Friday, May 2, 2014

Fix It Friday: Mending Socks

I learned to darn socks in grade school using the weaving method. It's not exactly something I enjoy and I don't really like the result, but it works. But recently I read a great post about different ways you could mend a sock. One of them involved knitting (as in knitting a patch over the spot). That appealed to me a lot more.

Then I happened to ask my sister how the socks I gave her in December were working out. :significant pause: Then she said that they had a big hole ripped in them and I should never give her socks again because she doesn't deserve them. Since I was coming home soon, I told her to save the socks and I would see what I could do. I tracked down the left over yarn from the socks and took it with me.

After our conversation, I started to think about which particular socks I gave her and I remembered that I had problem with that yarn being moth-eaten in spots. Of course I repaired/extracted all the bad spots I found, but there was a good chance that I just missed one and the hole wasn't my sister's fault at all!

When I got the socks, I discovered that the "huge hole" was not so big. (She was smart enough not to continue wearing them once they were holey.) And it looks to me more likely caused by evil insects and not the wayward nail at her desk at work.
I put a small dessert bowl in the sock so I could see what I was doing and had some room in which to work. I could see a few stitches that had come undone and the two ends of the strand that had been eaten apart. But they were so short, there was nothing I could do with them as they were.

The first thing I did was put the stitches I could see onto some dpns so they didn't ravel further. I then picked one of the strands and undid it as I followed its path exactly with a needle and new strand of yarn:
I'm pulling out the existing strand to the left, but only
after I've inserted the needle so I can follow it with the
mending yarn.
In this way I was able to duplicate the knitting while making the end long enough to work with.
Now I have a long end (held by my fingers) that I can work in.
The other strand is the end of the mending yarn. I've already
threaded the needle on the other end of the mending yarn
so I can begin closing the hole.
Then I "sewed" (or Kitchenered) the two sides of the hole together. There were only two or three stitches on each side. I did the best I could matching what I thought should be knit stitches and purl stitches, but it may not have been perfect.
 Here the hole is closed and secure:
 but now I have another too-short end at the other side (held by my fingers).

So I repeated the process of undoing the short end, while following its path with the needle to replace it with the mending yarn. After a few stitches, I had a long enough end to work with on this side too:
I then worked in three of the ends on the inside of the sock. I noticed that the central spine of the sock design didn't quite line up (you can see it in the picture above), so I took the mending yarn still on the needle and duplicate stitched over a short section of the "spine" to correct the mismatched stitch.

Et voila:
You can hardly see the patch and the sock should be good as new.

For some reason darning is a lot more interesting to me when I can knit it, even if the "knitting" is done with a darning needle. I'll try to keep this in mind as I expect more of my own socks will start to wear out.

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