Knitting a Patch

I know this isn't a knitting forum, but I'm hoping some of you can help me.
My editor insisted I change the name of the next Betsy Devonshire book, w
hich I was calling The Needle Case. After some toing and froing we came up
with Darned If You Do. It's cute but now I have to add a scene where a so
ck gets darned. I've been looking at tutorials on the 'Net, and have writt
en what I think is an accurate description. If you are interested, please
read this and let me know if it's okay. Let me know if I'm stepping way ou
t of line with this. If not, thank you very, very much!
Betsy went back to Crewel World to find Godwin deeply immersed in teaching
a young woman to darn a hand knit sock. It looked like a sock from one of
his knitting classes.
The sock, a bright orange with small black diamonds, was bulging smoothly o
ver a small hole in the heel.
Ah, he's using a darning egg, thought Betsy. The smooth wooden implements
came in various sizes and shapes - some more like a computer mouse than an
egg. It was generally the truly egg-shaped that had handles on them. They
slipped inside socks or the arms and even the backs of sweaters that had w
orn or torn a hole in themselves. It made mending them easier by freeing b
oth hands for the work and by preventing the stitcher from stitching the fr
ont onto the back.
There's something satisfying about mending a hand made garment, she thought
. Ours is a throw-away society, it's good to push back against that once i
n awhile.
Godwin did not glance up. He had threaded a darning needle appropriate to
the thickness of the yarn used to knit the stocking. The yarn he was threa
ding was a bright orange to match the area where a hole had worn through.
"And now I take some of the leftover yarn from your stocking, which you wi
sely kept per my advice, and note I cut a length of it longer than you migh
t think you'll need, because it's ever so easy to cut the extra off than tr
y to pick up and continue with a new length."
"Okay," she said, nodding.
Without changing tone or looking around, Godwin said, "Hello, Betsy. Valen
tina called, she's going to stop by in a little while. Now, have you done
duplicate stitch before?"
The young woman said, doubtfully, "I've looked at it on the Internet, and s
o I understand the theory of it, but I've never tried it. Is it as easy as
it looks?"
"Nothing is as easy as it looks. So okay, before I start, you knitted this
sock using four double ended needles, and there's a way to patch this hole
using them, size double zero. Would you rather do that?"
The young woman rested her chin and cheek in the palm of her hand, while sh
e thought, but then said, "I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. Whi
ch do you prefer?"
"Honestly? I like duplicate stitch if the place is only worn thin. If the
re's an actual hole, then I like darning with double zero needles."
"Fine." She turned to Betsy. "I'll take a set of double zeros, please."
"That's great, Molly." Betsy brought a packaged set of four to the desk.
Molly opened the package and gave the needles to Godwin.
He took one and said, "First, find the first row below the hole that has no
damage. You're looking for strong, solid stitching." He pointed the row
out and began carefully working across the row, starting about half an inch
to one side of the hole, lifting a single stitch and running the needle th
rough it. He continued across the row to half an inch the other side of th
e hole. "See?" he said.
"Gotcha," Molly replied.
"Now, from the farthest left hand picked-up stitch, run up that column with
another needle, picking up each stitch, beside the hole to a solid row abo
ve it." He did so, his fingers moving nimbly, while she watched.
"You do that so smoothly," she said.
"Lots of experience," he said. "I'm always wearing a hole in my socks, tho
ugh it's usually at the toe." He leaned a little sideways and murmured, "I
have such sharp toenails."
Molly giggled.
"Now, run the third needle up the right side, same as you do on the left.
At this point you've got that old hole practically surrounded."
"Except at the top," Molly pointed out.
"Yes, well, we'll take care of that as we approach. So, you take your four
th needle, and a matching yarn, or some left over from the sock lesson, and
you verrrry carefully pick up that first stitch on the bottom row and the
first stitch on the right vertical row, and you knit the two of them togeth
er with the strand of yarn. Like so."
He deftly picked up the stitches onto the free needle and knit them into th
e strand of yarn. "Now, continue across that row to the other side."
