Sock Doll Craft in the Time of Social Distancing

Apr 1, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Community, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lois Winston

Social distancing. It’s a term most of us had never heard of prior to a few weeks ago. I’m betting the Oxford English Dictionary will name it the Word of the Year for 2020, even if, technically, it’s two words.

Schools are closed; employees are working remotely from home. More and more states are mandating people stay in their homes except for when they need to make a supermarket run. Top that off with spring rains, often torrential in nature, for much of the country, and if cabin fever hasn’t yet set in nationwide, it soon will.

If you’re stuck at home with children or, like me, are helping to care for grandchildren while their parents work from home, crafts can be one of your best friends. However, you probably don’t have a closet of craft supplies in your house. And chances are, the local crafts chain, like all other stores, is closed. But you probably have some mismatched socks lying around in a drawer in the hope that the mates will eventually reappear. Let’s face it, they rarely do. So why not take those single socks and turn them into a fun afternoon of crafting sock dolls with the kids? With the help of an adult, children as young as five can make these dolls.

Photo #1

Craft them cute, or craft them Ugh!Ly, like the one shown. The possibilities are endless and only limited by the child’s imagination and the materials you have on hand.

Choose patterned socks or solid colors. For sewing, you can use embroidery floss, buttonhole twist, tapestry yarn, Perle cotton, lighter weight knitting yarns, or even thin string or twine as long as you can thread it through a large-eyed needle.

Photo #2

If you don’t have any fiberfill for stuffing, cut up some clean rags. You can even use clean plastic grocery bags.

If you don’t have a heavier weight yarn for the hair, Skip Step #9. Instead, cut up strips of felt or fabric in desired length, depending on whether you want long hair or short hair, and tie the strips together at the center. Knot the ends of the fabric or leave them unknotted.

No loose buttons for eyes? Stitch French knots or Xs, or use a marker to draw the faces. You can also use markers to decorate the dolls, especially if you’re using solid color socks. Or decorate with scraps of ribbon or lace.

Have fun with the kids! And remember, eventually life will get back to normal for all of us. Meanwhile, if you need to escape with a humorous mystery (because who doesn’t need a good laugh right now?), consider spending a few hours with Anastasia Pollack, my reluctant amateur sleuth.

The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries
Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack’s world the day her husband permanently cashed in his chips in Las Vegas and her comfortable middle-class life crapped out. Anastasia knew nothing of her husband’s gambling addiction. Now she’s dealing with debt greater than the GNP of Uzbekistan. She’s also stuck with her semi-invalid Communist mother-in-law as a permanent houseguest sharing a bedroom with Anastasia’s mother, a self-proclaimed descendant of Russian nobility. Anastasia’s two teenage sons, her mother’s cat, her mother-in-law’s dog, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot all vie for space and attention in Anastasia’s small suburban home.

Anastasia returns to work to discover the body of the magazine’s fashion editor glued to her office chair. The woman collected enemies and ex-lovers like Jimmy Choos. When evidence surfaces of an illicit affair between her and Anastasia’s husband, Anastasia becomes the prime suspect. Suddenly she’s thrust into the role of reluctant amateur sleuth to prove her innocence.

As the series progresses, Anastasia takes on various moonlighting jobs to pay down her debt, only to find herself constantly tripping over dead bodies, forcing her to continue sleuthing. The one bright spot in her life is photojournalist and possible government operative Zack Barnes, who has rented the apartment above her garage.

Books in the series include:
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun
Death By Killer Mop Doll
Revenge of the Crafty Corpse
Decoupage Can Be Deadly
A Stitch to Die For
Scrapbook of Murder
Drop Dead Ornaments
Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
Crafty Crimes (a collection of 3 novellas)

(Photo #1)

Ugh!Ly Sock Doll
1 sock
polyester fiberfill or other material for stuffing
yarn or thread for stitching
tapestry needle or sewing needle with large eye
thicker yarn, felt, or fabric for hair
two buttons for eyes
3” x 4” piece of cardboard
three small pompoms or buttons for decoration (optional)
fabric glue
colored markers (optional)

(photo #2)

1. Cut the sock below the heel.

(photo #3)

2. Stuff sock with fiberfill.

Photo #3

3. Work a running stitch around opening. Pull to gather. Stitch opening closed.

(photo #4)

4. To make arms, cut heel from remainder of sock. Cut cuff in half. Turn each half inside-out. Stitch along long edge.

Photo #4

(photo #5)

Photo #5

5. Turn right side out. Gather along finished edge. Stitch opening closed.

6. Stuff each arm with fiberfill. Work running stitch around opening. Pull to gather. Stitch opening closed.

(photo #6)

Photo #6

7. Stitch arms to body.

8. Stitch a mouth along toe seam.

9. To make hair, wrap yarn around long side of cardboard 25 times. Tape ends to hold in place. Slide a piece of yarn under wrapped yarn and tie tightly to gather yarn. Remove tape. Slide yarn off cardboard. Fold yarn loops in half and tie tightly together at center.

10. Glue hair to head at yarn knot.

11. Glue pompoms or stitch buttons to front of Ugh!Ly Doll.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our mystery podcast! A new episode just went up!

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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.


  1. Lois,

    Very original idea. Your mystery craft series also sounds very creative. Congrats!

  2. This looks like tons of fun, Lois. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a wonderful creative post, Lois! I recently did some epoxy resin castings. I don’t recommend it unless you like the idea of odds and ends sticking to your fingers… I didn’t know what to make with them afterward. It turns out my cats decided I had made some new cat toys!

    I have one of your books, and I’m moving it up on my TBR list!

    • Thanks, Liz! Hope you enjoy the book! My son has been talking about doing epoxy resin castings. His entire industry is shut down right now, so he’s spending a lot of time in his workshop. I’ll let him know what you said about the resin sticking to fingers.

  4. Such a clever idea, Lois. I’m going to pass this on to my grandkids!

  5. Brillant idea ?
    Thank you for any helps to parents.
    Lori Winston what a fun series- a must look into
    Thanks so much for bringing this to us. 🙂
    Take care blessings for good health

    • Thanks, Kathy! I hope you’ll enjoy the series. Stay safe and well!

  6. Brillant idea ?
    Thank you for any helps to parents.
    Lori Winston what a fun series- a must look into
    Thanks so much for bringing this to us. 🙂
    Take care blessings for good health


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