Swoop Bags: The Ultimate Small Toy Wrangler

A local mom invents a tool to help keep those little toys in order.

Ever step on a Lego barefoot? Then you understand why View Ridge graphic designer and mom Sarah Kirk felt the need to create the ultimate brick wrangler, the Swoop bag. Inspired by a storage bag that her grandmother made 30 years ago for her brother’s Lego collection, Kirk makes her bags from durable cotton canvas and high-quality nylon cording. When open, the Swoop is a 44–inch-diameter play mat that corrals potential messes. Pull the sturdy cord, and the bag cinches up.

$48. Available in 11 colors (at press time, a smaller version, Swoop Mini, was soon to be released for $24) at swoopbags.com

The Best Local Socks to Buy Now

The Best Local Socks to Buy Now

This city has a thing for socks. From top toe protection to no-slip all-stars, we’ve found the best bets for restocking your sock drawer

(From left to right)

1.  Sock It to Me
This Portland-based company has the corner on the whimsical-sock market. Go for the women’s Shakespeare-themed “Taming of the Shoe” or the men’s Multi Player gaming sock for a silly but sophisticated fashion statement. $11.50–$12, sockittome.com

2.  Darn Tough
The name says it all. Based in Vermont and manufactured exclusively in the U.S., these mid-calf, micro crew hike/trek socks are sure to keep your tootsies dry and happy on a hike. The fun colors will make you even happier to take off your boots at the end of the day. $20, available at REI.com

3.  Peony and Moss
Founded by Seattle local Eva Spitzer, Peony and Moss brings the pretty with these high-quality cotton socks. We like the Scandinavian pattern knee high, but the thigh high works well with the high-booted crowd. $30–$32, peonyandmoss.com

4.  Mod Socks
Bellingham’s Mod Socks pays serious homage to its Northwest roots with its “Bigfoot Loves Washington,” a women’s knee sock, and the “Bear Necessities” crew sock for men. $10, modsocks.com

5.  Strideline
This Seattle-based company took the city by storm with its skyline lacrosse sock. Now it has come up with a new digital ink technology that brings photo-realism and hometown pride to your feet. Get the new skyline, Husky Stadium or the Sounders sock just in time for soccer season. $16–$18, strideline.com

6.  Balega
The unique left/right construction and deeper heel pocket of these crew socks make them a favorite in local specialty running shops, such as Super Jock ’n Jill. Balega’s ultralight quarter sock, $13, has been called the sheerest, lightest sock on the market and has garnered lots of hard-core running fans. Available at Fleet Feet Sports Seattle, Capitol Hill, 911 E Pine St.; 206.329.1466; fleetfeetseattle.com