03 January 2007

Sock Repair 2007

Sorry, sorry...I've been distracted by personal drama. Short version: I hate skeezy landlords, and I hope to be moving in two weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Normally, I subscribe to the Yarn Harlot's version of darning socks, which is to say that you walk over to the trash can, hold the offending sock high over it, call out "Darn!" for all to hear, and drop the sock into the trash. But my very first pair of Socks That Rock socks? One of the first items that I blogged about? The ones I dug into my grandmother's button jar to find buttons for? These had to be saved.

I'm not sure how they snagged where they did; they broke a thread on the right sock, on the outside of the foot, just after the gusset line. My theory is I did a crap job picking up a stitch or something. Anyway, the stitch just snapped. Luckily, I saw it before it did much more than just be one little loose loop. If it had run much more, and had run into the gusset, I might have given up the sock for lost.

So, the first step of repairing my sock was to capture the loose stitch. Now, a quick side note -- I'd seen the loose stitch back before Christmas, and only got around to repairing it on New Years. To keep it tame in the meantime, I stuck a sewing needle into the stitch and wrapped the sock around the needle. No further distress was caused. If you don't poke at knitting, it generally won't unravel, at least not wool.

So, I had the loose stitch trapped, and I grabbed two dpns, of smaller size than I'd used to knit the sock, and I threaded the needles through stitches on either size of the broken one.
I went about an inch to either side of the break, so that I'd have enough yarn to work the ends back in somewhere.

Now, the next part was the part where I wished there was stronger liquor in the house than Sprite. I took the broken thread, and I unwove it from the stitches that were already secured on the needles, in both directions. This resulted in a gaping hole in my sock, and a gasping hole in my face. This was the point of no return. I could have figured out a way to sew that first little hole shut, but now, grafting was the only thing that would save me.

It's also worth noting that, since these socks have seen a fair amount of wear, the bottoms are a little felted, which made unthreading those stitches a bit of a trick. Patience, and a little bit of cursing, helped. And no, I don't think it's bad that they've felted some. My feet sweat and then rub fibers together. I can't be mad at wool for doing what it's designed to do, and also, it gets rid of the purl ridges on the foot of the sock and makes them cozier. No worries.

Anyway, witness the gaping hole.

Once I hit the point of no return, and was done fish-breathing, I was calm. I had no choice but to utilize my skills and fix the socks. A blissful calm decended.

Grafting this hole is the same as grafting a toe. Kitchener stitch. If you don't know it, you should learn it. Seriously. I know toe up socks can avoid it, but toe up socks don't fit my toes. And there are so many other applications of kitchenering than toes -- armpits can be so unsightly when you're doing a raglan, and this technique makes me unashamed to raise my arm!

There are awesome videos to teach you to kitchener on the web; I really recommend learning, even if you do toe up socks. You'll thank yourself.

Here's a couple of stitches grafted -- you can see I'm really not worrying about the tension of the stitches yet.

All the stitches are once again secured. Tension is seriously wonky.

So I took a yarn needle and just tugged each leg of each stitch, from the center out, moving the excess yarn to the outside of the grafted area. After two series of tugs, it looked like this: Nice and flat. I even accidentally chose the right colored yarn fro the area of the break, go figure!

My repaired and once again wearable sock. Ends just got woven into the rest of the sock in the same manner that I weave in ends when I've joined yarn mid-sock.

It's pretty obvious to me where the repair area is, if just because the yarn there looks NEWER, and I didn't quite get the bury right on the left side of the graft. But this is the first time I've actually tried to repair my socks, and I have socks I can still wear, so really, I'm not going to complain.

Yippee skippee and all of that.

Oh, and I have my first FO of the New Year; I finished the worsted Lorna's Laces socks for my brother than were meant to be a Christmas present. Oops. :) But I'm not making a big deal out of it, because all I had to do to FO them was four more rounds of decreases and graft the toe.

But still!

I'll take a picture tomorrow, if I remember, and I'll also show you Scheherazade.


Madge said...

Whew, great save on your STR sox. (love that colorway, too) The gaping hole pic did give me palpitations, though....

Here's to starting 2007 on a high note - FOs already - yay!

AlisonH said...

Wow, look at that! Oh Kristine. Can you come over here and play with my aunt's afghan? It has major holes in it and I'm scared to go near it, and I promised I'd fix it.

Karin said...

Nice job fixing that sock. Great pictures, too!!
I'm proud of you. :)

Sheila said...

Nice job darning. I need to learn to darn. There is too much work in my handknit socks not to darn them!!

Anonymous said...

Kristine, your work is always "just so". I love it! Nice, even stitches with neat and tidy finishing. Even your worn and lightly felted STR sock looks so well made! Kudos on doing such nice work!

Tammy said...

Wow, I wouldn't be able to get rid of my STR socks either. What a great job of fixing them!!

Sheila said...

Great pictures of saving your sock. I just had my first sock tragedy. I wore through the heel of one and very thread bear on the other. I spent the afternoon at the LYS learning how to duplicate stitch the thread bear one. And with great assistance from the owner, repairing the rather large hole. Of course, they are my fav. pair! I wanted to let you know that I have you posted as a blog I read. Let me know if you would like to link to me.