Darning a sock or two…

I did it! I darned my first pair of socks! I’ll warn you, the results aren’t perfect (actually, far from it), but I’m proud of them, and I’ve learned a couple of things for next time!


darn –verb (used with object)
1. to mend, as torn clothing, with rows of stitches, sometimes by crossing and interweaving rows to span a gap.

If you spend time knitting a pair of socks, you’ll probably want to fix them when they develop a hole. (I mean, it would take you hours to knit a whole other pair!) I’m pretty rough on my socks (I wear them around the house, which is evidently a no-no), and so holes do occur. I decided it was time to learn to darn.

Darning is basically doing a duplicate stitch over thinning fabric, or (when a hole has erupted) creating a little framework with yarn to do the duplicate stitch on. I found this tutorial, which has really great step-by-step instructions.

And do you know what? It wasn’t so hard! I’ll admit: my first attempt (pictured above) isn’t perfect. I no longer have the yarn that I knitted the socks with, so my repair is pretty visible. And, I was trying to finish the socks before I headed off to work, so the workmanship is mediocre. But it’s functional! And worst case, my repair will wear through, and I’ll just do it again!

I do have a few tips:

  • Check your socks to make sure that there aren’t parts that are getting thin. It’s much easier to repair a thinning spot (and prevent a hole from forming) than it is to repair a hole.
  • When you finish knitting a pair of socks, save a little bit of spare yarn for repairs. I would estimate about 10 yards will do a lifetime of repairs. Your finished result will look much nicer if the repair matches the sock!
  • If you develop a lot of holes on the heel, you may want to invest in a darning egg. They aren’t too pricey, and it will make sure that you form the repair into a proper shape. Anything egg shaped will work, so if you’re low on funds, even a plastic Easter egg can do.
  • If it’s your first time darning, I would recommend practicing the duplicate stitch on either a swatch or a thinning sock before attempting to fix a hole. Learning the rhythm of the stitch is useful for when you get to the tricky spots.

I’m delighted that I’m now able to repair my socks so that I can keep on wearing them. If you think your socks are completely beyond hope, you may consider frogging them and reusing the yarn. Isn’t it wonderful how much you can do with knitting?