In a few minutes he said, "And now we turn and purl our way back, picking u
p that first stitch from the vertical needles, so we're tacking it down on
either side. You see? We're knitting a patch over the hole."
"Well, isn't that clever!"
"Yes, it is." Godwin purled his way back, then handed over the sock with i
ts needles. "Here, you knit a row while I watch."
Molly set out, moving slowly as she felt her way into the knitting. "I'm n
ot used to such tiny needles," she said. "But look, it's coming along."
She purled the next row, this time without her tongue sticking out of the c
orner of her mouth, her movement quicker and smoother. "Wow," she said. "
This isn't hard at all!"
"Tol'ja," said Godwin. "As you get near the top, pull the bottom needle ou
t and thread it across the top, then knit the last row onto it."
"Yeah, yeah, that makes sense."

"So now you know you don't have to throw away a pair of socks you worked so
hard making just because you blew a hole in one of them. Come back in the
fall, I'm teaching a class on duplicate stitching which you can use to pre
vent a weak spot in a sock or sweater or hat from turning into a hole."
"All right, I will. Thanks, Goddy!"
Reply to
Monica Ferris
I will go through this tomorrow. Do you realize we Brownies, back in England in the 1940s, had to darn a sock to pass a badge??? I remember along with that was to make a bed, and make a cup of tea. (No teabags). LOL Sheena will remember.
Gillian...certainly telling my age !
Reply to
Gillian Murray
Yep, this is the way I remember it too. You basically wove "fabric" with the yarn over the hole. I always had trouble maintaining tension and not pulling the yarn too tight making it all bunch up instead of lying smooth. It just takes patience and practice.
You *could* get rather artistic about it though if you used a contrasting yarn or a couple of different yarn colors, one for the base set of lines across, then another for the weaving lines.
Another way was to do as Goddy described, only having planned it in advance by the way you knitted the original sock: do the heel and toes in a contrasting color that made it easier to rip out the old "bad" sections and re-knit it with more yarn.
I also wouldn't use double 0 needles on the patch unless they were the same size as I had used originally. I'd use the same size needle and same size yarn as I had for the sock in the first place.
One last note, that double pointed needles that small often come in packs of five instead of four, meant for sock knitting. It all depends on the manufacturer, but most European brands would come in fives.
Can't wait to read the new one, Mary Monica. :)
Nyssa, who has a wooden darning egg with handle around here somewhere
Reply to
Nyssa
The passage looks good to me.
When the student gets to the top of the patch, she is going to have to graft it to the original knitting. Grafting is duplicate stitch over stitches that aren't there. But the viewpoint character left before the lesson got that far, so there's no need to worry about it.
I always use interlocking rows of buttonhole stitch , but I think that that is somewhat unusual. (My theory is that woven darns on socks got established when people darned so many woven fabrics that they could make a woven darn work on *anything*.)
When I get a hole in the toe of a sock, I rip the entire toe off, pick up the stitches, and re-knit the same way I did the first time. There is a ripple where new stitches spring from old, flattened stitches that never blocks out.
I use duplicate stitch only on very small patches of damage, or very valuable garments. If there is anything at all left of the original stitches, duplicate stitch hardly requires instruction: Just cover up the existing yarn. (Magnifying glasses help.)
If the garment is *really* valuable, I will use a separate piece of yarn for every row of duplicate stitch, and break the yarn by pulling out individual fibers so that there isn't any clear end. The last bit that won't work in a needle can be tucked in with a crochet hook.
Reply to
Joy Beeson
Not trying to complicate things, but with needlework I would have thought of using pattern darning before sock darning.
Many needlepointers are using pattern darning patterns as backgrounds on hand painted canvas pieces these days:-)
Happy Stitching, Donna in Virginia
Reply to
Donna
Monica Best of Luck with the New book !!!!
