those darn(ed) socks

Posted by on January 26, 2012 in knit | 2 comments

Okay sock knitters and enjoyers of hand knit socks (or just any socks, in general), I did the research for you, and it turns out that it's not too hard to darn your socks. 

There are several different techniques, and I tried out three different ones. There's the (1) Swiss darning (or duplicate stitch) method, the (2) running-stitch-weaving method, and then there's the (3) knitted patch. 

image from

I found some pretty good videos from Knit Picks for the first and third methods (see below), and there are a lot of advocates for the woven method (but not many good videos). It's certainly the easiest, and for machine made socks, it's probably the way to go. 

The first sock had a fairly small hole, it appeared that it was mostly just the yarn between two columns of stitches that was broken, so I used Swiss darning to close it up. This basically means that you duplicate stitch over the area to be mended. It really works best for strengthening thin areas, not so much for closing up large holes, unless you want to build up a framework with heavy thread, which is later removed. I have to admit, I went a little cross-eyed trying to stitch everything in the right places because my socks were somewhat felted in that area. Still, the beginning of a greater disaster has been averted, and while it may not be pretty, it is definitely functional. I also didn't have matching yarn for this sock, but what I used blends well enough. Here's the part one video (you should be able to click part two when it's done):

For sock number two, I did have matching yarn. The hole was more like two holes, and pretty big. I used the regular old weaving method for this one. I am interested to see how strong it will be. It isn't super pretty, but it's better than a hole, and I'm glad I could match the yarn. It just blends right in. It's nice to see that Lorna's Laces really holds its color. This was about the best video I could find on the weaving method (I really wove my stitches, going over and under on opposite rows, this looks like just a bunch of random stitching to me):

The knitted patch is good for larger holes, and it wasn't too hard to do. As you can see in my picture above, the Malabrigo yarn has faded quite a lot from washing and wearing. It's so nice and soft, but I'm not sure I'll use if for socks again. I am a little concerned that the patch will feel like a huge lump when I wear them. I tried them on, and I can feel it, but it's not too bad. We'll see if it's bothersome after a whole day, though! I do like how nice and tidy it appears. Again, it's a two-part video, here's the first part: 

There are some advocates for just sewing a hole closed, but that seems like a bad idea, especially on the bottom of your foot where you would feel a big lump. So don't do that! Has anyone else darned socks before? What method did you use? I'm so happy to have my socks back! My feet will now be warm for the rest of the winter. 


  1. Inspired by your previous post about your holey socks, I actually darned a hat that my mom made for me many years back. I just winged it, and it doesn’t look too bad. The yarn wasn’t a perfect match, but it was close enough. Now I have a warm hat to go with my new red coat. Thanks for the kick in the pants to take care of a nagging problem that took about 5 minutes to fix. So far I haven’t had any problems with holes in my hand made socks, but I have made a bajillion pairs, so I don’t think that any of them get enough repeat wear to wear them out.
    Since you have been having problems with the bottoms of your socks wearing out, maybe you could try carrying an reinforcing thread on the foot part of your socks to give them a little extra strength. Several of the yarns come with a little spool of wool thread tucked inside of them. I use them to make extra warm toes in some socks.

  2. Good job! I do the same thing, I have minor repairs that need to be made and I just never get around to spending the five minutes it will take to do them! It's so satisfying to get those little things done, isn't it? 
    Why have I never gotten that special reinforcing thread?! I obviously need to look into that, thanks for the tip!


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