Smug

How about an action shot of the finished product. Well, if by action shot, you mean ‘peak coziness’ shot, not any sort of actual industrious striding about doing things.

And again, if I’d done the mending (and extra padding) with yarns that were a closer color match, these would be basically invisible after few wears. As it is, they’ll continue to be…um…high contrast. But the socks will also be much comfier (thanks to the padding) and should last several more years (thanks to the mending).

So…tend to your knits people. It’s not hard (especially if you catch damage early). It’s faster than knitting new things. And you’ll get to feel unbearably smug about (potential smugness is a significant motivator for me, might as well admit it).

Further improvements

Ok, so there’s the first one done!⁠

You can see I ended up doing a second area of duplicate stitch, but it’s a little funny looking. That’s because, when I handed them back to their owner for a fit check, the heel was declared delightfully cushiony…and now that it was so soft and cozy, it became clear that the ball of the foot was…less so.⁠

That’s largely because I knit these socks back in my ‘what? what do you mean my stitches are twisted? aren’t they all supposed to be like this?’ phase of being a baby knitter. So the whole foot is twisted stitches. And between the twisted stitches and the rather unsuitable yarn, you can sometimes get a sock that feels a bit rope-y under foot…sort of like standing on burlap.⁠

And there’s not really a way to fix the whole foot being twisted stitches. But we can add some padding.⁠

I wasn’t going to have enough of the original yellow yarn to do the ball and heel both, so I picked another yarn (slightly thinner since I was just adding a bit of cushion, not repairing a worn spot). Then I duplicate stitched over the part of the sock that is under the ball of the foot when it’s on. ⁠

But I’m very lazy, and didn’t want to do that much duplicate stitch, so I cheated. I stretched each row of duplicate stitching over two rows of my knitted fabric. That gives a less dense patch, but it’s still plenty to make the socks just a bit softer under foot (and gets done in half the time).⁠

So, sort of a franken-sock vibe as far as the aesthetics go, but by all reports they are much more comfy now, and should be good for many more years of wear!

And repeat…

Now we settle in for the actual mending. ⁠


⁠But first things first, I was not in charge of this color selection. The original yarn is long gone, so I asked the sock’s owner if we should go with as close a match as possible, or something super high contrast. ⁠The vote went for super high contrast.⁠

So I rummaged around in the scraps bin for something of a suitable weight and fiber content (generally you want to get something fairly close to your original yarn, though it’s not a hard and fast rule) and settled on this. Yellow and purple totally count as high contrast.⁠

As for how I’m actually fixing the thin spot? It’s just duplicate stitch. Which I won’t teach you because I’m mean, and countless other (nicer) folks have already written up endless sets of instructions and I can think of no good reason to duplicate that work. But if you google something like ‘duplicate stitch, mending’ you’ll find all you ever wanted to know.

It’s my favorite way to reinforce thin spots and can even be used if you have some missing stitches. I firmly believe it’s the most useful technique for mending your knitting, and you should add it to your store of sneaky tricks.⁠

Always remember to extend the patch at least a few stitches/rows on either side of the thin spot, and try and keep your tension even as you work, but otherwise there really are no tricks to this. You’re just recreating the fabric that’s wearing thin. All it takes is a bit of patience!

Venerable

Mending time! But first, before you start mending, a little bit of prep work is in order.

Actually, we need to take an even bigger step back. This is probably the very oldest knitting I’ve ever shown around these parts. These socks are from 2008. You know, back when we were all young and well rested, did not have a failed reality tv personality encouraging a coup, did not have anxiety dreams about leaving of the house without a face mask, and had no idea what instagram was because it hadn’t been invented yet.

They’ve been in spouse’s sock drawer for well over 12 years now, and have held up shockingly well given that I used wildly unsuitable yarn and did not yet know the difference between twisted and untwisted knit stitches and so everything I knit in the round ended up with all twisted stitches.

But, while my knitting skills back then left something to be desired, I was good at the sock lecture. The sock lecture goes like this ‘as you wear these (and you should totally wear them, seriously, please wear them), they will get worn spots. This is normal! However, if look for the worn spots when you take them off, and tell me about them as soon as you see them, I can fix them, and you’ll be able to wear them much longer.’

So over the winter break, spouse comes to me, socks in hand, and points out a worn spot (it’s the heel turn, which is apparently the only spot on the whole thing where I didn’t use twisted stitches).

I take a moment to double check that they really are that old, reel in shock for a moment, then make a mending plan. We’ll talk about the actual stitching later. For now, I want to talk about how, before I did anything, I blocked the socks and took the gleener to them to get rid of 12 years worth of fuzzies (no, this isn’t sponsored, I just like that tool).

Because really, look at this. One of those socks is blocked and defuzzed. One is rumpled and covered in fluff. It’s going to be way easier to mend them once they’ve gotten a little help.

So, soon we will stitch. But first we will prep. And then we’ll see just how long we can keep these socks going!