Recently in Knit Repair Category

When Darning isn't Enough

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You know your husband loves his socks when he wears them a lot and he doesn't notice that they have suffered an incredible trauma.  Of course, you also know you are a crazy sock knitter, when you find yourself looking at your husband's socks at the dinner table, thinking that one of his socks looks different from the other and then asking him to show you the bottom of his feet and finally demanding that he remove his sock immediately while you consider repair options.

20081116_SockRepair1.jpgThis is the toe of one of John's "Mudslide" socks.  These socks are made of STR Heavyweight, and when it gets cold, John reaches for these socks first (at least that is what he tells me... but he is a wise man and he has learned to flatter his sock knitter every now and again if he wants new socks),  I spent a while evaluating that hole and decided it was just too far gone for simple darning.  More drastic measures would have to be taken to repair this pair of over loved foot warmers.

The first thing I did was determine the region over which the weak yarn was located.  Around the edges of the hole, there was significant wear, so I decided I would make sure that my replacement job repaired as much damage as possible.  After I identified what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to go, I put a set of needles in the first row of stitches that I wanted to keep below the hole.

20081116_SockRepair2.jpgThen I repeated the process above the hole and worn area.  If you pick up the right hand side of the "V" in the knit stitch, you'll get the stitches seated correctly on the needles.

Since there was already a hole, I didn't worry about snipping yarn, I just unravelled from the hole down to the bottom needles and up to the top needles.

20081116_SockRepair3.jpgThis left the toe on the top needles and the rest of the sock topped by the needles that had been below the hole.   I joined some yarn I had remaining from the project (this is the reason that it is always good to keep a little yarn in reserve if you can) and knit back the rows that I had taken out.  When I got to the point where I needed to join the toe, I grafted the toe onto the rest of the sock using Kitchener Stitch.  What you see here is the sock just before I started grafting.

20081116_SockRepair4.jpgI didn't photograph the grafting part (if you'd like grafting instructions there are good instructions in both Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook and the Vogue Knitting book as well as the Knitter's Companion) but this picture shows the result of my labor.  The only really obvious sign of the repair work is that the new yarn is a bit more vivid than the old yarn, which is not surprising given that these socks have been through the wash quite a few times.

20081116_SockRepair5.jpgThe color (and pooling) differences are a bit more obvious when you see the whole sock.  Fortunately, since the repair is in the toe, and it wasn't too obvious, it won't be noticeable to the "sock police" who apparently inspect men's socks for their uniform drabness and conformity to a very limited set of colors, textures and styles.   And because of that, it was happily accepted back into John's sock drawer, along with its mate.  The mate will likely need a similar repair in the future (hopefully I have enough left over yarn for that when it happens) but for now they can be pressed back into foot warming service as Chicago proceeds to welcome the arrival of winter.

I know some folks don't bother with sock repair, and normally I'm in that category, but in this case, it was definitely easier to repair than to knit a whole new pair of socks.  And it always makes me happy to see John smile when he knows I've done something special for him to help him hold onto something in his warddrobe that he really likes.

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