How To Darn Socks: Knitwear Surgery 101
If you are wondering how to darn socks or fix holes in knitting, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a step-by-step video tutorial on…
…and you’re going to love it. You can darn socks or mend any holes in knitting using this technique, and if you have matching yarn, you can make the repair completely invisible.
While there are a few ways to mend holes in knitting, here I demonstrate a technique I learned about in a Knitty article a few years ago – it is definitely the best method I’ve found. Let’s get started!
1. Gather Your Materials And Prepare For Surgery
- A crochet hook
- Scissors and a tapestry needle
- A few yards of yarn to match the garment
- About a yard of thin thread or sock yarn (the color doesn’t matter)
- Bright light and a clean, non-slip surface to work on.
Set aside plenty of time to learn how to darn socks for the first time. The video is 20 minutes long, and it will take you at least 30 minutes to get the hang of fixing holes in knitted socks the first time you try it.
Be patient! Learning to repair holes in knitting is an amazing skill that even the employees at your local yarn store probably don’t possess.
Materials Not Needed:
A darning egg. You do not need to buy a darning egg in order to darn socks. I tried to use one of these when I attempted to mend a sock, and I’ve found that it’s much easier to just lay the knitting as flat as possible. For me, a velvet jewelry pad would be an ideal work surface for this task.
2. Clean Up Any Scraggly Yarn Ends (Abrade The Wound)
You need to prepare the wound for surgery before we begin.
Use your scissors and trim away any hopelessly worn strands of yarn.
Then, if there are any strands that have just come out but are not in fact worn out, use a crochet hook to pick the stitches and re-knit them as far as you can. You want to end up with a really clean hole with obvious loops showing.
Make sure the cut yarn ends are tucked to the back of the work, out of the way.
3. Stabilize The Patient With A Temporary Tissue Graft
To stabilize the hole and keep all the stitches secure while you repair the hole in your knitting, use a tapestry needle to weave a length of sock yarn or thread through the stitches, as shown below.
I demonstrate this step in the video below, but I want you to have a stationary visual reference to look at while you begin to repair your own sock.
4. Use Matching Yarn To Re-Knit The Stitches Row By Row
Watch the video below to learn how to repair the hole from bottom to top, row by row. The video quality is huge, so choose full-screen to enjoy all the HD knitting goodness.
Shortcut Step: Skip To The Grafting If You Are Only Missing One Row
If you’ve only got one row of knitting missing, just use the grafting technique I show you at the end of the video to repair the single row of knitting. You can skip the step where you weave in the stabilizing thread.
Good work! Repairing holes in knitting is an invasive and risky surgery, so if both you and the patient survived, congratulations are in order. Whoever asked you to repair the hole in their knitted sock should know that you love them very much.
UPDATE: The following information wasn’t in the original blog post – I added it by commenter request:
Q: What do I do with the long replacement yarn ends after I’m done fixing the hole?
A: Weave in all the long tails with a tapestry needle, just like you do on other knitting projects.
Q: What do I do with the short, worn-out ends?
A: You can either just leave them (which should be fine on a garment that doesn’t get much wear), or before you repair the hole you could unravel it a little bit more until the worn-out ends are long enough to weave in, and then weave them in at the end.
Q: What if my hole has more than two rows missing?
A: To do the second row, weave another piece of yarn from right to left above the first one, but just switch the over-unders. Where you went over, go under, etc. Do this before you start using the crochet hook to re-knit the stitches. Get pieces of yarn woven over-under for each row that is missing except for the last one, and then start to use the crochet hook to re-knit the stitches, and then finish by grafting the last row shut.
Two Tips To Minimize Damage In The Future
1. Reinforce Your Sock Heels
You can use nylon reinforcing thread held together with your sock yarn to make your sock heels more durable, so that you run a lower risk of wearing out your socks.
You can find thread like this for reinforcing sock heels at your local yarn store.
2. If You Notice A Hole, Stop Wearing The Sock (Duh)
Another tip, this one slightly obvious but worth following all the same: if you find a hole in your knitted garment, stop wearing it! And maybe gently advise your loved ones (who will be asking you to do the sock repair) to do the same.
Usually a hole can be rescued quickly if it is caught in time, but if you continue to walk on your holey sock, you will wear out more threads and have to repair more rows.
This is how the turquoise sock in the photo at the beginning of this post came to be so amazingly worn-out (…ahem big sister).
And that’s it! You will now be a hero amongst people who love handknit garments and wear them until they are threadbare – not a bad set of people to have on your side.
More Tips For Knitting Mastery
- Knitwear Care: How To Block Socks And Why
- For The Long-Suffering Knitter: Top 5 Stretches For Knitting Pain And Stiffness
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