Scraphappy Sock Surgery

 

Darning Eggs and Mushrooms

These are eggs and mushrooms, but this blog is not about making omelettes!

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Darning Egg

My Grandmother gave me this darning egg about 55 years ago when she was teaching me how to darn. It was worn when she gave it to me, and is more worn now! I use it  in the toes and heels of socks that need mending.

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channel

This lovely flat darning mushroom has a channel for a string or an elastic that will help to maintain an even tension as you work…

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Wear

…and it is also very scratched and worn on the top surface. I got it and the others of my collection in a bag from a thrift store in this condition.  I use this one for the sides of socks, or for sweaters.

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Ouch!

This one has a worn surface too, because someone (not me!) has used it to pound in a nail…

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Ouch!

…and this one was used as a mallet! Ouch!!

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Scraps of yarn

I use the darning eggs and mushrooms all the time, including on this scrappy project…

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Yarn scraps

…which required scraps of yarn leftover from my mother’s sock-making exploits a dozen or so years ago, and a strand of red from my current sock-knittery.

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Worn

This pair of socks was originally knitted from cuff to heel by my mother, who then sent them to me.  I knitted the heel flap, turned the heels and worked the instep decreases, and then sent them back to my mother.  My mother had always wanted to knit socks but said she was too confused at the idea of turning the heel, so it was my suggestion to split the work that way.These are my dad’s favourite socks, and since my mother died 12 years ago, he has sent them to me for tune-ups and annual repairs. I have done the best I could, but this time they were just too worn out at the heel for further mending, so drastic action needed to be taken.

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Sock surgery

I excised the heels and counted the rows of the middle piece at the instep (24 rows)!

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Knit

Then I picked up the stitches at one side of the old sock, and using a small ball of scrap sock yarn, I knit 12 rows (half the instep). Then I inserted an afterthought heel row using a scrap of red yarn.  Then I knit another 12 rows and grafted the new knitting onto the other old part of the sock.

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Darn!

I left a very long tail to sew the grafting stitches with…and once the sock was all reattached to itself, I used the long tail to “smooth out” the line of grafting using “Swiss Darning” over the lovely wide darning mushroom.

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right arm

To work the heel, I picked up the right arm of each stitch below the red stitches…

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Both

…and then turning the work around, I picked up the right arm of the row below the red row again.

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Unzip!

Then carefully unpicked the red row…

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Gap for the Heel

And ended up with a gap to knit the heel into.  The heel was knitted by decreasing every other row. I used up two different small balls of scrap yarn – one for each heel.

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Afterthought scrappy Heels!

Here are my 89 year old dad’s favourite socks, are all fixed and ready to be returned to him. He may miss the lumps, but I hope he will get many more years of use out of them!

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Heels

As for the scrap heels…

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Mouse

I turned them into catnip mice for my dad’s cat.

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ScrapHappy is a group of bloggers using up scraps of anything – no new materials…Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible, and posts come out once a month on the 15th! If you like the idea and want to join the group, contact Kate or Gun who devised and run this group.  Their blogs are the first two links below:

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27 thoughts on “Scraphappy Sock Surgery

  1. I am in awe of your knitting skills and the cherry on top was making the cute catnip mouse.
    Please continue sharing your scrap happy projects with us.

    • Apparently the cat is very happy with the new catnip mouse toy…tossing it hither and yon, and trying to eviscerate it…it was good to find a use for even the scrappiest scrap in this project!

  2. Tears came to my eyes reading today’s post, Kjerstin. You’ve blessed your dad once again, you’ve been creatively frugal as well and taught those of us who knit (not me unfortunately) how you’ve taken care of that heel issue. Cherry on top of the whipped cream cake-that cute mouse! Thanks for being so inspiring, creative and generous with this gift of your creativity and narration once again.

    • I had no idea how worn those heels actually had gotten! It was fun to try to restore the socks to usefulness, and now I know that this method works! I was happy to do the mending for my dad, and in memory of the amusing time I had knitting heels for my mother.

  3. Beautiful dear Hitty Lady, I loved these darning eggs, how nice you keep them. My grandmother was using them too. But I never used. It was so nice to see them again. Thank you, have a nice week, Love, nia

    • Thank you nia, I think it would be good to remember how to mend things. It is nice to keep the old techniques alive – mending was essential in the past, and we will need t remember how to do it in the future!

  4. Now that is good, old-fashioned frugality! I can earn and use mushrooms and eggs from my collection too, but I’m with your mother on the sock heel thing, mind are never as flat round the back of the foot as they should be.
    I’m sure the cat will love his new toy!

    • Socks are one of my favourite things to knit and like anything, once you’ve done a few, the rhythm just takes over. At this point the socks almost knit themselves! I did learn the “afterthought heel” technique fairly recently and I quite like it, and turned out to be quite useful on this mending job! Erwin is quite delighted with his scrappy heel mouse!

    • You are welcome, I was pleased with the result too! I had heard of replacing the heels as a method, but never tried it because the socks were originally made using a heel flap. But then I realised I knew all the techniques I needed, just hadn’t put it all together like this before. It was very satisfying!

    • My mother was so pleased to be able to knit socks! My dad says he isn’t sentimental, but yet he keeps wearing them and bringing them to me for repairs! I think the actual repairs and techniques don’t interest him, but he certainly is glad to be able to continue wearing his favourite socks…and the cat does love his new mousie-toy!

  5. How amazing!! Your talents just astound me. Your dad must be so pleased… I love the darning eggs…I have one like your black one.

    • I have always liked darning eggs – and mushrooms! The black one is my favourite too because my grandmother gave it to me! My dad does like his socks…he was a bit nonplussed at the new knitting, but as I reminded him, I knit that part of the original sock too!

  6. Wow! What an amazing repair! And invisible, too. I never knew something like this was even possible. I’m sure your father will be really grateful to you.

    • Hand-knitted socks are some of my favourite things to knit and wear! So naturally it behooves me to know how to fix them! This was quite the repair job, but I’ve been wanting to try the “replace the entire heel” technique for a while! It was time for these socks to get a new lease on life!

    • This is only one way! It is pretty drastic though, and simpler methods also work on a smaller hole, or a less threadbare sock! I like the darning mushrooms, they remind me of days gone by, and times when mending was an important skill!

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