buys stocking blanks in bulk, it saves every purchase of an expensive knitting machine for sock production. Stocking blanks can then be refined and individually designed, just as the producer wishes. Stocking blanks are very often produced in bulk and cheaply abroad and are only used for resale for further processing.

Short socks

Short socks are small socks that reach up to the ankle. They are larger than socks but much smaller than normal stockings. What are you wearing short socks for as a modern person of the 21st century? These small socks are suitable for sneakers and light fabric sneakers. The short socks put little strain on the feet and are especially popular with young and old in summer.

Single-cylinder machines for sock production

There are sock machines in a very multi-faceted way. We often find single-cylinder machines with dials for sock production. Special transfer techniques on the single-cylinder machine for the production of the socks allow a variety of patterning possibilities. The fine rib dial is indispensable for the production of socks. In which size can we find this machine? We see it with diameters from 3.5 to 6 inches (approx. 15 cm). Depending on the fineness of the needles (0.26 mm to 1.55 mm), the knitting pattern on each sock is different.

The hand knit chair for sock production

The English Reverend William Lee invented the chair, which was used for the first time for the mechanical production of socks. In 1561 Queen Elisabeth I of England refused Lee a patent on the hand ball chair. Lee then moved to England in 1589, where King Henry V supported the idea of machine sock production. Henry V financed the first stocking manufacture and thus supported the machine production of stockings.

Toe socks

Toe socks are an exceptional type of socks that pack each individual toe. This sock looks especially funny and colorful when all five toes on each foot are wrapped in a different color. Toe socks warm ideally and convince by their completely special appearance. We love the individual socks, which rise to the fashionable accessory better than all others: The toe sock is definitely a part of it. When did you last treat yourself to an exceptional unique item? The toe socks are part of it, if you want to refine your feet fashionably.

Yarn dyeing

The yarn dyeing at the sock is very decisive. Yarn dyeing is the dyeing of the sock yarn. This is how the dye is absorbed before knitting the sock. Isn't it more efficient to dye the sock after knitting? No, the yarn in its original state has a much larger surface area for colour absorption. The opposite of yarn dyeing is the piece dyeing. If the finished pair of socks is dyed first, the socks fade more quickly. Thus, the yarn dyeing clearly beats the piece dyeing.

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