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Mending Day

February 11, 2009


Yesterday my mother-in-law taught me how to darn my socks.  It was exhilarating.  For reals.

My first and only pair of handdyed, handknit socks were unwearable because of holes at the heels and heavy wear at the balls of my feet.  But, of course, I couldn’t bear to throw them away.


But we darned them and now I can wear them.  The darning doesn’t look all that pretty, but I think the mending and reinforcement made the socks stronger than they were before.  That’s good enough for me.


My mother-in-law knows how to darn because she used to mend her family’s socks when she was a child.  She says the last time she did this was when she was eight years old.

mendingShe’s using a shoe polish tin, like her mother used to.

The darning took us about an hour and we each did one sock.  It takes a while, but definitely not as long as knitting a replacement pair of socks.

I have gathered up all my holey handknit socks and will be teaching my knitting friends how to darn.  I’ve never been so excited about holes in handknits.

What about you?  Do you mend your socks?  Take the poll!!  If you have other answers, leave them in the comments!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2009 11:24 am

    this looks so interesting! i think we all should learn how to do this. i can’t believe your MIL still remembers how to do it after all these years!

  2. carpoolknitter permalink
    February 11, 2009 2:25 pm

    I must learn this. Tomorrow. I will be prepared.

  3. February 11, 2009 5:02 pm

    my mum had a special tool in the shape of a mushroom. growing up in england during ww2 it was something you knew how to. my grandmother knew too, having 5 children. and she also knew how to use all scraps of yarn when knitting striped socks. why bother if the heel and toe was of a slightly different colour. and i think i agree. i think that is a bit zimmermannly.

  4. February 11, 2009 8:27 pm

    You’re making–I mean teaching–us to darn socks tomorrow????

    There’s going to be a new revival of sock darning as you teach the triad to darn!

    Shout out to Noreen for the darning action!!

  5. February 11, 2009 9:20 pm

    i have my grandmother’s wood inlaid darning egg – and would LOVE to learn how to darn!

  6. February 12, 2009 4:52 pm

    I can’t believe that you did that! You are one that truly deserves handknits. I feel bad b/c my hubby just wore through his first socks and we threw them away. 😦

  7. h-spo permalink
    February 13, 2009 12:44 am

    i wanted the voting thingy to have this choice:

    “when i have holes in my socks i send them to my sister to darn.”

    you are a smart lady for not including that one…

  8. aimeed permalink
    February 13, 2009 3:07 am

    I don’t technically darn them. I try to catch them before they completely blow out, when they are literally hanging on by a thread, then I duplicate stitch over the entire area, going well into the sound stitches. It takes a bit of time too, but let’s face it: everything about handknit socks takes a bit of time. I have also been known to lop off the entire foot, and reknit it from the ankle down. But only once. They look like Frankensocks, but I never worry about them under my mud boots.

  9. February 13, 2009 10:48 am

    I don’t wear my handknit socks often enough to have had this problem yet, but I’m sure it’ll crop up eventually, and I’ll come back and pester you with questions then! I took a class from Merike Saarniit last year and she said that her darning classes at Stitches are always full. Darn that SW merino sock yarn! Ha. Pun intended. ;o)

  10. Debbie permalink
    February 18, 2009 1:17 pm

    This is wonderful to see. It’s such a shame to throw away good handknits. I want to do this now! Thanks for showing us.

  11. Monika permalink
    April 28, 2009 1:40 am

    My mom uses a “darning egg” that my dad made for her when they first got married! I think it might create a battle as to which of us gets it one day! I learned your MIL’s method of darning many years ago, but recently the owner of my fav LYS told me her way … when she notices that the yarn is thinning, she does duplicate stitches over the thinning area (or you could do this on the new socks to reinforce them right away) 😀 I’ve started carrying the slip stitch reinforcement from the heel placket down along the foot of the socks as I knit them … helps reinforce the soles as well!

  12. September 20, 2009 5:10 pm

    Hi, nice post. Are you still darning? I’m bookmarking this page so I can darn a holey sweater … just as soon as I locate a darning egg, or a tin of shoe polish in NYC.

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