The Return of Visible Mending – Three Pairs of Socks

After all the glove knitting, carboot sale looting and Christmas decorations, it was time I returned to some Visible Mending. Here are three new items I entered for the Visible Mending Programme. May I present to you the classic darn: socks!

From left to right: my partner’s house socks, a shop-bought sock, my house socks.

First up are my partner’s house socks. I knitted this from left-overs of my Elizabeth Zimmermann Bog Jacket and I had only just enough left for making these. Hence the contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. For the lanaphiles amongst us: the brown yarn is Manx Loghtan wool, the grey is Jacob – I bought both from Garthenor Organic Pure Wool. The darns are made with Lang Jawoll sock wool.

As you can see, I employed two different methods of darning. On the left heel you see the classic stocking darn. This method is good for fixing holes. However, I noticed some thin patches too, so I decided to reinforce those with Swiss darning (also known as duplicate stitch), shown on the right heel and the sole top left. If you look closely, you can see I even managed to duplicate the decreases used for turning the heel.

The second sock I repaired, was a sock I bought before I knew how to knit socks myself – all those needles sticking out in all directions, I thought I’d never be able to cope with all that! They’re made by Hirsch Natur. I counted the gauge once, and I make socks of a similar weight myself now.

I used some mending wool I picked up in a sale somewhere. It turned out a bit thinner than anticipated once I got going, so I decided to add some extra warps and wefts. Some mending wools tend to felt a bit (despite their high nylon content), so I don’t think you will see this pretty ‘basket weave’ for long.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the last pair of socks. They’re Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Moccasin Socks. As ever with EZ, the design is out of the ordinary – here, she designed a sock pattern with a completely reknittable heel and sole. And therein lies the rub: however much I like the look of them, unusually, I did not enjoy knitting the heel and sole. At all. But I used 100% Shetland wool for the sole and that isn’t particularly hardwearing, so I needed to do something about those thin patches and the tiny hole that started developing. In the end I opted for Swiss darning. It makes good practice and I like the colour combination with the black and navy (which, incidentally, is warm and woolly lustrous Wensleydale longwool).

A parting note: the keen observer may have noticed something in herringbone-weave lurking in the background of some pictures. I hope this will lead soon to my very first INvisibly mended item!

9 Replies to “The Return of Visible Mending – Three Pairs of Socks”

  1. I am with you on EZ’s reknittable soles. I forgot that when EZ says ‘weaving’ she means ‘grafting’ and there is a lot of this horrid task to do. I also did not like knitting in this way with the decreases fore and aft.

    I do like the concept, though, so maybe I will learn (again) to graft neatly and have another go.

    Love the look of the ‘visibles’ 🙂

    1. I like grafting, so that isn’t the problem for me, it’s just that I didn’t like the way it comes out around the heel (all those holes I just cannot seem to get rid of) and the knitting of the sole just seemed to annoy me for inexplicable reasons.

  2. I have a pair of wool socks (store bought) that are very thin on sole. I tried Swiss darning using the existing stitches but found it really difficult (first time trying Swiss darning). But it looks to me like you basically just created new stitches rather than trying to use the original. Is that true? My poor socks may be beyond repair but I’d like to try since the rest of sock is still in good condition – other wise I’ll trim off the feet and turn them into leg warmers.

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