Mending socks brings this old saying home!
There were lots of responses to last week's post--take a moment to check them out for some hints and some touching stories.
I looked closely at all my sad pairs of socks in the Big Wooden Bowl of Shame, which sits on the shelf of our coffeetable so I won't set this project aside, and I could see some distinct wear patterns:
- I wear out the underside of the heel right in the little short-row area below the heel flap.
- I wear out the area under the balls of my feet.
- I don't wear out any other areas of the socks.
So, the easiest way to repair a sock is to knit it so that you don't have to repair it, right? Having seen hard proof of my particular way of destroying socks (and every one of us has different wear patterns), I am working out ways to knit socks that will resist wear at these stress points.
- I think that carrying reinforcement yarn on the underside of the sock will be just the ticket. I've got so many projects in progress it's going to be a while before I can test this, however.
- Another important technique to counter wear is to knit socks at a very tight gauge--I remember a great little article by Deb Robson in a long-ago Spin-Off demonstrating the deleterious effects of too-loose gauge. I knit pretty tightly, but I think I could drop down a needle size (to a 0, because I'm such a loose knitter).
- It helps to make sure the socks aren't too large--all that slipping around the foot wears out the sock. I'm going to tighten up just a smidge.
- Clara Parkes, in her wonderful The Knitter's Book of Socks, recommends that we tend to our feet to avoid sock problems: trim those toenails and pumice those scaly heels. Hmmmm.
- Use appropriate yarn: I don't see that any particular yarn range is more prone to wear in my experience. The socks in my repair bowl were knit from Opal, Meilenweit, Online Summersocke, Regia, Trekking.... They just get worn a lot!
So, Sock Repair Hall of Fame!
Each of these had the same problem--the short-row area was developing holes. The yarn was sort of felted, though, rather than worn through, and the felted areas were pulling at the non-felted areas. I couldn't even discern the original stitches, so I did an impromptu wild stitch dance with contrasting sock yarn and called it a day.
This poor pair! I loved them too much, it would appear, and their bottoms are thin and worn. Luckily, they weren't quite worn through, so it was possible to use duplicate stitch, following the original stitches.
Still, it's pretty clear that I shouldn't have waited to reinforce these socks.
Real holes. Both socks in this pair had holes in the ball of the foot--the other sock's holes were much bigger and I decided that cutting off the toe and re-knitting would be faster. This one? I'm going to try one of the guided duplicate stitch options that Mary Thomas shows in her book. (I've got to say, however, that doing this stuff in real life is a lot trickier than the illustrations would lead you to believe. Not that I'm resentful....)