Tuesday, April 25, 2006

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  • Darn It! Part I

    I'm a knitter, not a sock repair person.
    -Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (loosely qtd. from memory),
    Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter

    My feet are cold. You've seen the box o' socks. How can that be, you wonder? Note that there are actually three sock boxes - the big one has all of my sock-yarn, fingering-weight, etc. socks - mostly wool and wool blends, and definitely warmer than your average store-bought monstrosities. But they are not subzero socks. They are not up for spending many hours outside standing in snow taking photos of knitted objects. No, such occasions send us to the smaller (and original) box o' socks which holds the big, thick wooly socks, including the warmest of all possible socks, two pairs of Dawn Brocco's free pattern for Lopi Socks. The third and newest box o' socks holds - with it's beachy theme - my wool-cotton blend socks and also the footie half-socks that I wear to work all summer. I have plenty of socks. Of the 94 pairs I've knit, more than 30 are still in my possession.

    So what's the problem? Socks with no shoes, meet hard wood floors. After years (in some cases) of faithful service, some of my socks have gotten holes.

    In her second (and very funny) book Stephanie Pearl Mc-Phee talks about how knitting a pair of socks is the ultimate love - because they take hours and hours to knit, and then - when used as intended - they wear out. She maintains that she darns socks the way her mother taught her - she holds the damaged socks over the trash can and yells "darn it" as loud as she can. Admirable spirit, that.

    Nevertheless, my feet are cold, I have many other things to knit, and thought it would take less time to fix the holes than knit whole pairs of new socks, even in worsted weight yarn. Enter darning.

    Darning has a pragmatic side - faster than knitting two new socks, but it also has a sentimental side. On the one hand, I tend to like my socks and want to keep them. On the other hand, I can channel Laura Ingalls Wilder. Works for me.

    The socks above are Koigu feather and fan socks, and the socks to the left are striped odd balls of worsted weight wool. For our tutorial, we'll look at the striped ones, since I'm out of the original yarn and it'll be easier to see what's going on in a contrasting color. So come back tomorrow to see how we fixed them.

    Can you stand the suspense?


    Blogger Emma said...

    Poor holey socks! I will come back to see how you fix them, because this is something I worry about with hand-knitted socks.

    4/25/2006 6:02 AM  
    Blogger Lynda said...

    ooooh, what will you do? I had my first hole, in my sock exchange socks, no less; however, they were made for me by none other than Julia Vesper, who kindly sent along a tiny ball of matching leftover yarn just for such an occasion! (of course, do I take note and set aside the same from all the socks I've knit... uh, no)

    4/25/2006 7:30 AM  
    Blogger amanda said...

    I'm all about a tutorial if you're channeling Laura :o) That would be like a tutorial with a cherry on top!

    4/25/2006 8:12 AM  
    Blogger Wendy said...

    You're just killing me - can't take the suspense!!!

    And, my Koigu socks are in sad sad need of repair . . .


    4/25/2006 8:29 AM  
    Blogger Stephanie said...

    Oh, come on! I've been pondering this darning thing for awhile and I want to see how you do it. You're such a tease.

    4/25/2006 8:59 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'll try to hold my breath for 24 hours... ;)

    4/25/2006 9:16 AM  
    Blogger Carrie K said...

    Now this I'm dying to see because I fully plan on darning my socks when they wear out. My wooly ones at least. I was thinking more of channeling......someone English and 18th century, but LIW works.

    4/25/2006 10:15 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Cute socks. I especially like the yarn you used for the purple / pink one...love the color!

    4/25/2006 2:52 PM  
    Blogger Jenn said...

    You're Harlot-famous today! Woo Hoo!
    Oh, and I really am excited about the socks too. Really.

    4/25/2006 3:07 PM  
    Blogger Chris said...

    Definitely looking forward to this, because I have two faithful pairs of socks laid low by holes...

    4/25/2006 3:53 PM  
    Blogger Kris said...

    Hmmm - darning - I am not sure that I can do that. Not that I can't technically, but I am dang sure I don't want to! Can't wait to see your tutorial.

    4/25/2006 4:37 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Well, my oldest pair of socks is something like six weeks old, but I will wear them with abandon knowing that there's hope for them if I wear them out. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

    4/25/2006 6:27 PM  

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