We learned to darn on a `Darning Mushroom` [if you never saw one , i found some examples on
formatting link
I still got an old that was My Husband`s grand Ma. When we did not have one ready we used a turned small drinking cup .. > >>
s came in various sizes and shapes - some more like a computer mouse than a n egg. It was generally the truly egg-shaped that had handles on them. Th ey slipped inside socks or the arms and even the backs of sweaters that had worn or torn a hole in themselves.
eventing the stitcher from stitching the front onto the back. We always held the the sock tightly with one hand and mended with the other , never saw or heard anybody who had 2 free hands to mend ,,,
ht. >Ours is a throw-away society, it's good to push back against that onc e in >
THE TREND Now is mending repairing reusing recycling
o >the thickness of the yarn used to knit the stocking. The yarn he was >t hreading was a bright orange to match the area where a hole had worn throug h. EXCELLENT
ight >think you'll need, because it's ever so easy to cut the extra off tha n try to >pick up and continue with a new length."
EXCELLENT
iF HE IS KNITTING THE PATCH THERE IS NO NEED TO HOLD A DARNING EGG OR MUSHR OOM INSIDE THE SOCK IN FACT IT WILL HINDER THE KNITTING mirjam
Reply to
mirjam
if it was a `hole` we wove over it , if it was a thined place we embroidered over the original stitches ,,, in a manner that looked like knitting. mirjam
Reply to
mirjam
My favorite line: "Nothing is as easy as it looks." I love how it just sits there being subtly provocative but with no explanation or elaboration.
Also, I love how the group's responses have taught me why socks often have different colored toes & heels. Funny how manufacturers make them that way on purpose now, with no connection to the idea of repairing (mending).
I love learning this sort of historical trivia.
Reply to
Danny Breidenbach
There are so many different ways of darning a sock. Duplicate stitching is definitely one of them and makes a beautiful darn that is almost invisible. So, Godwin is doing it right. You might want to ask this question on Knit ting Paradise, a knitting and crochet forum. It's http://knittingparadise. com. I JUST discovered your books and have been having a delightful time reading them. I'm up to number 3!
Reply to
janeo150
Hallo Danny , i forgot to tell that sometimes my mother used to add another thread only to the heel part of the sock ,, to strengthen it from the begining .
if you like reading Historical tyrivia [of knotting] here are books i recommend
Socks & Stockings, By Jeremy Farrell, B.T.Batsford Limited London , 1992
Stockings & suspenders , a Quick Flash, by Rosemary Hawthorne, Souvenir Press 1993.
A History of Hand knitting, by Richard Rutt, Interweave Press, Loveland Colorado, 1987. mirjam
Reply to
mirjam
I have 2 darning eggs that belonged to my Grandmother, and have used them to do quick repairs on small holes in the toes of my socks-faster than going to the store for new ones. She taught me the weaving type of darn.
1 With the egg in the sock sew a rectangle around the hole. Use the egg to keep the shape of the heel or toe. 2 Sew a few small stitches from your anchor stitching to where the hole starts, then a long stitch to the other side of the hole, then small stitches to the anchor stitching. Make a horizontal line for each row of knitting. Use the egg to keep the shape rounded 3 Do vertical rows starting & ending the same way & weaving the threads over the hole.
My darning eggs have handles on them that were used to stretch fingers of gloves to darn them.
I know this isn't a knitting forum, but I'm hoping some of you can help me. My editor insisted I change the name of the next Betsy Devonshire book, which I was calling The Needle Case. After some toing and froing we came up with Darned If You Do. It's cute but now I have to add a scene where a sock gets darned. I've been looking at tutorials on the 'Net, and have written what I think is an accurate description. If you are interested, please read this and let me know if it's okay. Let me know if I'm stepping way out of line with this. If not, thank you very, very much!
Betsy went back to Crewel World to find Godwin deeply immersed in teaching a young woman to darn a hand knit sock. It looked like a sock from one of his knitting classes.
The sock, a bright orange with small black diamonds, was bulging smoothly over a small hole in the heel.
