Darned Socks

Tuesday, October 04 2005

Next posts will probably deal with The Inadvisability of Dumping Gasoline Into A Running Carbeurator, and How To Pour Your Foot from a Boot. Today, however, it’s time to take a stroll over to Low Pay Corner for some helpful tips.

It’s the boots. Steel-toed boots just have a thing for socks. No matter how closely one trims his toenails, even down to the nail bed, even a brand-spanking new steel-toed boot is going to put a hole in the socks. This means we replace a lot of socks.

“Woe!” we cry, “Our pay is insufficient for such lavish weekly outlay!” Be of good cheer – for $5.00 or so in material one may keep a flotilla of footwear comfortably repaired. In about three minutes (per sock).

What you’ll need: A thingy of yarn (a skein? I don’t know the terminology, see the picture); a tapestry needle or a needle from a kid’s rug craft kit; the needle should be pointy but not sharp; something called a “darning egg”, which is just a rounded wooden block. These three things can be bought at Total Crafts, or Michaels, or whatever your local hobby/crafts store is called, for less than five bucks. Scissors are probably lying around the house, but you need those too. The thingy of yarn pictured is one I’ve been chipping away at for over eight months, repairing many a sock, so this isn’t going to be a $5/week expense.

And a sock with a hole in it.

Okay, so here’s the stuff:


This works best, by the way, if you do not launder the sock first – take it off, air it out, fix the hole, and then launder it – we’ll get to why that is at the end. If your feet are that bad, put on some gloves first.

Slip your hand into the sock and find the hole. Notice the thin, dark horizontal seam below the hole? We’re gonna use that.

a sock - with a hole.

Grab the darning egg, wooden block, top of the bedpost, whatever you’re using, with the sock hand and turn the sock inside-out around it:

Now, the needle and yarn. Pass the yarn through the needle, about six inches, and leave it hanging. Do not tie the yarn to the needle, nor tie it to itself, nor double it up as one would thread. Just leave six inches or so hanging from the end so it doesn’t slide back out from the needle’s eye. Pull about a yard of yarn from the ball (or skein, or whatever it’s called) and snip it.

DTs is left-handed so reverse these instructions if that makes it more comfortable.

Start above the hole, and about half an inch to the left of the hole. Jab needle. Pass it along the egg and out just below the sock seam line:

Pull the yarn through but leave enough sticking out the top so you can fold it over the top of the hole, thus:

Now, back: The needle should enter just to the right of where it came out, at the bottom, but above the seam – that seam is going to keep the loop from pulling through. Pass the needle between the sock and the egg, as before, and come out above the folded-over yarn bit:

That’s it. Loop over the foldy bit, into the sock, and back down below the seam; above the seam and above the foldy bit, back and forth, keep the ins and outs close together. About sixty seconds of this and you’ll be halfway done:

halfway there

No special tricks at this point – just keep going. When you’ve gone past the edge of the hole, just go a bit further. You can end up with the needle sticking past the seam or the foldy bit, it doesn’t matter. Snip off the yarn and leave about an inch or so:

all done, too soon to be therapeutic

Turn right-side out and remove the stinky egg, put all the junk away until next sock.

“DTs, you moron!” you sneer. “What keeps my Biggest Piggy from poking through this flabby fence of yarn, like a neighbor sticking his head through Venetian blinds?”

Aha! This is why we fixed a sock in need of washing. In the washer, and dryer, the yarn frays microscopically and each line attaches to the next – a process they call “felting”. While it doesn’t form a continuous cloth from your yarny zigzags, it does bind them together. Trust me.

If you really need to, you can match the yarn to the sock, and buy a bunch of different-colored yarns. I purposely clashed the colors to show the process better.


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