Fall

It’s cool enough to reach for a sweater, and around here, that means this ancient, lovely thing.  It also means patching up the latest round of holes (seriously, the fabric is thinner than a tshirt, it gets tiny holes if you so much as look at it).

Luckily, that’s something I rather enjoy.

If you peruse the embroidery tag on here, you’ll see many of the previous mends.  (This is the bit where I preemptively mention that I can’t show you the whole thing at once because the mends are all over and there is no way to take a photo that encompasses all of them, plus the sweater is big and the mends are small, so if I try and take a picture of the whole think it looks like junk…you’ll just have to live with the mystery.)

 

My on going quest for indestructible socks

So I really do mean it when I say I mend my socks.

Every time I take them off, I check for thin spots.  If there’s just a little thin spot, I’ll wash them first and then mend them.  If there’s an actual hole, I’ll fix them before I wash them because washing them with a hole can make the hole bigger (which is maybe gross? but whatever…it’s just socks…you can wash your hands after).

I strongly prefer catching it while it’s just a thin spot because then you can just duplicate stitch over it.  (This is the bit where I am extremely mean and say that if you want info on exactly how to do that, your best bet is going to be to google ‘duplicate stitch’ and you’ll find zillions of tutorials on it…I’m totally just showing off ‘hey, I mended these’ not at all doing ‘hey, here is step by step exactly how you do it’ because it is not that sort of week, and other folks have already done that way better than I ever will.)

A few minutes work and it’s all better.  I have socks that are nine years old and still going strong, but an awful lot of them have the odd patch here and there.  Totally worth it to keep them in the rotation for another few years.

So what do you think…will you mend yours?  Or would you rather just knit a new pair?

Darn

So The Boy knocked on my office door, brow furrowed, injured socks in hand.  Now these socks are old…like nearly ten years old.  And they’ve already been mended once.  But they are still in surprisingly good shape, and I’d much rather darn them than knit a whole new pair.  So I fixed them.

For a hole like this I need a couple of locking stitch markers (I use these, love them to bits) and a tiny crochet hook (I have this set, which comes in handy more than you might think for someone who doesn’t crochet) and some yarn (the orange shade from a Frabjulous Fibers color morph on Cheshire Cat in the Yellow to Fuchsia colorway…I had a bit leftover from the cover piece from Curls 3 and it’s what I used on the previous mend so I knew it was a good match), and a darning needle.

I always start by grabbing any dangling stitches and securing them with a locking stitch marker (one per stitch) to keep things from getting any worse while I work (you can see another example of that here).  In this case, there were three that needed to be held in place.

Then, one by one, I use the crochet hook to work those stitches as far back in as much as I can (this is very much like running a dropped stitch back up as you knit).  It won’t fix everything, but it is a good start.

Then I pull off a length of yarn and start duplicate stitching.  I like to make sure I am at least two full rows below the hole and two full stitches to either side of the hole (more is fine, especially if the fabric is thin).  I just leave the stitch markers in place as I work as they help me rebuild the missing fabric.  I can’t tell you exactly how to do it, because every repair is a little different.  But with practice, you get a feel for how the yarn travels and you can repair fairly large areas of missing fabric (this is a tiny bit of missing fabric, like two stitches).

There it is all done!  It’s not invisible, but it will be a bit less noticeable after this is washed and worn a few more times.

And just in case you’re curious, here’s how the mend from over a year ago is holding up.

Totally worth the time to fix it!

Mending

So for a good solid year after I broke my leg, I either had to wear this oh-so-stylish compression brace or my ankle was puffy enough that knit socks were tricky to wear.  Which is Something Of A Disappointment if, say, you have a giant basket of hand knit socks that you love dearly and wear constantly.

But…just lately…the ankle has started behaving itself, and I’m back in my socks.  These are particularly stretchy and so were one of the first ones back in rotation.  I noticed they had a tiny little bit of a thin spot on one of the heels, so I patched it up before it went back in the basket this time.

I’m a firm believer in mending my socks.  They take an age to knit, I’m not throwing them away before I absolutely have to.  These are nine years old, and there’s no reason they can’t last many more years with just a bit of attention.  Before you ask, I have a lot of socks so each one only gets worn once every few weeks at most (I try and enforce even wear by waiting until they’re all dirty and doing one giant load of sock laundry rather than just wearing the same five socks over and over), and I’m picky about my sock yarn, and I knit socks with a seriously tight fabric…that’s how I have nine year old socks.

So how about you, any old socks in your sock basket?  Do you mend your socks?  Or is that taking things a bit too far?

Done! Er…for now…

And with that, I’m calling this patch of stitching done.

The first bit of stitching was in a previous post, the middle bit is below.  If you want to watch the progression of stitches on these, you can check out the embroidery tag on here and scroll backwards.

Now, it’s all but certain I will get/find another hole in this some time soon.  And I’ve given in and bought spare of all the colors I used stitching this so I can keep repairing it as I run out of thread (it’s just DMC embroidery floss, which you can find for like the cost of a stamp at pretty much any hobby store).

Now, for the housekeeping bits.  First off, no, I won’t show you the whole thing.  I’ve tried, and there’s not a way to take a picture that both shows all of the stitching and looks good (the stitching is small, the sweater is large, it just doesn’t work), so I’m not going to do it.  You’ll have to live with the mystery.

And second, there are lots of books on stitching if you want to read one.  I’ve recommended this one and this one and this one and this one in the past.  There are online guides too.  But I pretty much just made it up as I went along, and that method has a lot to recommend it.  You can always pick it out if you don’t like it!