STA44157A re post in honour of zero waste week:

This sock should not have needed darning, because it should never have been knitted! I was entranced with the yarn and thought I might get away with it as this had a variety of fibres in the variegation…but no, it became an ankle warmer the other day 😦

Lesson learned: sock yarn!

always ALWAYS always use sock yarn when knitting socks…and darning the holes in previous aberrations, sigh..

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and buying socks is fraught with disappointment! 2 washes and these alpaca slipper socks had potatoes on the heels, gggrrr…but I have a LOT of pretty sock yarn so I thought I’d make a feature of the darns…Eleanor of Knit Nottingham fame was outraged at this waste of regia, whereas I felt it made the job more fun, and the darns show as i wear these socks with crocs (omg!!! the fashion police reach for their charge books, whileΒ  the disabled nod and say, aah, the anti-slip technique…)

Anyway, this gives me the prod to do a mini tutorial: darning socks

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tools: darning mushroom or smallish tin or tennis ball if you are darning bigfoot’s toe cosies

darning needle: large blunt needle with big eye/tapestry needle/bodkin

yarn of choice: super smooth darning demands 1 or 2ply yarn, but if you are in a hurry 4ply is fine, match or contrast according to taste and remnants πŸ˜‰

-place the mushroom behind the hole

-weave first thread in and out of yarn 2 rows in from the hole

-keep going backwards and forwards, and as you cross the hole, if there are any original threads left, try and weave through them

-continue to two rows after the hole

-now turn sock round by a quarter so you are stitching at right angles to your rows

-weave in and out the lines of yarn, as close as you can to the previous row, till you reach the other side

-remove mushroom and stretch the darn with your fingers from the inside: can you see a lot of gaps? these will HURT when you walk!

-put the mushroom back and weave extra rows through to make the weave more solid and tighter, I often strike through at an angle or make a spiral at this point as I was taught this strengthens the darn

– does it feel and look solid but not clumpy? job done!!

Because a favourite pair of socks is worth repairing, whether hand knitted or not.

It is a very enjoyable task when you are only doing 2 or 3, though in the old days, darning for a big family might have been a bit dull… but even then, I think a lot of people found it satisfying. I remember reading one of the Antarctic exploration teams had competitions for the best darns πŸ˜‰ and of course it is the root of most embroidery stitches in countless traditions round the globe.

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