Darn it!

I got a hole in my socks!

These are my favorite handmade socks (admittedly of only two pairs, but besides that). They’re squishy, and soft, and have shrunk a lot considering I kept forgetting to hang them up to dry and they’ve been through the dryer repeatedly. BUT they still fit and they’re still my favorite.

Evidently I finished these in April of 2007 (woo for blog entries) so they’ve almost lasted a year with nearly constant wear. Okay not so much in the summer but I wear them several days a week in the winter. These are the socks that inspired H to suggest I might consider making more since I wear them so much, which is a big deal considering he doesn’t make such suggestions lightly.

Since I love them so much, I decided to darn them. Not say “darn it!” and throw them in the trash can, a la the Yarn Harlot, but actually darn them. Learning a new skill and all that!

Fortunately the Internet is a wealth of information on the topic. Here are some tutorials and suggestions on darning that I found:

  • Knitting Underway shows the traditional weaving method.
  • HJS Studio has a tutorial on using thread to do duplicate stitches with yarn over a hole.
  • Finally, Knitting in Color has yet another idea of knitting a patch to cover the hole.

I ended up using the HJS Studio idea, except instead of thread I just used the same yarn. I thought it was a more elegant solution, over all, although if I had never done duplicate stitch before it might have been more intimidating.

Here were my tools of the trade. One sock with a hole in it, one sock that was very, very thin in the same spot (so I had to fix that too, obviously), the leftover yarn, and (bonus!) a massage tool that looked like it would work for a darning egg.

I ended up using the same method for both problems, although it was infinitely easier on the thin section than the hole! So I learned Lesson #1: It’s better to practice prevention than fix actual problems.

You can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on my handmade goods for wear and tear and fixing things before there are actually holes! (This goes for trousers and sewing items as well.) Because to be honest, the hole was a PITA. Both sections are thicker and more padded than the sock around them. Although the advice was to keep your stitches uniform and in a consistent tension to the knitting around it, I found it so bloody difficult just to figure out where the stitches went to begin with (on very felted fabric as it was) that I quickly just went for “find somewhere to put a stitch” and disregarded any other suggestions that might have improved the final result. Oh well. It did ultimately work!

Here are the finished results:

The one on the left was the one with the hole; the right had the thin spot. I know it’s hard to see, I apologize for that. The one on the right looks much better and more uniform than the mess that is the one on the left! However, I’m happy to report that after a day of wearing them, they’ve both smooshed and felted down so much that it’s hard to tell where the darned areas were to begin with. Yay!

Enter Lesson #2: Use sock yarn with nylon in it, or procure some nylon thread for reinforcing the soles of my socks, as evidently that’s where I wear them out. The idea being that as the sock wears thin, there will still be a thread to follow for the duplicate stitch, since that was a lot easier. Phew!

I’m glad I did the darning, I would have been heartbroken to have thrown these away. The massage tool totally worked too, so a money saving move on my part, yay! That puppy is going to remain stored in my knitting basket 🙂 And I love learning something new and useful!

Incidently, I also patched a pair of trousers on the sewing machine this weekend, so obviously it was a weekend for using my skills to actually fix things, which is nice. Hurrah for domestic skills!

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4 Responses to Darn it!

  1. Kathleen says:

    Okay, you are far bolder than I. When my favorite pair of socks wore out at the toes, I unraveled them both to about an inch past the hole, picked up the live stitches and re-knit the toes. I thought about learning to darn them, but was afraid I would resort to the Yarn Harlot;s method, that is, saying the word “Darn” as I dropped them into the scrap pile.

  2. Jenn says:

    My red, white and black Jaywalkers got a hole in the toe too, after only two wearings! I haven’t fixed them yet, but I think since it’s right up near the tip of the toe, I’m just going to unravel and reknit. I was going to darn, but somehow can’t find one end of the yarn.

  3. Liane says:

    Nice! Hey want to do a knit a long for EZ’s moccasin (sp?) socks? I suck at making 2 of things and I need some socks.

  4. tania says:

    nice job! I love that you repaired them!

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