I’ve got a few pairs of socks that have reached the ‘won’t survive another wearing’ stage and are awaiting repair. Darning them is one of those jobs that I’m always going to get around to doing and then never do, after all it’s boring and fiddy and I could be knitting instead!
There are several ways to fix a sock. For toes and after-thought/short-row heels you can simply snip a couple of threads of yarn, remove the offending heel/toe and pick up the live stitches to knit a new one. Or you can use Swiss darning which is a form of duplicate stitch to go over the weak spots and create a patch. And there’s also the more traditional darning technique of creating a frame using thread to make new stitches over a hole.
My heels are mainly heel flap and gusset and I don’t think they’d survive an attempt at Swiss darning however, last week I found Knit Picks’ tutorials on darning socks and realised that it would actually be very simple to just knit a patch onto the sock. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!
Before: (You can see why I didn’t want to attempt Swiss darning!)
With over 3 years of wearing and washing I had forgot how vibrant the colours originally were! I did wonder if I’d be able to feel the edges of the patch but I thankfully can’t, the heel feels a bit more padded than my other socks but its comfortable and will probably fade when the original sock heel wears away completely.
The socks that have worn out quickest have been (perhaps unsurprisingly) pure wool socks, either 100% Merino or Blue Faced Leicester. I’m not saying I’ll never knit 100% wool socks ever again, they did alright for a few years not weeks, but I’ll certainly think twice now before using a yarn without any nylon for socks.