Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sock darning!

During winter, it got a bit chilly here in Brisbane (it went under 10 degrees at night a couple of times!! Freeeeeezing!)  and I decided to darn a whole heap of my socks instead of buying new ones. It was quite therapeutic and I enjoyed playing around with different wools and techniques. Socks are so cheap these days but I like the idea of repairing something more than buying something so even my $2 socks "got the treatment"!

Here's what I did...

Darning mushroom and real wool.

In the past I have used what ever wool was floating about the house. Usually acrylic and usually brightly coloured. Im not a knitter, so wool is usually used as a trim or embellishment, hence the bright colours, but for this project I decided that if I used pure real wool and not fake plastic stuff, it might matt or felt together as it gone worn and washed - at least that was my starting theory!

First find your hole to darn. If you can get to it before its a hole - when its just worn - you will make it a lot easier for yourself!

This is one of last years patches that I want to fix. It was done with acrylic wool.
And this is another. The patch has held but I have worn more of the area around it. Its a good example of seeing how you actually reweave the wool to fill the hole.


Start by popping the sock on your darning mushroom. I got mine from a second hand shop but have seen them at material shops for under $5. Thread your darning needle (you need a darning needle as they have a hole big enough for wool to go through).

Start by sewing a running stitch on a good solid part of the sock outside the area that needs to darned. Then run the next row next to the first row but start heading towards the hole or worn area. The idea is that the starting stiches are anchored in a strong part of the sock. Don't knot the end of the wool. Just hold it against the mushroom with a finger when you need to pull on the thread.
Keep going back and forth across the hole until you are back on "solid sock" on the other side!

One you have done all your up and down stitching, its time to star weaving with your side to side stitching. You are literally reweaving the hole with new thread. I am actually going around last years darn, weaving the strong sock to the old darn.


Finish off by just running the end of the thread back across the darn. Don't use a knot at the beginning or at the end otherwise you will have a lump in your sock that will be really annoying when you wear it!

Sorry the photos aren't the best. I was so settled on the couch that I didn't want to get up and get the real camera - I used my phone camera and its not the best...

Darning socks is more about honing a skill rather than saving lots of dollars. Although I have found that socks with a higher cotton or wool percentage wear better and darn better than cheap polyester socks. So maybe buying better quality socks and darning them when they finally need it is better than constantly buying cheap non natural ones! I really envy people who can knit socks - I think they would be the ultimate kind of socks to have!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for keeping something out of landfill - although a pure wool or cotton sock could go in the compost heap or in the worm farm!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for using items already in the house!
Time cost: Maybe 10-15 minutes per sock. I managed to do all of mine in an hour and a half.
Skill level: Straight line stiching!
Fun-ness: Great fun to fix something and be able to wear it again!


Silver Pen said...

On commercial poly blend socks I find that cotton embroidery floss works great for darning. It wears well and doesn't make a big lump under the foot. It's a little fiddly but I find it worth the effort.

Practical Frog said...

Ah, I hadn't thought of that! I like the wool as it "felts" together as I wear the sock. Its a shame I just read this as I've just done a sock darning session. But, I'm sure I will be darning again before Winter is over! Thanks for the tip Silver Pen! - Kara x

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