Tuesday, February 24, 2015

darning socks 101

Rilla whirled into the shadowy kitchen at Ingleside, where Susan was prosaically darning socks..."
Rilla of Ingleside
Lucy Maud Montgomery

I like to knit socks. And the fact is, if you wear hand knitted woolen socks, I can guarantee you will over time wear a hole in the heel long before the sock wears out.  Of course, this too could be true about any pair of woolen socks you might own. To even consider the thought of tossing out a pair of socks you have knitted is unthinkable. What I have done through the years is wear them until the hole gets rather large and then retire them to the dark corners of my sock drawer. 


This is the winter I have become occupied with learning to darn socks. I'll share some of the things I learned along the way and display several socks that needed darning, some obviously worse then others. 

Number one: Darn the sock as soon as a hole becomes evident.



This sock had a small hole that darned up beautifully, my very first try at darning, so not the best, but I was onto something.

Number Two: Get yourself a Darning Egg.
While it is not completely necessary to have one in order to darn your sock, still it does help when you begin the process of weaving the threads.

                      Number three: If you do not have any leftover bits of the original yarn, or if the socks were a gift, then find a color that matches as close as possible. 
You might want to choose a little heavier yarn. It works fine. I did this with one pair I darned.

I wore them out Saturday to breakfast, perfectly warm and comfortable they were to my feet that cold morning.

              Number Four: The only other materials you will need is a pair of scissors,
 and a yarn needle,
                   I found a needle with a bent edge at the end works best.
     
Number Five: Cut away any loose threads or fuzz. 


I learned this from trial and error.
See those loose threads? 
                              Snip them from the beginning instead of trying to darn around them.

                                            Number Six: Work from the outside of the sock. 
             I tried both ways. Personally, I found that working from the outside of the sock 
    versus having the sock turned inside out,
         made a better mend.

The sock on the left was darned from the inside, the one on the right was darned on the outside.


                                 Number Seven: There is no science to the matter of darning. 
                                                           You will simply weave across the hole. 
You begin by going beyond the hole and picking up stitches with your needle until you get to the hole. At this point you proceed to run straight lines of yarn across the hole, this is your warp. From there you start to weave under and over, your weft. 

I was thinking of frugality and the days of my grandmother who lived through the Great Depression. Oh, the stories she could tell. Yet, she never really wanted to remember those hard times. But, nonetheless, those days with all their economic trials were etched deeply into the lives of that generation. I wished my grandmother was still living so she could teach me her skill in darning socks. She would be able to share with me the little things she learned along the way.

Happy Darning!



3 comments:

Hill upon Hill said...

That was great thankyou; my husband darns our socks; and of course I understand about hand knit socks; particularly if the person who knit them for you is no longer with us.

gretchenjoanna said...

In the early years of my marriage a friend showed me how to darn socks, and we used to buy a fine wool thread to darn cotton socks.(It was sold as "darning yarn" on a card like embroidery thread but I haven't been able to find any for years.) It would shrink up and make a nice strong "patch."

I have given up darning my husband's cotton socks, because they are very inexpensive, and when they get holey I just use them for rags, but my own "nice," more dressy cotton socks I still darn, using a button-and-carpet thread.

Karen said...

My mother has always darned our socks. She has the darning egg to do this. I love the old ways, don't you?

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