Darning Tutorial

When I set out to teach myself to darn I found a few videos on YouTube and just went for it. What I was learning was a basic darning method in which a woven patch is formed to fill the hole. I was a little bothered by how this looked, but I figured that it’s on the bottom of my foot, so who cares? But, now that I have had to darn my socks multiple times, I have gotten bored with that method and discontent with it’s resulting patched-up look. How could I make it look like knitting? I wondered. I came up with what I thought was brilliance and thought I would write a tutorial to show you all my really super awesome new darning technique. I decided to call it “duplicate stitch darning”. Then I thought I had better Google that first to make sure that there isn’t already a such thing (surely I can’t be the first one to think of this). Lo and behold! I was not the first to think of it. Duplicate stitch darning has already been invented. Darn!

However, the way in which duplicate stitch darning, or Swiss darning, is done is actually quite different than my little invention. The idea is the same, the result is the same, and even the name is the same. But Swiss darning is done from the bottom of the hole up using thread guidelines, and mine is from the top down using yarn as the guidelines.

So, I have decided to go ahead and write my little tutorial anyway. This method of darning is more interesting to work and looks a lot nicer than a regular woven darning. Maybe you could use it, too? Okay, enough with the intro. Let’s get this thing going…

Duplicate Stitch Darning – the WoolandChocolate Way

Assemble the ingredients

I’ve got my holey sock and matching yarn, scissors, a needle, and my darning egg.

A quick word on the darning eggs. The Man picked both of these up at an antique store for me for Christmas. I love them. The one that looks a little like a shoe horn is a bit slippy and I haven’t actually used it yet, but it looks fabulous in my yarn cabinet. The darning mushroom with the silver band is an excellent tool and one that I use all the time. When I didn’t have a darning egg, I used a baby bottle. Okay, back to the tutorial.

Position the hole over the darning mushroom and trim away all the loose bits.

Now, take a length of yarn and thread your needle. Sew a running stitch square around the outside of the hole, about 3 stitches in from edge. This provides a good anchor for the patch.

Once you have made a square around the hole, starting from the top, begin stringing your guide lines from side to side, one horizontal line for every knit row.

As you can see, I use the running stitch square as my guide, setting the ends of the lines 3 stitches deep into good fabric.

Now, your yarn should be in the lower right hand corner. Weave your way to the top right corner of the square and begin working a duplicate stitch over the existing stitches. When you get to the hole you will use the horizontal guide lines that you sewed in earlier to complete the duplicate stitch.

Working from the top down, take your needle under the next guide line.

Now, take your needle from right to left through the “v” of the above stitch (as if to work the duplicate stitch).

And repeat, taking the needle under the next guide line from top to bottom.

Working in this way, stack your little “v”‘s in a nice, tidy column all the way to the bottom of the running stitch square, about 3 stitches from the bottom of the hole. Now, weave your needle through the guide lines to the top of the square.

And, starting at the top of the running stitch square, work your three duplicate stitches over the good stitches and proceed to work down the column as before.

In this way, build a knitted patch across the hole.

I like to push the columns to the right once I am finished with each in order to pack them in more tightly. Tension seems to be the trickiest part of this method. As you can see, I err on the loose side, but I am trying to learn to make the “v”‘s more closely matching to the gauge of the knitted sock.

When the hole is patched, weave in the ends.

And  you’re done!

Maybe I am crazy, but I really like the way that looks. I also happen to think that it is pretty hard wearing as well.

There. I did it. My first tutorial ever…..

…. does it make any sense?