Thank you Merike Saarniit. I took your Darn It one-hour wonder class at the Sock Summit, and you did everything a good teacher should do: you engaged your students, you presented your information clearly and simply, you walked us through the process you were teaching (making us cut a hole in our swatches! Not snipping a thread, but cutting a big, gaping, ragged hole!), and you helped us to complete our assignment, making sure we all understood the process, within the class time-frame.
And better yet, I was able to use what you taught me outside of the class room. Last night, I sat down and repaired five pairs of handknit socks. Some of them had actual holes, others holes and thin spots, and others still, very thin spots that would become holes on the next wearing. I don't have an official darning egg, so I used a handblown glass paperweight from The Glass Eye (purchased a couple of years ago, on vacation at Cannon Beach) (http://www.glasseye.com/ ), which was a heavy, and spendy, darning egg, but it worked very well indeed.
First, I laid a foundation of stabilizing stitches around the hole vertically, as you taught me. Then I crossed the hole with individual strands, then I laid another foundation horizontally, and then I wove through the vertical strands to form new fabric, and then, Voila! No more hole!
I will wear my properly mended socks as a badge of honor. It's not that I am particularly frugal, but I am not about to toss handknit socks just because of a little hole (or even a big one). And it's not that I haven't fixed holes before, but my way of doing it was lumpy and ugly (note the previous lumpy repair in the heel of the pictured sock). There is a simple elegance in Merike's method.
After I finish fixing the holey socks, I'm going to go through my sock drawer and reinforce thinning heels and toes, as a preventative darning. It's actually sort of relaxing.
So again, thank you Merike Saarniit- my socks are grateful and so am I.
Speaking of socks, I am hearing reports that copies of The Big Book of Socks are being spotted in the wild! For those who haven't seen a copy in person yet, here's a preview of some socks from Chapter 6. These are Nordic Style socks, sized for adults, and children. I love love love how the photo came out (I love love love all of the photos in the book- Taunton did a marvelous job of putting it all together).
I'll post more pics from the book as the week goes on.