DarnThere’s a hole in my sock!

Party Socks by Nancy Bush, from Knitting Traditions.

Ever since I got my issue of Knitting Traditions, I've been thinking a lot about knitting socks. I'm planning to knit the Party Socks by Nancy Bush (photo at left) and I'm in the swatching process.

The yarn I want to use is beautiful—it's soft and a lovely charcoal color. I love my swatch so much it's hard to stop knitting! But I've heard that this particular yarn is fragile at the toe and heel, so I'm thinking of adding a reinforcing yarn. I've never done that before, have any of you?

In the meantime, I need to mend some socks I made for my mom a couple of years ago. They're beautiful socks, made from Schaefer Yarns "Anne," with a lacy cuff and a stockinette foot. Mom's worn them for two winters now and they're starting to wear at the heel.

I've been researching information about darning socks, and lo and behold I found what I was looking for in a back issue of Interweave Knits. It's good to know I'll have this technique on hand just in case I need to mend my Party Socks in a year or so.

This process will work for any piece of knitting, which is great because I have a summer sweater that needs mending, too!


Mending Techniques for Knitted Garments
by Beth Brown-Reinsel


My friend Mimi's gramma left her this beautiful, glass darning egg.

Here's what you need to repair a knitted garment:

  • The garment in need of repair
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needles, both blunt and sharp
  • A darning egg—helpful, but not essential. An orange will also work for tapered areas.
  • Yarn to repair the garment with, hopefully leftover from the same used for the garment. If that's not available, choose a yarn close in color and fiber content.


First assess the hole in your garment and envision it squared off. Using a tapestry needle with a sharp point, sew a rectangle or square around the hole. Be sure to pierce at least one half of each stitch that borders the hole. Piercing the yarns will ensure that no further unraveling occurs. If you create your rectangle far enough away from the edge of the hole, you can safely go under each half stitch with your needle, rather than pierce it. Still, I recommend piercing the yarns. A good foundation row will reinforce the edge stitches, giving a solid base to the darning, and make the repair last longer. For a very solid base, work two foundation rows 1⁄8" apart all the way around the hole. This is especially good for fine gauge knitting.
Sew a rectangle or square around the hole.
Once the foundation is laid, sew your yarn back and forth across two sides of the rectangle. These warp threads should travel around (under, then over) the foundation row once, so that two warp threads occupy the same space as two halves of each knit stitch, thereby maintaining yarn density. I use a blunt tapestry needle from this point on. A blunt needle is less likely to split the yarns, and split yarns can be very tricky to deal with.
Sew yarn back and forth across
two sides of the foundation stitches.
Now move your blunt tapestry needle over and under the warp yarns, going around the foundation yarn, then turn back and weave under and over in the opposite direction. Be sure that you go under yarns that were gone over in the last pass, and vice versa. Every few rows, use the tapestry needle to push the rows of weft against each other, packing them toward the first row. Don't pack it too hard, or your darned area will feel like a board. Sew in your ends on the wrong side. You're done!
Weave a weft over and under the warp yarns.
Weave as many rows as necessary to fill the hole. And . . . you're done!

I hope you've enjoyed this darning lesson; may your socks have long lives! (And if you haven't gotten your issue of Knitting Traditions yet, hurry up before they're gone!)



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