Assuming you're a human being, you probably know this story as well as I do: The threads of your favorite pair of socks have worn down and created a hole. You have continued to wear them with your big toe hanging out. Your dog has pointed it out to you with her wet nose. Your parents have begun to worry about you and your financial state. You try to ignore that cold spot inside your boots. You yank your socks off for what you believe to be the last time. You dangle them over the trash can. A tear rolls down your cheek. But wait! You favorite socks can be saved!
Here is a simple tutorial on how to mend that hole to lengthen your sock's life expectancy.
The basic idea of sock darning is to replace the material that has worn away and to reinforce the material that is still there. Essentially, what you'll be doing is weaving. There are multiple ways to darn, I will just be giving you one of the more basic techniques.
NOTE: Keep in mind when you're looking at my pictures that I should have made my initial cross threads closer together. I would suggest you make them closer, it will give you a tighter weave and, in the end, a more durable patch.
What you'll need:
- A sock with a hole in it
- A Darning Egg or a Darning Mushroom
- Darning needles or long, blunt craft needles that aren't too thick
- and string, or a very small yarn, or embroidery floss (You want to make sure it's not too coarse, otherwise it wouldn't be very comfortable to wear after)
I wish that my egg was a little larger. It works fine, but if you're buying on new I would suggest you get something a little bigger. I think it would just be easier to work with. I also would not steer you away from a mushroom. I have never used one but I have heard good things about them from those who have.
Step 1. Put the egg into your sock and line the hole up with the end of the egg. Hold the handle with your left hand (assuming you are a righty, reverse it if you are not) so that the sock is not bunched up on the egg. If you pull the sock too tighty your patch will be too big if it's too loose the patch will be too small. Make sure it's just tight enough around the egg that there isn't tension on the threads, but you can clearly see them all laid out.
I have seen some people put a rubber band around the sock and egg to help hold it all in place while you work. I have not tried this but you certainly can if that sounds helpful to you.
Step 2. Start by putting your needle in at one side of the hole and pulling it almost all the way through so that you leave a tail that's just a few inches long. Don't tie any knots yet.
Even with a round hole you need to visualize it as if it were almost square. Keeping that in mind, start sewing across the hole so that there are threads laid out over the hole in a consistent pattern. Usually you can see that the threads right around the hold are beginning to wear out, keep your threads beyond that. Stitching into the material that is currently in good condition will help to reinforce the threads that are beginning to to show wear.
If you are familiar with weaving, this step is creating your warp.
Step 3. Once you have your warp laid out you will begin weaving. Start from which ever corner you ended the last step in and start stitching threads in the opposite direction. Go in an under-over-under-over pattern using the threads you just put there. at the end of each row, stitch into the sock to hold the threads in place. If there is sock material under where you are weaving stitch into it when you go "under." Incorporating that into the weave will make the patch stronger.
Every couple of rows, push the strings towards the end where you started weaving. You want the weave to be as tight as possible and the strings and stitches to be as close together as you can make them without them overlapping.
Step 4. To finish you need the last stitch to be right beside where your first stitch was. If it is not, do one more weave across in the appropriate direction to make it so. Take the two ends of the string (The start string and the end string) and tie them together in a nice, tight knot. Cut the loose ends of the knot.
At this point you can admire your handy work and congratulate yourself on giving your socks new life. Job Well done.
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