Making Repairs

It takes a little longer for the cool weather to hit us here in Central California. I jealously watch as all my bloggy friends from around the country pull out their handknits and sport gorgeous sweaters, hats, and mittens in late September while I am still sweating my summer away. I yearn for Autumn’s chill long into the month of October as the sun still beats down upon me. But, now, finally, at last! The cooler weather arrived! It is only 79 degrees here this day! Out come all the gorgeous woolens! The handknit masterpieces of last winter and even winters before.

Alas, some things did not fare well over the summer. Remember this Wispy?


Oh, shoot! I knit this when I was cameraless, and all I have is this awful photo booth picture. Sorry!

Anywho – I wore that thing to death last winter, even though I have reservations about it’s flattering shape (or lack therof). I love this little shrug. It is absolutely delicious! Apparently the moths agree.

That is one shoulder. This is the other (the faint of heart should look away) –

I apologize for the ghastly imagery.

Imagine how my heart sank at the sight! I think I may have shed a tear or two (or three or four). There were also a few tiny holes along the ribbed edge.

It was quite a shock, and somewhat puzzling, too. This sweater was packed away in a box of woolen wonderfuls, yet it is the only item that shows moth damage. I guess they just love the Malabrigo (who can blame them, really?). There are a couple of sweaters that I would have just tossed out -it would have hurt a little, sure, but I don’t love everything that I have ever knit, not really (don’t tell that grey sweater, it would break her heart, but she really is quite expendable). But, this was one of the favorites, the one that my kids will think of when they remember me at my funeral – “I miss Mama already! She always wore that unflattering pink shrug, remember? She was so crazy about that bright, ugly thing!”

So, I pulled up my big girl undies and set out to save my beloved sweaterlette. The first step is always the hardest – I cut away some of the fabric to make a neater hole to mend. I may have held my breath and said a prayer or two while I snipped away at my knitting.

Then, following my darning procedure (explained here) I patched that ugly hole, taking care to catch any live loops and working well into good fabric to prevent any dropped stitches.

It isn’t that great of a patching job, but it makes it wearable and that is enough for me. I don’t really wear it out, anyway. And since I couldn’t get a good picture, here is another bad one –

The smaller holes were much easier, just duplicate stitched over the one or two stitches that had been munched away, again catching any live stitches. I can see them, but once they pill up like the rest of the sweater, they won’t be so noticeable.

So, all is well once again, but I will definitely be rethinking my method of summer storage for my winter lovelies.

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Call in the Reinforcements!

Yesterday I mentioned that I had reinforced the bottom of the foot section of my new socks. This is how I did it. (Inspired by this article in Knitty.com)

First, I turned the sock inside out and put it on my foot. Then, using a contrasting color yarn and a darning needle, I outlined my trouble area – the balls of my feet is where I always get holes in my socks.

If you are following along, outline your specific trouble area – do you get holes in your heels first? Your toes?

Yes, this totally tickled like crazy!

Next, I took the sock off and put it on a sock blocker (inside out). Alternately, you could use a darning egg or really anything that will hold the fabric slightly stretched.

Taking my matching yarn and my needle, I then began weaving up and down over the outlined area like so.

When I had covered the entire section with weaving, I cut the yarn and took my sock off the blocker.

Then I pulled out my outline yarn.

When this is done right, the reinforcement is totally invisible from the right side.

It is my hope and expectation that this will increase the lifespan of these most excellent socks. I will let you know how it works out.

DNR (Christmas Countdown Day 17)

There I sat darning my socks. Again.

I have breathed new life into these, my first pair of handknit socks, many times now. So many times, in fact, that I have run out of the original yarn and now use some other remnant of purple sock yarn.

I love these socks. I wear them three days a week, minimum. (hence the constant need for repair) I would hate to give up on them and throw them out. But, how long can I keep this up? When is enough enough? When do I sign the “do not ressusitate” order and let them die a natural death?

These are the tough questions. And the sad answer is that, while I could probably go on darning these till doomsday, this is going to have to be the last time.

Because I just finished another (better) pair of purple socks. And I am a sock knitter, now. There are so many more beautiful handknit socks in my future, why should I hang onto the past?