Each day

The big sock is back on Shoppers Row

Customers pitch in to make new one to hang out in front of craft store

A big woollen sock is once again hanging in front of Needle & Arts Centre on Shoppers Row.

But no, its return is not thanks to a change of heart by some young thieves, instead, it was the kindness of some of the craft store’s loyal customers.

“Well, the story has a good end because one of our customers started the initiative to get some customers and staff to create a new one,” Jurgen Kettler, husband of Needle & Arts Centre owner – and sock creater – Inge Kettler, said Friday. “They chipped in hours and yarn from their stashes and here it hangs again in plain spring sunshine.”

The original giant, hand-knitted sock was hanging off the awning in front of the Needle & Arts Centre when it was stolen in plain daylight in February.

Although located on usually-busy Shoppers Row, the approximately one-metre-long sock was taken off its hook, much to the disappointment of shop owner Inge Kettler.

It had taken her more than two months and 20 balls of wool to knit and felt what was the second version of the colourful sock, which has been a landmark on Shoppers Row for more than a year.

The first one was sold last December.

“I was heartbroken when I realized that all my work and our store icon was gone. I offer a real pair of hand knitted socks if this giant sock is turned in or if somebody saw the incident,” Inge said in February.

The stolen sock was never found but the theft was actually caught on the store’s security camera.

What appears to be three young males with backpacks are seen passing by the store at 9:16 a.m. Feb. 19. One of the youths jumps up and deftly unhooks the sock and the three continue on without missing a step.

“We got countless supporting comments and frustrated ones that things like this could happen,” Jurgen said. “One friend told me that this was a topic in her daughter’s class in elementary school and the kids were devastated and asked if there would be another one made.”

The Kettlers are a community-minded business couple who have an interest in making downtown an attractive and vibrant place to shop.

So a new sock is back hanging in front of the story every day. It is taken down and rehung at the beginning and end of each business day and the Kettlers are watching it carefully.

“We’ll keep an eye on him and, of course, the security camera,” Jurgen said.