Ah, he's using a darning egg, thought Betsy. The smooth wooden implements came in various sizes and shapes - some more like a computer mouse than an egg. It was generally the truly egg-shaped that had handles on them. They slipped inside socks or the arms and even the backs of sweaters that had worn or torn a hole in themselves. It made mending them easier by freeing both hands for the work and by preventing the stitcher from stitching the front onto the back. There's something satisfying about mending a hand made garment, she thought. Ours is a throw-away society, it's good to push back against that once in awhile.
Godwin did not glance up. He had threaded a darning needle appropriate to the thickness of the yarn used to knit the stocking. The yarn he was threading was a bright orange to match the area where a hole had worn through.
"And now I take some of the leftover yarn from your stocking, which you wisely kept per my advice, and note I cut a length of it longer than you might think you'll need, because it's ever so easy to cut the extra off than try to pick up and continue with a new length."
"Okay," she said, nodding.
Without changing tone or looking around, Godwin said, "Hello, Betsy. Valentina called, she's going to stop by in a little while. Now, have you done duplicate stitch before?"
The young woman said, doubtfully, "I've looked at it on the Internet, and so I understand the theory of it, but I've never tried it. Is it as easy as it looks?"
"Nothing is as easy as it looks. So okay, before I start, you knitted this sock using four double ended needles, and there's a way to patch this hole using them, size double zero. Would you rather do that?"
The young woman rested her chin and cheek in the palm of her hand, while she thought, but then said, "I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. Which do you prefer?"
"Honestly? I like duplicate stitch if the place is only worn thin. If there's an actual hole, then I like darning with double zero needles."
"Fine." She turned to Betsy. "I'll take a set of double zeros, please."
"That's great, Molly." Betsy brought a packaged set of four to the desk. Molly opened the package and gave the needles to Godwin.
He took one and said, "First, find the first row below the hole that has no damage. You're looking for strong, solid stitching." He pointed the row out and began carefully working across the row, starting about half an inch to one side of the hole, lifting a single stitch and running the needle through it. He continued across the row to half an inch the other side of the hole. "See?" he said.
"Gotcha," Molly replied.
"Now, from the farthest left hand picked-up stitch, run up that column with another needle, picking up each stitch, beside the hole to a solid row above it." He did so, his fingers moving nimbly, while she watched.
"You do that so smoothly," she said.
"Lots of experience," he said. "I'm always wearing a hole in my socks, though it's usually at the toe." He leaned a little sideways and murmured, "I have such sharp toenails."
Molly giggled.
"Now, run the third needle up the right side, same as you do on the left. At this point you've got that old hole practically surrounded."
"Except at the top," Molly pointed out.
"Yes, well, we'll take care of that as we approach. So, you take your fourth needle, and a matching yarn, or some left over from the sock lesson, and you verrrry carefully pick up that first stitch on the bottom row and the first stitch on the right vertical row, and you knit the two of them together with the strand of yarn. Like so."
He deftly picked up the stitches onto the free needle and knit them into the strand of yarn. "Now, continue across that row to the other side." In a few minutes he said, "And now we turn and purl our way back, picking up that first stitch from the vertical needles, so we're tacking it down on either side. You see? We're knitting a patch over the hole."
"Well, isn't that clever!"
"Yes, it is." Godwin purled his way back, then handed over the sock with its needles. "Here, you knit a row while I watch."
Molly set out, moving slowly as she felt her way into the knitting. "I'm not used to such tiny needles," she said. "But look, it's coming along."
She purled the next row, this time without her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth, her movement quicker and smoother. "Wow," she said. "This isn't hard at all!"
"Tol'ja," said Godwin. "As you get near the top, pull the bottom needle out and thread it across the top, then knit the last row onto it."
"Yeah, yeah, that makes sense."
"So now you know you don't have to throw away a pair of socks you worked so hard making just because you blew a hole in one of them. Come back in the fall, I'm teaching a class on duplicate stitching which you can use to prevent a weak spot in a sock or sweater or hat from turning into a hole."
"All right, I will. Thanks, Goddy!"
Reply to
Jane

Site Timeline Threads

InspirePoint website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.