Darn It, Pollyanna!

Anna-Liza here.  Two pair of my handknit socks have holes now, and one is my favorite cream-colored cabled pair.

I know the Yarn Harlot’s way to darn socks – say “Darn it!” in a loud voice while dropping them into the wastebasket, but she also apparently knits at the speed of sound about five times faster than I do, so I’m going to have to learn a more … restorative way to darn them.

Actually, that should be past tense, because I’ve gone and done it. Here are a couple of “before pictures”:

The one in the cream socks was on the sole, at the ball of the foot. The ones in the wine socks were where my big toes’ nails wore holes – super-nails, they are, and I don’t know why I don’t wear holes at that spot more often. The cream ones are sock yarn and the wine ones are worsted weight.

I wanted to learn Swiss darning, which is basically duplicate stitch but, of course, if you don’t catch the holes before they become holes (when the yarn is wearing thin but hasn’t broken yet), you don’t exactly have an existing stitch to duplicate. I found some videos to help me out with that. (This post isn’t a tutorial, because these videos are much more helpful than anything I could show you).

You get the idea. (These videos are both from Knitpicks, by the way). I watched the videos and I borrowed a darning egg from a neighbor, who said “Those? I’d heard that’s what they were for. We’ve got three or four. I can loan you one.” Apparently they have them around as tchatchkes. (Thanks, Jackie and Dan! It was quite useful). If I hadn’t happened to have run into Dan and mentioned it in passing, I would have been using a light bulb.

Here’s the cream sock repair in progress:

I still have a lot of the yarn from these socks. Unfortunately, the wine socks used up all my yarn, so I had to improvise. I didn’t even have anything close to that color. So I went with a different color with the same value, and it worked better than I expected.

The contrast is much less obvious when I’m wearing the socks and looking at them from a bodylength away – the deep green almost blends in with the deep wine color. And anyway, the repaired spots will be inside my shoes.

I got really ambitious and repaired a hole in the sleeve of one of Darlin’ K’s pullovers, a nice Norwegian-style one that he looks dashing in. I used the cream sock yarn, which was actually a reasonably close match to the marled sportweight yarn the sweater was originally made of. (No, I didn’t make that one – he’s had it since before I met him). I forgot to take pictures, but it turned out well.

I will say that a really good source of light is enormously helpful. I did the dark socks next to a window on a sunny day. Even with the lighter colors, a good light was very important. And the darning egg was crucial, too. I wouldn’t need something exactly that size and shape, but something hard, smooth, with curved surface that fits into the garment and can be held easily would be required. Something like …  a lightbulb (thanks for that tip, Marin!) Or a mini-football. Or … a darning egg.

I want a darning egg. Darn it.


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