Monday, September 08, 2008

That Darn Egg

Marie asked how the darning egg works. Wish I could say it does the darning for me *G*, but it is at least a helpful tool. Basically, it helps stabilize the fabric while the darning is in process.



The egg goes inside the sock. I'm gripping the handle with my left hand, which is at the same time pulling the fabric fairly taught.
If you look closely at the left edge of the hole, you will see that this sock has already been darned once. Normally I would say that the second hole is the signal to just let the sock go and knit a new one. But (for a wonder) this is the only one that currently has a hole available for demonstration.

The first thing I do is work a rectangle of running stitches around the hole to make a frame, or foundation for the darn. It's important to go out far enough to be working on sock threads that are still strong and unworn. Besides helping to hold the sock in place, the darning egg gives a surface to push the needle against. Oh, and the needle should be a blunt one, not sharp.
I would normally use yarn close in color to the sock, the white is for demonstration purposes.



Working up and down over two parallel edges of the running stitch "frame", I lay the "warp" threads. These should be as nearly parallel to each other as possible and fairly close. (That left side is actually looking not so good.) At the top and bottom, each warp thread should go around the thread forming the running stitch. These shouldn't be pulled super tight, because the weaving in the next step will take up some slack, but they shouldn't be loose and sloppy either. That perpendicular thread is just the tail from my first stitch. Pay no attention to it. I will weave it in later.



Finally, I use the needle to weave a weft through the warp threads (pretty much like using one of those metal potholder weaving frames from childhood). One row goes over, under, over under, over. The next goes under, over, under, over, under. At each side, the weaving thread goes around the running stitches before turning around and working in the other direction.



All done. Not the world's neatest job, but you get the picture.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. I've never been able to understand how that was done before. Your step by step directions & photos are great!
Phyll in Central Florida

Cindy G said...

Thanks Phyll!

YarnThrower said...

Thank for teaching me how to darn socks! I've tried my hand at it before in a haphazard way, though it is nice to know how it's really supposed to be done...

magnusmog said...

you are a wonder! Now I can fix socks properly - I even have a darning mushroom, which I think must be like your egg only slightly different in shape!

Kathy's Hands Create said...

Thanks! My mother-in-law was the only person I knew that darned and she died. I never saw the point of darning a $2 sock but now that I knit socks, I SEE! Too much work to not try and save.

smariek said...

Thank you so much for the photo tutorial! I had heard of "darning" before but never understood what that really meant. What a wonderful way to save beautiful socks without having to reknit the entire thing, especially when nobody can really see the part that is darned when you're wearing shoes (I'm assuming it'll usually be worn out in the foot section and not the leg section).

I suppose darning was a more common thing in earlier days before buying "disposable" things became the norm. I think most people today would just say, "why not just go buy a new pair of socks for a few bucks?"

I'd love to give darning a try someday, but first I need to work up to knitting my first pair of socks. I like to think I'm part way there though since I have already knit fingerless mitts on sock weight yarn... which is practically the leg portion of a sock. Just need to learn how to do the foot end...

kmkat said...

None of my handknit socks are old enough to have holes -- yet. Thanks for the darning tutorial. The day will come when I need it.

Aunt Kathy said...

So that's what darning is? I thought it was just sewing closed the hole. I feel so silly, but I can't wait for a hole to appear in my sock to try it out. LOL

Cindy G said...

I'm so pleased that the little mini-lesson is helpful!