Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mending ...

Mending, one of those chores that I tend to ignore and put aside. I'd much rather knit new yarn into new things, or frog a project and knit it into something new and exciting than mend. That said usually there isn't much around to mend, most of our clothes tend to be buttonless nowadays, tee shirts and stretch tops, so replacing buttons is not a weekly event, yearly perhaps but not weekly. The same with holes or worn bits, clothes are just cheaper and more plentiful than in days gone by .. for lots of reasons, economics of production and scale and trade, and expectations and standards of living, not to mention use of hard wearing synthetics to add durability to things. There are a few times when I will mend things, and more and more the things I take time to mend are the things that I've taken time to make. This week I sat myself down and mended smallest cubs sock, the one with the hole in the toe, and I checked the blanket was all done by piecing it all together (it would be easy to miss a square, cast off prematurely and delude my self), and I started three new projects (two with charts galore). Yes it is official - I have no self control when it comes to keeping the pile of knitting projects beside my chair in check.

So mending, a few weeks ago I posted about the hole in smallest cubs sock. One thing I have realized about kids is that if something is uncomfortable they won't wear it - but they will sit playing on a cold hard floor in the most uncomfortable position to play ... go figure. I just knew that if I darned this sock there was a risk that the slight bump of the darn would mean the sock was rejected. Oh in the old days, when socks were mended as a matter of course I doubt a child or adult would have dared mention the discomfort of a darn least they be told how ungrateful they were and left with holes or had to mend their own. But I live in a modern world so my kids, well when I said they were works in progress that includes the part where they say what they think instead of stopping to consider the consequences. I could just imagine my youngest telling me 'it feels strange'. So I decided to reknit a new toe, first I snipped a stitch just above the hole.
Then I raveled stitch by stitch one row of stitching, you can see the hole more clearly here. It was a good size - large enough for a toe to poke out. Because this was a worn sock, one that had been washed a few times - the stitches behaved beautifully, and held around waiting for me to pick them up.

Once I had separated the end of the sock with the hole from the rest of the sock I picked up all the stitches onto my standard sock needle (2.25mm). One advantage of mending ones own knitting is having a record of needle size and stitch counts to work with.

Then I headed off to the stash of left over sock yarn and sorted out one that would work with the pink.

Blue it was, I started to knit, decreasing 4 stitches as per usual every second round until I had the same number of stitches I had cast on for the sock.

Then I grafted it closed from the outside, over a darning mushroom. Handy things those darning mushrooms even when one is not darning.

On the inside the new section is a little less fuzzy than the original section of the sock. I wove in all the ends, the one from unraveling the sock, the one from starting to knit with the blue, and the tail from the grafting the toe closed.

And all done, possibly a bit weird to have one blue toe on a pair of socks - but a successful mend. Time taken - less than one hour all up including a cup of tea and stopping to hunt for a suitable yarn to use. I briefly thought of replacing the second toe 'just-in-case' but a quick examination showed no sign of a hole forming. It probably was as I said, unkempt toe nails that caused the wear and tear.

So the blanket is all there, I've checked as did Yo-yo the cat. I half expected to have her curl up and sleep on the blanket .. but no the end of the hallway was in direct sunlight so she stretched out and sleep there. My next step on this project is to locate a yarn to seam it with - odds are there is something in stash, when that is done I have a wheel of white ready to use as an icord edging - then it will be ready to block.

Knitters Study Group was Saturday(yesterday). We have two sessions on Estonian knitting, the idea is a small sampler type project ... I've started an alpaca scarf. This is loosely based on one in Nancy Bush's Lily of the Valley Scarf in Lace of Estonia, but I'm planning to work the body of the scarf in the Greta Garbo Hearts Number 3. My scarf will be wider to allow 3 repeats of the hearts across the width of the scarf .. and so far so good. I've worked the edging -and thought I'd work the other edging then work the two ends of the scarf at once ready to graft together in the middle.

And then there was knit night, where I needed a project with no chart, one that could handle conversation, distractions and stop start knitting. I was tempted by Heart of Glass by Vintage Purls, and I have the pattern but seems I used the yarn in the sock kit as the contrast in my Nightingale. Nothing else in stash seemed right for Heart of Glass ... so I started Spiral Bound instead. Its fun .. a nice straightforward knit at least for now - that might all change as I get to the heel which like all her heels is nicely planed to fit with the stitch pattern.

There is a third new project on the needles .. but that one is a secret project .... one I can't blog, yet .... but it has a chart and colour and is soft and squishy.

So with any luck this week will be clearer, with less time allocated to meetings and marking - except I have only 4 weeks of work left this year so my time will be full of meetings and marking. But it is spring, it is warmer and the evenings are lighter so there seems more time to do things in. Take care .... hope your knitting basket is full of fun stuff



Knitting Linguist said...

The mended sock looks great - I bet she's happy to have those back in her sock drawer. And I love those spiral bound socks, I'll have to try that pattern sometime. It's funny you should mention the heart socks, Kiv was just folding mine up tonight after some sock washing and saying how much she liked them (in that way kids do when they want a pair themselves); I like them, too :)

JustApril said...

The only mending I ever did on a sock was much less professional looking. Yours is perfect!

What a great blanket idea! I stink at seaming, but that blanket is worth the trouble.