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by Arounna Khounnoraj April 11, 2021 4 min read

If you knit socks, then learning how to darn a sock is a vital skill! After all that hard work of hand knitting socks, knowing how to repair them and make them last longer is really worthwhile. Socks aren't the only knitted items to need a little fix-up, darning can be used to fix holes in sweaters too! Our free tutorial will teach you how to darn socks, sweaters, and any other knitwear that needs it.

But what is darning?

Darning is the simple process of weaving yarn in rows and columns to create a little patch of fabric to cover the hole or worn area.

We asked Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou to explain the process. Arounna is a fibre artist living in Toronto, and her studio focuses on screen printing in the making of a variety of goods including bags and home decor items using natural materials. She also works with her husband John Booth in designing and making wood furniture and accessories. She's also a darning expert, and recently published her new book Visible Mending.

This tutorial shows you how to create a weave mend using wool yarn and the Katrinkles Darning Loom.

Positioning the Loom

 

A multicoloured sock lies folded over, with a hole in the centre of the foot, near the toe. Above the sock is small yellow scissors, a needle, a darning loom and blue and black mending thread.

Let’s begin, when darning a hole in a garment it makes it easier to sew when you have a flat object underneath the hole. The wood base of the Katrinkles loom serves this purpose.

Hands hold a striped sock, with the hole showing between them. Inside the sock and underneath the hole is a wooden darning loom, with the wood visible through the hole.

Take the wood base of the Katrinkles loom and place it centered under the hole that you want to mend, making sure to keep the flat edge of the loom at the top.

A sock showing a hole in the foot, and underneath the hole is a wooden darning loom, with the wood visible through the hole. A hand to the left holds a small wooden heddle.
A sock showing a hole in the foot, and underneath the hole is a wooden darning loom, with the wood visible through the hole. Hands hold a heddle in position on the outside of the sock, next to the darning loom inside with the teeth of the heddle pointing upwards.


Take the heddle with its teeth pointing upright and press against the flat edge of the loom with the fabric sandwiched between.

Hands are stretching a blue piece of elastic around a heddle and darning loom positioned inside the sock, securing them both together.

Continuing to hold the heddle against the base, take the elastic provided and wrap around the perimeter so that it holds the fabric onto the base and the heddle to the flat side.

The sock with hole is shown from above, with the darning loom in position inside the sock, the heddle on the outside near the toe and both are being held in position by elastic.

Once you put the elastic around the loom, adjust the heddle so that the teeth are just above the hole and protruding above the surface of the fabric.

Threading the Loom, Creating the warp

A left hand holds the sock with loom in position, and the right hand holds a needle threaded with black mending thread, with the tip positioned at the bottom left corner of the hole to be mended.

Take the tapestry needle provided and cut a piece of yarn the length of your arm from fingertips to your chin. Thread the needle so that one end is loose - you don’t need to tie a knot because the tails get woven into the back of mend.

Start at the bottom about ½ an inch below the hole, opposite the side with the heddle and to one side aligned with the first tooth on the heddle. Take the needle and go pick up some of the knitted area - about ⅛ of an inch.

With the darning loom in position, the mending yarn has been threaded from the bottom of the hole, to the top round one of the heddle teeth and back down again.

Pulling the thread all the way through, leaving a tale about 3 inches long, start making the warp by taking the thread up and over the hole and wrap it around the first tooth on the heddle before coming back down over the hole and anchoring your needle into the knitted area.

The hole of the sock has been covered with black thread, woven from top to bottom along the heddle, looping round one of the teeth each time.

Moving the needle to the side slightly, anchor the thread again, opposite the next tooth, and repeat step 8 until the area above the hole is covered with thread. Try to keep the threads evenly spaced and parallel to each other.

Creating the weft

The hole has been covered by black threads, from top to bottom. The right hand holds the threaded needle towards the bottom right of the hole, ready to weave through the vertical strands.

Rethread your needle with a contrasting colour and start perpendicular to the threads you just finished to create the weft. To start, achore your needle into the knitted area just above where the warp threads start and about 1/8th of an inch to the side of the first warp thread.

The needle is held in position horizontally across the bottom of the hole, by the vertical strands.

As you reach the warp threads, slide your needle under and over each thread, repeating those steps untill you reach the other side of the mend where you will once again anchor the thread into the knitted area about 1/8th of an inch again. This will secure the mend along the edges and will not result in a gap.

Half of the hole is now also covered by horizontal strands, woven in and out of the vertical threads, creating a dense fabric over part of the hole.
The entire hole has now been covered by both vertical and horizontal strands, creating a dense fabric to cover the hole of the sock.


Repeat step 11, moving back in the opposite direction but this time sliding the needle through the warp threads in an over and under, opposite to the previous thread. Anchor the threads into the knitted area on the sides and continue back and forth, under/over, then over/under untill the mend completely fills in over the hole.

Finishing

With the hole covered, the elastic is being removed from around the heddle and loom.

Once you complete your weave mend over the hole, remove the elastic band that is holding the heddle in place.

The heddle has been removed from the sock, leaving the patched hole with the loops that were around the heddle teeth loose at the top.

Carefully remove the heddle by lowering the teeth and releasing the top loops of your mend.

The black strand at the lower left of the hole is being held and pulled downwards to tighten the loop at the top of the patched hole.

To tighten the top loops of warp thread, take the loose tail that is connected to the first loop and gently pull it down until the top loop disappears and the thread is tight. Move to the next thread, again gently pulling the thread tight and repeat until the entire mend is tight and there are no loose loops.

The sock has been scrunched up and the darning loom removed. Hands hold the sock near the patched hole and the right hand is hand stitching the top of the darned area.

In order to finish the top edge, take your needle and thread and run a whip stitch along the edge to attach it to the knitted piece.

The darned sock is show from the inside, and the loose threads are being tightened and sewn down.

Flip over the knitted piece to reveal the back side of the mend and pull all your tails through from the front to back. Then take your needle and thread the tails using a running stitch to weave them into the knit. Any left over tails you can snip away.

Have you been inspired to give darning a go? Explore our range of darning products currently in stock in our online shop by visiting our mending collection.

Arounna Khounnoraj

bookhou was cofounded by John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj in 2002 to showcase their individual and collaborative work. They are a multidisciplinary studio that emphasizes natural handmade materials and small production pieces. 

John Booth received his education from Queens University and his architecture degree from the University of Toronto. He is currently working with form and structure in both painting and furniture. Arounna Khounnoraj received her education from the Ontario College of Art, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a MFA from the University of Waterloo. She is currently exploring pattern and image in her textiles and sculptures.  In the fall of 2008 they opened their brick and mortar shop located on dundas street west in toronto.

In 2018 Arounna published her first book 'Punch Needle' available in 7 different languages.



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