Mending socks the felting way.

I have been knitting socks out of hand dyed fairy yarn for just long enough to see the odd hole appear. These lovely yarns often don’t have that little bit of nylon in to strengthen them so they tend to wear out if made into hard working socks, this is to be compensated by the lovely colours and yarns they come in and are a joy to work with. But you know that one day the sock hole death knell will ring and its time to make a decision as to what happens next.

I once tried to darn a pair of socks the old fashioned way – that post did not get onto the blog! I was a disaster, old fashioned darning is not for me.
I have tried re knitting it the clever way Carie does it, she has a wonderful tutorial on her blog Knitted Bear I was reasonably okay with it, but it was a fiddle (only because I am not as adept with the needles as she is) and I really think I could do with a master class from her just to go over the finer points.
When I came across a murmuring on Ravelry, just a few lines about felting holes in socks, that was all I needed to start thinking about the felted slippers that I made four years ago which are still going strong. “There might be something in this,” I thought.
So I mooched around the Internet and finally after much thought and consideration ordered merino’s 64s top 150g shade pack Autumn from Sara’s Texture Crafts along with Felting Needles Gauge 38, a Felt Needle handle for 4 needles and 3″ wide foam pad. When my package arrived I put it away waiting for the right time to be able to concentrate without the interruption of being asked what I was doing, its very distracting to be asked and I find it seems to worry them when I reply with “I have no idea!”
The time came this week when the boys and hubby toddled off to a local university to listen to an IET lecture. Yippee, I thought and set myself up for an adventurous half hour of felting.
Tools at the ready, I had cut an appropriate sock sized chunk of the large sponge that was sent. You can see how the Autumn colour way pack suits me and most of my choices with sock yarn.
Exhibit A, two holes in a sock made from Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Fall Foliage in March 2009, as part of my hysterectomy recovery programme. So, it has had two winters behind it, one of which was especially long and harsh. The other sock of the pair is fine and I remember coming across this hole after wearing them for a long day in walking boots. I realised then that hand dyed fairy yarn does not like hard wearing walking boots and are meant to be kept for more delicate occasions.
Stuff your foam into your sock to give you something to work against. You really need to give yourself as much as possible as the barbed ends of the needles are very sharp and will hurt you if your not careful.
Fortunately I had just been to a felting workshop and remembered that you are meant to layer up the felting with the fibres criss crossing each other. So if you were doing three layers you would lay them, —, then III, then —.
Just a few punches in with the felt needles, it is amazing just how quickly it changes.
The felt is starting to take shape, it really doesn’t take very long, but you do need to spend a few minutes on it to get a dense and matted fabric.
I am pretty sure it has felted at this stage. I paid particular attention to the edges at the end of the process. If you continue to felt it will become denser and smaller, so it is a balance to felt enough to become a patch without it becoming a hard mass that may feel uncomfortable under your feet.
You then have to pull it off your sponge, it will come. I then used the felting needles on the inside to tidy it up a little. You can play around with it however you like really, its your felting after all.
Pictures in daylight, on the outside,
then on the inside,
and then on the outside again.
On the foot you can barely see it.
And you can see how smooth it is there, and it feels comfy too.
I’ll let you know how it wears.

4 thoughts on “Mending socks the felting way.

  1. amelia says:

    You are so inventive! I can't think of a better word and I'm not even sure if that is a word!! I have never knit socks and have one pair from Jenny Peacock that have barely touched my feet because I'm so scared of wearing them out!!


  2. Jenny says:

    Very clever. That's exactly the spot my socks eventually wear out and I have tried darning (we were taught at school) but it only prolongs their life for so long. I've stopped knitting socks with pure wool – Amelia please note yours will last for quite a while as they have a percentage of man made fibres. Just put them on – now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s