Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Badges of Honour

As I mentioned in my first post of 2015 being an enthusiastic maker and wearer of hand knitted socks, it is always a sad day when I discover that I have worn holes in them and they need to be set aside to be repaired. You will have seen that I was less than satisfied with my first attempts at darning so when Anna at Wild and Woolly announced that she was going to be hosting a darning workshop with Sanae Chita of the Textile Surgery I was first in the queue.

Sanae is a very modest and patient teacher who is very creative and has an enviable attention to detail. She invited us to bring along a selection of garments which we wanted to repair so of course I armed myself with a big bag of socks. At this point I was wishing that I was one of those well organised knitters who sets aside a small amount of the yarn that she used to make the socks so that when it came to the time for repair I had the materials for a neat and virtually invisible darn to hand. I am not that knitter. 

However, thanks to Sanae, I no longer feel that this is something to feel bad about as I have learned to  love the art of visible mending and armed with this wonderful array of colourful darning threads I plan to enjoy making repairs from now on!

So,  instead of choosing the grey yarn that best matches these socks I decided to use the brightest red in my palette. Not only was it so much easier to see what I was doing, I realised that I loved the way that my much loved socks are wearing a sort of badge of honour which not only prolongs their life but also shows that they have been worn often, with great pride.

As I was working on my darning technique I also started to wonder exactly how old these socks were. Through a combination of this blog and my Ravelry project pages I have been able to piece together something of their history. These socks are Lindsay Socks by Cookie A and were both started and finished in July 2010. They were made in Koigu KPPPM.

The next socks are a bit of a mystery as I don't seem to have made a record of them anywhere. I know that they are Trilobite Socks by Wendy Johnson and were made at some point after 2009 as they were the second pair that I made from that pattern.

I chose a dark grey darning thread to contrast with the golden yellow of the socks. I wish I could remember the yarn that I used as whilst I love the colour, the yarn has not worn as well as I had hoped.

Having been firmly bitten by the darning bug by this point I set out to tackle this pair of sock which I was astonished to discover were made in 2007. The pattern is my own and was designed to evoke the colours and textures of the rooftops in the Umbrian hill towns I had visited on my holiday in Italy that summer.

Two holes in these socks so I decided to go for two shades of blue. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hills Supersock in the colour way Serengeti.

Finally, these pale yellow socks are the lace and Cable socks again from Wendy D Johnson made in May 2009 from Indigo Moon Island Time in Apricot.

I love this delicate combination of shades.

I was quite pleasantly surprised at how old all these socks were and how with a little imagination, what had previously seemed like a chore feels more like an extension of the creative process that went into the making of the socks in the first place. It's a celebration of longevity, of slow craft and respectful of the resources that went into this simple garment.

These colourful repairs really are badges of honour as far as I am concerned.


RooKnits said...

Such neat darning. They look fabulous.

Diana said...

Agree! The darning looks top notch. It looks like a weave? Are those all your darning eggs? They're so pretty!

LynS said...

I love the idea of visible darning. It adds character to the socks (or indeed other garments) and, as you say, adds to their history. I'm very envious of your class!

Al Sullivan said...

You're holes are all on the bottom, instead of the toes which is where I get them. I suspect you pad around the house and snag them on the bare floorboards, don't you!!! (Or, you deliberately made the holes in order to do fabulous darning).

Philosophical Query--can there come a point where the original sock has disappeared, replaced by successive darning and re-darning?

Jenny said...

Jane, I LOVE these badges of honour! So bright. Love it!

Wendy said...

Love this post!

Maggie said...

Jane, it's ages since I read your blog, I lost all of my blog links. :( But I was going through some of my own old posts and found you in a comment. I'm so glad you're still blogging - so many seem to have dropped out. And I've not been doing much the last few years as life has been so complicated the time hasn't been there.

I love your darned socks! I think you're right that the darns become badges of honour - these are loved and hence worn socks. I've got some purple ones that I laboured over for months that I might just repair with some bright red... If there's anything left when I open the bag hey are in. Suspect (shhh!) moth damage. :( We have dreadful infestation in our bedroom which is difficult to get on top of as I can't risk using insecticides. They are case making moths, so even the bio pheromone stuff is iffy for them, only hits the males anyway.

Going to try note your blog again and keep up!

Best wishes from Bwlchtocyn where it's cold and VERY wet. :D