Socks to Go the Distance
For me, July means socks, spinning, and the Tour de France. I plan to watch the Tour while spinning my own self-striping sock yarn, inspired by the striping yarns from the summer issue of Sockupied. (Yes, I also bought some of the lovely self-striping yarns from the review, but I still want to make my own.)
When I finish any pair of socks I imagine it lasting forever. There may be no socks that I want to keep from wearing out as much as handspun socks: after spinning the yarn and knitting the socks I want to keep them for years to come. Here are my tips for long-lasting socks.
Call in reinforcements.
When you think of reinforcing socks, you probably think first of carrying along another yarn. Another strand of wool or nylon in the heel can help strengthen the heel or toe (and add a nice bit of color, too).
Reinforcement threads are a little more difficult to use for just one part of the sock when it’s worked in the round. My socks wear out first at the ball of the foot, but I don’t want to carry an extra thread all the way around the instep.
Even when I can’t use reinforcing thread, I can use reinforcing stitches. You’re probably familiar with the slip-stitch patterns such as Eye of Partridge that strengthen the flap of a sock. There are other ways to reinforce specific areas of a sock. Working twisted stitches or using a smaller needle in just the at-risk area will help it stand up to wear.
Eunny Jang showed me two different darning methods, including a simple technique my Dad first taught me when I was little to darn socks. (His thrift still prevails: He turns cuffs and collars on his shirts and mends his own jeans, too!) To help you learn one method for sock darning, here’s an excerpt from Eunny’s article that will show you how.