Above and beyond darning

On a recent visit, my daughter brought with her a pair of socks I knit for her 7 years ago (!)

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There was a reason for their (sheepish) return.  Three big holes.  She says she might learn to darn when she retires, and not to give up on her in that department.  I remember these socks.  I am pretty sure I ripped the wool from a recycled jumper, and it was my first effort at making my own self striping yarn.  I made two pairs, the other pair in purple and blue and grey shades.  The skein went from one end of the hall to the front window of the house between two chairs.

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These are big holes, and I had no matching yarn.  I promised visible mends and decided not to darn. Instead–picking up stitches and knitting a patch, knitting or purling two together at the edges where the yarn was still sound.

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Then sewing the last round of stitches down with a darning needle.

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Here it is again–on the heel!  I did a little shaping and then decided it might be best just to let it conform to her foot in wear…

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And here we are with some handspun fleece from ‘Viola’ in crossbred natural grey filling the breach…

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Fingers crossed that Viola is up to the task.  One thing you can say about socks full of holes is that they have been well worn and much loved.  These somehow have a velvety quality that is quite pleasing.  I am surprised that recycled yarn has been up to this amount of wear!  And now–they can be returned to their owner by mail in time for winter.  I hope she’ll have some more years of enjoyment…

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17 Comments

Filed under Knitting, Sewing

17 responses to “Above and beyond darning

  1. At least your daughter knew well enough to send them home for their repair. I think the knitted patch is a great solution. When i darn such big holes in the heels i generally find them too ‘noticeable’ and i end up chucking them out.
    On a different matter all together, have you done any stuff steep and store with the leaves of a canna lily? My partner has just given me a post-surgery flower arrangement (for a knee op) and it has several lots of coloured orchids and those day lilies with the staining stamens backed by some amazing purple-coloured canna leaves. I’ve started pulling the useable bits off and thought the cannas could be worth trying. Any thoughts/suggestions?

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  2. Rebecca

    Another chapter to sock quest, and an important one in the life cycle of a sock. I love reading about maintenence of clothes. It is not glamorous but it is heroic in a very old sense of hero.

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    • I agree that it is a stage in the life cycle, and I’m not much of a one for glamour, as you will have figured out already. I am rather fond of this stage in its own way–I have decided to be one of the keepers and teachers of darning for future generations. So I do hope DD will come to the party and learn in due course. In the meantime, I am thrilled she likes these socks so much after 7 years that she still wants to wear them. I expect this will lead to more such requests…

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  3. Excellent repairs – your lucky daughter. How nice to keep old, treasured friends going for a bit longer!

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  4. Perfect timing…am now rethinking how to darn the 2 pairs of socks lying here (not handmade, but still much loved woolies).

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  5. Susan

    Good job, I have done this in desperation and it seems to work! Nice that she brought them back to you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Susan! I can’t say I remember seeing anyone else do it, but once I had the idea, it seemed like an obviously right thing to attempt–I think this is an example of ‘unventing’ rather than inventing. And much more fun to execute, with a better finish, than a darn of this size, at least in my hands. It’s lovely she brought them back after so much wear 🙂 Thanks, Susan!

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  6. Helen

    I think I’ve kept the yarn for socks I’ve knit, but never can find it ‘years’ later when I need to darn them. So I’ve given up and use something ‘obvious’. Why not celebrate the darn? 🙂

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    • Indeed! I try to keep the ends of sock yarns or give them to the recipient, but sometimes there isn’t any to keep or there is a filing fail. I don’t mind a darn that shows. Depending on how it shows!

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  7. Such a good idea. I’ve been darning socks lately the traditional way (with a sewing needle), but like the look of this better. After all it, in a practical sense, it lets the sock stretch like it should and the patchwork effect is nice – no need for the original yarn. I’ll definitely mend my socks this way in future!

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