Last winter I happened to be in an art supply store, and spotted a shelf of colourful little bottles labeled "Sock Stop". It's a German liquid latex product designed to be applied to the bottoms of socks or slippers to give them extra grip. I didn't have an immediate use for it, but thought it might come in useful someday and bought a bottle on impulse. It now seems to be fairly widely available, and I've seen it since then at several local yarn shops.
I had the perfect opportunity to try it out last fall when I made a pair of booties for Elizabeth's new little baby. Of course they didn't need any extra grip (since she'll have grown out of the booties long before she learns to walk) but I also made a pair of matching slippers for her big brother, and they were the perfect candidate to try out this new product.
Since I hadn't used it before and didn't want to ruin the slippers accidentally, I knit a little swatch to test it out on. I would highly recommend doing this, as it gave me a good feel for the consistency and the application possibilities. I tried out a few variations of lines and blobs and decided that it worked best when I used fairly small dots.
I did have a bit of an issue with the original hole in the tip of the bottle seeming too small - so I tried opening it up with a pin, and then eventually used scissors to carefully cut it back. After which I realized that there was a large glob of semi-hardened latex stuck in the tip that was causing all my problems... Definitely something to check for first next time if it's not flowing freely.
The instructions on the bottle say to line your socks with cardboard prior to application. This seems like it's probably a good idea for thinner socks or if you're applying a very thick layer or intricate design, but I decided it wasn't necessary for these thick worsted-weight slippers.
I did follow the instructions to do the application in several thin coats rather than one thick one though. This stuff dries pretty fast, so there wasn't a long waiting time in between, and it allowed the first layer to soak into the wool a bit and adhere better.
This is how the first coat looked, as you can see it's almost hidden by the garter stitch ridges, and probably wouldn't be enough to provide much extra grip.
In this photo you can see that I made the second coat a little thicker to be sure there would be enough grip. You can also tell that the colour of the latex is several shades darker after it dries - a good thing to keep in mind if you are purchasing a colour for a specific project.
Here's the finished final layer, before it dried. As you can see I had a bit of an issue with an extra-large blob on the top one... It was much less noticeable once it dried to the darker colour.
All in all, I would use this again but maybe think about using a smoother stitch pattern for the soles, since I think that would allow for neater application. Elizabeth says it's doing its job in preventing too much slipping and sliding, although I may need to reapply it at some point since the slippers are getting a lot of wear.
Another thing to note, the clean-up from this is quite easy (it washes off tools and hands with soap and water) but it does have a bit of a smell, so I would recommend using it in a well-ventilated area.
Have you used this or any other similar products? We'd love to know how they worked out for you!
Elizabeth and I have shared our partnership running Sweet Paprika for over 10 years now, but we've been sharing many other things in life for much longer than that - including birthday celebrations!
With my birthday falling on the 16th of November and Elizabeth's on the 22nd, we often had shared parties and celebrated our birthdays together. In fact, our younger sister Margaret was also born on November 16th, so the third week in November has been "Birthday Week" for us as long as I can remember.