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Archive for November 2nd, 2006

Darn it!

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

Today I wore the only pair of handknit socks I had that were clean, as I dashed out of the house for my zillion appointments. I got about halfway through my day and realized that I could feel my toes touch the bottom of my shoe. With the socks on. Oh, drat.

I had thin spots in four places on the toes of these socks, between the two of them. They needed repair instantly or it was going to turn into monster holes before the end of the day.

Luckily I was at Foster Center teaching the CityKidz to knit. We had some purple sockyarn in the drawer (the socks in question are green/ navy/ purple/ turquoise) and I used several yards of that yarn to darn (mend) my socks. Then and there! I did have a few times when I almost sewed the top/instep of the sock to the bottom/sole, because I did not have a darning egg to do the job better. However, I’m delighted with the repair. I wore the socks home, ready to go for a while longer.

My mother taught me to darn socks. I think I was in 3rd grade or something around that age. She used the “weaving” method which actually can replace a large hole, where there is actually missing fabric. I still do use that method sometimes.

However, once when I was surfing the internet on sock darning, I found that some people darn with what is called “duplicate stitch” (embroidering over the knit stitches, one stitch at a time, to strengthen the fabric without changing its structure). This works best if you have at least a tiny bit of fabric left. It is very hard to do duplicate stitch when the fabric is actually missing in any spot. It can be done but it’s more hassle than I prefer to do on a sock.

In any case, I must say I love to darn socks. They take more visual attention than I can give sometimes, so they wait for me to catch up with them. I have many socks that need darning right now. I don’t darn commercial socks unless they are really special, but my handknits are worth the hassle.

I sort of like darning in a yarn that is not matched to the sock. I have one pair of worsted-weight winter socks in magenta/pink, that have been repaired in hot pink, plum, and at least two other magenta yarns. I love how it mostly matches, how it shows off the fact that I know how to do sock darning, which is a nearly-lost art.

I’m not sure if I feel clever or just accomplished, but I always have a smug/happy moment after darning socks. Hey, that’s pretty simple but how nice it is that I can be happy so easily!

Photo: Socks of Brian’s I darned long ago, but it shows duplicate stitch in contrasting yarn. Here it was green/blue repair yarn on gray/black base socks. On the bottom of the foot.