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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

These Darn Socks!

A couple of months ago I invested a little extra money in socks for my kids. Lately, the socks I was getting for them, although saving us money on the front end, were so cheaply made that I wasn't able to reconcile the money I was saving to the number of times I was back at the store buying more when the holes would develop.

You will need a light bulb, scissors, needle and thread to
match your socks.
This was a difficult thing for Zach especially since he has a problem with throwing things away. Add to that list now holey socks! He wanted me to "fix them" for him. I held him off and distracted him until I was able to buy the new better quality, more expensive socks. The socks have been working out great for everyone else but Zachary is still having problems. In just a couple of months he has put four holes in these brand new socks. He has very flat feet and not only wears holes fast, he wears them in strange places!

Having spent a lot more money on these socks than the flimsy cheap Walmart ones, I was not going to just throw these away. That is when I decided to resurrect a little something I learned in my 4-H years. Somewhere in my nine years in 4-H I learned to darn socks. 

It really is a great way to get more life out of a pair of socks. I realize back in the day when part of a homemakers job was mending and darning, this little skill saved them from having to make a whole new pair of socks. Today we can just go out and buy another pair I suppose, but with the extra money I spent this time around, I am not willing to throw a pair of socks away after only a month and a half  to two months! Besides, Zach LOVES these socks and for the boy who doesn't like to throw anything away, something he loves would be that much harder when there really is no need.

So how do you darn socks you ask?

First, put the light bulb inside the sock. Be sure not to stretch the sock past how is would normally stretch on the foot. you want the sock to be as close to its natural shape as it can be. (There are special darning bulbs that you can buy but a burnt out light bulb is in my drawer in my sewing room and the life and usefulness of that bulb has lasted much longer than its ability to give off light!

I usually start with the thread by stitching a box around all sides of the hole in the secure (un-holey) area around the hole to give the area structure (socks are stretchy). Then, decide which direction to start first. I usually determine that by how much of the hole is frayed. In a frayed hole, I will stitch across the fray instead of with the fray. It helps hold the frayed part flatter so you don't end up with a big clump when you are done. On this hole, I stitched across horizontally first. Darning is like weaving, so I will create the horizontal part of the grid first by stitching back and forth across horizontally.

Once the threads are stitched horizontally, you will turn the sock so the horizontal threads are now vertical and weave your thread in and out of the rows you just stitched. What you are doing is actually creating a surface with your weaving that will take the place of the hole. I like to use as much of the frayed sock material being sure that I push it flat as I sew across it to keep it strong. (Keeping it flat is also important if the one you are darning for is on the autism spectrum...bumpy socks are a definite no-no!)

This is my final product. I have found that the darned part much of the time turns out stronger than it was before. So, when you are dealing with a boy who has flat feet that puts extra stress on certain areas of their sock, this may be a great option to buying new socks ever other month. It doesn't take that long to do, and is a great t.v. watching activity if you like to watch with busy hands.

It certainly isn't a skill that has to be done if you have a lot of extra money and like to throw away socks but I don't. I do love the feeling I get when Zach sees his socks without holes. Holey socks really stresses him out. Again, one of those Zach things I don't understand but I am thankful that somewhere along the way, I was taught this important skill to help me better take care of the child God choose for me. I like to think He was preparing me for this job. It makes me smile.

Today, I darned three holes in two socks. I love my job!

Hole number three - BEFORE
Hole number three - AFTER

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