Sunday, January 04, 2015

Badge of Love: Darning

Hi, Knitters,
First, the winner of the Fab Funky Fibres Autumn Rainbow self-striping yarn is.....

Cori or irocknits on Ravelry!! By the way check out Cori's photo in Instagram of the 9 sweaters she finished for Christmas gifts this year. It is pretty incredible. Click here to see!

Congratulations to Cori! Thank you to Elaine of Fab Funky Fibres for the skein of gorgeous yarn to give to one of you. Thank you for the enormous response to the giveaway. I will have another one very soon. 

One more quick news-type thing, in February I am teaching at the Madison Knitting Guild event called Knit In! Click here to see the class options and to get more information. It is open to everyone! I'll talk more about this soon with more details but register early if you want to get in. My classes were huge and filled quickly last time I taught at this fun event. 

Today I have a video tutorial on darning for you. I am no expert but I have occasionally darned holes in socks and I get asked about repairing worn holes in socks so I thought I'd share.

My future daughter-in-law, Miss Molly, knit these adorable socks a couple of year ago. Last week she sadly told me that both socks suddenly had holes on the bottom of the heels. It's kind of funny how they wore out exactly at the same time and in the same spot but they did! I told her to bring them to me and I would try to darn the holes for her.

A few quick things about the video. Warp and weft were the weaving terms I couldn't remember. Also, the yarn has become slightly felted from washing and wearing so you can see the I struggle a bit to get the needle through the stitches. Be patient if your sock is slightly felted and use a sharper or finer needle to make it easier.

Make sure not to pull any of the strands too tight while darning. Pulling too tight will distort the natural shape of the sock. The darning egg comes in handy for keeping the fabric as it would be while wearing the sock but it isn't necessary. You could use a small ball, a tomato pincushion, or something else rounded. Remember those EOS lip balms I recently talked about.... two purposes in one!

If you can't see the video for email subscribers click here to view the video on YouTube!

The sock yarn used for the socks in the video is Vesper by Knitterly Things (one of my favorites) in the Shamrockin' colorway. The pattern used for the socks is How I Make My Socks found both on Ravelry and my blog.

A couple of more quick thoughts or options on darning for you:
1.  If you notice that the yarn is getting very worn and thin in a certain spot on your sock but it hasn't broken through to create a hole yet you can darn over the top of the threadbare spot using this same technique before it breaks open. This is called surface darning.
2. For this same kind of wearing thin of the fiber but not a hole quite yet you can duplicate stitch over the threadbare stitches to reinforce them before the worn spot becomes a hole.
3. If the darned spot is on the bottom of the foot do not use any knots and try to weave in the ends so as not to create any unwanted ridges in the fabric.

My final thoughts on darning are to just do it! You can see that my darning isn't perfect but it works just fine to extend the life of the beloved handknit socks. The darned spot will wear in so that it will feel undetectable to the foot after awhile in my experience.

I've shown you in the video how I have darned my own socks through the years and this technique works really well for me. There are lots of other ways to darn socks. I remembered reading an article by Kate Gilbert of Twist Collective awhile back and when I searched it popped right up. Kate created a great tutorial showing several different darning techniques. It is extremely helpful and clear.

Click here to read Kate Gilbert's tutorial post called Darn It All!

I love a darned spot on any sort of knitwear. It is a badge of LOVE. A darned spot is something to be cherished. There is a charm to a darned sock, mitten, or even sweater elbows. I prefer to darn my socks in different colored yarn to remind me how much I have worn and loved them.

Back in 2013 I did a blog post sharing the darning of a pair of handspun socks. Click here to revisit the post and to see the darned socks!

Please let me know if you have any darning tips or techniques that you've used to repair your knit items. I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great Sunday and start to your week, dear Knitters.
xo ~ susan


Nancy said...

Thanks for the tips: they will be very useful to extend the life of my hand-knit socks.

ktb38 said...

Thank you so much for this! A pair of socks I knit my mom a few years ago just developed a huge hole, and I haven't properly darned a sock before.
One question, where did you get your needle? All I have are those blue plastic darning needles.

Susan B. Anderson said...

the needle is Chibi from Clover. they come in tubes and the color of the tube is yellow for the smaller tapestry needles.


Andrea @ This Knitted Life said...

So sweet that your future daughter in law is crafty. And loves her socks.

Anna K. said...

I'm so excited to hear that you'll be teaching at the Knit In! I just popped over to try to get a spot in a couple of your classes. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

Holly said...

I love your saying "a badge of Love"' thank you for the tip. Happy New Year

Quinn said...

My favorite darning egg is an ordinary hen's egg.

Creative Design said...

Darn all your holes the same way.....with red yarn and in a heart shape. That way, if it shows (or even if it doesn't) it looks deliberate!


Kathleen Kibblehouse said...

This is great! I have a pair of socks with holes in my project drawer and every time I go in there it shouts, "Hey! when are you going to mend me??!!" You make it look pretty easy and I am no longer intimidated by it! Thanks so much for taking the time to present this.

Unknown said...

Love this tutorial. Makes me (almost) want to get a hole in my sock.

My grandpa did the darning in my mom's family. He used a burn-out lighbulb. He kind of showed me how to do it. I realize what a special memory that is now!

steph said...

i truly love the visible mending....and this seems to be quite the thing these days. I'm finally part of something that is 'cool'....oh, wait!!! the knitting craze finally caught up with me, too----what a trend setter!!!

Pam said...

When I couldn't find my mom's wooden darning egg, I always use a lightbulb. Works great!

gknitter said...

Happy New Year Susan,
Once I realized the spots where my socks wear out first I started adding an extra layer / patch using the Reknit and Graft technique as part of my sock construction. This layer can easily be replaced and adds a little bit of cushion.

BCGramma said...

I loved watching your video. It was almost like watching my mom darn socks, she did it the same way. It think it takes patience to darn that way, but the finished product does look so good.
BTW, the words you were looking for were warp and weft. I learned that warp goes up and down and weft goes 'weft' and right. Silly, but I've never forgotten it.

Emily S said...

You are super sweet to do that for Miss Molly and show all of us, thank you thank you! Blessings! <3 <3

Diane said...

my mom and I were not knitters. In fact I'm 62 and just learned. But as a kid, my mom taught me to darn socks, knees in tights, and elbows in sweaters. We couldn't afford to just go buy new. I learned as a very young girl. And then as an adult, the throw away society took over. I'm going to have to learn all over! Loved the post