Monday, May 23, 2016

Darn socks

I spent Saturday darning socks. It all started because I couldn't find my 1.5mm double point needles anywhere, and finally I found them in my darning basket. Six pairs of socks, one darning egg, and my 1.5s holding stitches of my husband's sock ripped back to the gusset.

That isn't actually darning. Not technically when I have to re-knit the whole foot.

Anyways, I digress.

For small holes I darn with a needle and yarn of the same or close to the same matching colour and weave the hole together. Sometimes, if the hole is quite large I pick up stitches and knit the sock back together. Sometimes, I re-knit the whole darn thing.

See what I did there? Darn? Darn!

I like darning socks once I get down to it. I usually wait until I have a few to do. Like Saturday.

Darning socks makes me feel close to my grandmother and aunt. I am certain they darned many socks in their day.

Darning socks makes me feel useful, and thrifty. Besides my hand-knit socks all mean so much to me, I couldn't bear to throw them out.

Once a sock is darned it isn't the same as the new sock was. The yarn might not match perfectly. The fit may be a little different. It is often noticeable on the bottom of my foot where the repair is.

But over time the repair felts in with the sock, joins it inextricably. It is like a scar. When I see it I remember when the sock was perfect, and how it feels different now that it is repaired. Not better or worse. Just different.

When I thought about re-knitting the sole of my husband's sock I knew the difference in yarn texture and colour would be quite noticeable. But they are my husband's favourite socks so I keep them even though this time I thought I should just throw them out and make some more.

But then I was visiting my sister and I started to tink back on the sock to get to the place where I had 72 good strong stitches and started to move forward.

I finished them that night. Flawed, and old, but finished and my husband was so happy to have them back in rotation.

Fixing things in life is a similar process. Sometimes our fixes leave scars, but the scars can join in with our lives and represent something new, something different, something repaired.

Our mistakes felt into our lives and can no longer be removed, nor would we want them too. Not really. Because they make us who we are today. They remind us of lessons we have learned. Or perhaps, are still learning.

Those socks I re-knit on Saturday will always remind me of my sister. Who was there for me. Who is always there for me.

Our lives are felted together.

And the socks I am wearing right now? The one with the weave right under the ball of my foot? I feel it there and it reminds me that fixing things that are broken is worth it.

Darn socks. I just wanted to get them off my to-do list, and yet they taught me another life lesson.



  1. Such an insightful post Mary-Ann. One day I will gave to try making socks.

    1. do it. there are some great youtubes to walk you through it.

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  3. Good grief... I just managed to delete my own comment... That's what comes of tapping on my iPad while Lazing about in bed

  4. So, to repeat myself... I remember when you wrote about whether to discard or repair/ reconstruct those socks... And instead of responding with something thoughtful and philosophical , my first reaction was " oh goody...if ever my Mary-Anne socks begin to wear thin, I'll post them back to the source for doctoring . Clearly, I suck at life lessons.

    1. Ill do it for you if you bring them in person! with pinot grigio in hand!

  5. My sister is the sock maker & I have a set of socks that need darning. I may have to fix them myself, although it wouldn't be as nice, as if she fixed them.

  6. Aaaah! Another awesome metaphor for life demonstrated in knitting. I love reading your posts, Mary-Anne

  7. such a meaningful post. It makes me think of the japanese visible, decorated mendings in another light.

    1. what a great phrase - decorated mendings in another light.

  8. I don't particularly like darning... maybe it's because I don't do it well enough to my standards. And I quite enjoy knitting new socks with different pattern :D My grandmother on the other hand darns all the time. Thanks for this post, love your wording :)


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