A couple of years ago I made a pair of socks in nalbinding. I made them striped in two colours and fulled them for extra strength and durability. I have loved them and worn them a lot during the years, which has resulted in holes. Today it is mending time.
Mending to reinforce
Yesterday I had a whole day of zoom lectures in a university course I’m taking in my day job. I decided to use the screen time for mending socks. Use in sort of a reciprocal way – I use the lecture to mend socks and the sock mending to reinforce (literally!) what I hear. It is like the lecture sets itself in the yarn and is woven into the socks, stitch by stitch.
I actually had a whole different blog post planned, but this one just bubbled up as I was sitting at the morning lectures and now I suddenly have mended socks. Sometimes a blog post just jumps at you and makes some extra blogging and crafting sense. This was such a time.
Old socks with new holes
Nalbinding is a very old technique where you basically sew, or rather knot, the yarn around the thumb and in different ways over and under the thumb thread. The resulting fabric becomes very strong since A: the threads go over and under each other and B: you can’t pick a thread and unravel it. Oh, well, I’ll show you instead:
When I nalbind I always full it to make it even stronger, and I did for these socks too. But sooner or later there will be holes from wearing. If I remember correctly, I think I have mended these socks once before, under the heels, which would be the most logical place for the first holes in socks. I think I did that mending by adding more nalbinding.
The mending scene
The white yarn in the socks is a rya/finull cross which is quite strong. Originally I spun it as a warp yarn for a blanket. It is 2-plied and a sport weight-ish yarn. The dark grey yarn is superfine Shetland wool I think – a fingering weight 2-ply yarn that I spun for something else, I don’t remember what. So the fibers in the dark grey are finer and the yarn thinner than the white yarn. And neither of the yarns was originally spun for socks.
As I decided today was mending day I found some of the original white yarn. I decided to use it for all the holes, both grey and white. This resulted in some sort of semi-visual mending. If you count the soles of the feet as visual, that is.
Looking at where these new holes are gives me some clues to how my feet work and how the yarns in the socks work. On both feet the holes are on the inner side of the heels. This is an area with lots of abrasion and despite the strong white yarn and the strong technique plus fulling the holes are a fact. I had made the previous (nalbinding) mending on the bottom of the heels.
There were also holes on the dark grey stripes on the inner sides of the balls of the feet. This tells me that the dark yarn is weaker than the white yarn (which I knew of course) and that there is a lot of abrasion on that part of my feet. I have high arches. On the quite slim areas of the soles of my feet that do touch the ground, the pressure is quite high. This is something I make mental notes of for future sock projects.
I decided to weave a new fabric over the holes. I’m sure there is a fancy name for this kind of mending, I just haven’t learned it yet. Or is it just called darning?
Anyway, I started by sewing a running stitch around the hole or worn part. The running stitch works as a strengthener of the edges of the darning and as a marker of where the hole is. In the next step I made long stitches across the hole, the warp if you will. I started and finished the warp threads on the outside of the running stitch border. In the final step I wove a tabby weave through the warp with a darning needle and fastened the thread.
I was very happy with the result. It just feels like such a pity that my pretty mending is on the soles of the feet where no one can see them!
In one of the socks I found a flat piece of felted wool that must have been pulled out of the fabric by my sweaty feet (sorry for the perhaps too illustrative explanation, but I do have a point). I decided to take advantage of the felted patch and place it on the inside of the heel mending as an extra strengthener for a spot on the socks with lots of abrasion. After all, that is probably where the wool on the loose came from in the first place!
A happy mending
I have done this kind of mending before, but never this organized and geometrical. It must have been because I saw the experience as blog worthy and made an effort to do it properly for you. So thank you for helping me make a pretty mending!
Suddenly I feel the urge to flaunt my mended socks. Have you ever found yourself wanting to flaunt your mending? I’m sure you have. A mending is a sign of love and tribute to something you hold dear, an opportunity to give back to the sock that has kept your feet protected and warm for so long. An anthem for cherished socks.
As you can see from the shape of my feet I have impressive bunions on the insides of my feet. I can see that the dark grey stripes are thinning on these parts, so they will be my next area to mend. I will keep my mending radar turned on for the next lecture.
By lunch I had finished my sock mending. Lucky for me I had prepared a spindle for the afternoon lectures! For more mending adventures, read my portrait of a sweater post. And oh, for an excellent book on mending, get Mend and patch by Kerstin Neumüller. It is available in several languages.
You can find me in several social media:
- This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
- My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!
- I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
- I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
- On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
- Follow me on Instagram. I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
- In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
- I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.