Sunday, January 18, 2009

Patcing up a Duck

I was doing laundry this week and discovered that my Duckies (Ravel linked) had lost their heel. Not just a little worn spot. The entire heel was just gone, like someone had gone Duck Hunting and just blown the heel out. Not sure how this happened, but to say the least, I was shocked and really bummed. I just finished these in September and now they were DOA. The picture above is of my Duckies in happier times.

But as I looked at that poor sock without a heel (there is a joke there, I mean we can all live without heels in our lives) I had some real qualms about throwing it out since the other sock was fine. Then again, on cold nights, I don't care if my socks don't match--one wool sock is as good as the next. Then again, I wasn't about to just toss all my work away--and that was the rub. I adore my hand knit socks, and I labor and labor to get them done, so I couldn't bring myself to pull the life support on this barely breathing sock.

No, it was time to do some good ol' fashioned fixin'. And yesterday afternoon I did just that.

I got out what I figured I would need: a yarn needle, the dpns I used to knit the sock, scissors and the leftover yarn. Now see, there is a reason to keep all those bits of sock yarn. Now it isn't like I haven't darned socks before. When I was a poor college student, I darned and patched just about everything I had and had a small side business repairing jeans. I remember my mom and my grandmother darning my dad's thick hand knit hunting socks, so operating on my poor Duckie couldn't be too hard.

I sort of examined the patient again, and slid one of my dpns into the first row that appeared to be entirely whole and intact.

then snipped back the really fuzzy stuff until I got to solid stitches I'd captured with the dpn. Then I did that all the way around. I went very slowly because I didn't want the entire thing to unravel, but having been worn a bit and the insides were all feltly, the stitches held together rather well.

Then I knit a round just to make sure all the sides were now solid, new stitches. Then knitting only on the sole stitches, I knit up a new heel, making a triangle out of the sole stitches. I'd decrease 1 stitch on both sides every other row, until I had about 5 sole stitches left.

Then I grafted the remaining 5 sole stitches to the 5 center back leg stitches, and then sort of grafted the knit edges of the new heel to the remaining live leg stitches, using an improvised Kitchener stitch. And voila, my Duckies, they live to quack another day.

I am disappointed in this yarn, (Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino) because the insides are felting to pieces, and they are wearing out so quickly, so I don't think I'll knock myself out to knit socks with it again.

In comparison, here is the first pair of socks I knit nearly eight years ago, and they too finally had the heel start to wear out. After eight years, not just a few months. Goodness, where did I put that leftover yarn . . .

Do you repair your hand knit socks?


R2K said...

: )

Mae said...

I don't check up on my favorite blogs for a week and you post a million time!!!
At least it was something wonderful to come back to!

I'm impressed with your sock repairing, luckily I have yet to have to repair any sock holes.

Your comment on repairing jeans got me thinking about my favorite jeans with the hole in the bum though... I believe I will conquer those today!!!