Monday, December 1, 2008

Anatomy of a Heel Repair

You may remember these. S6300990

These funky socks, made not even a year ago for a friend, have fallen upon hard times. Look away if you must... this ain't pretty.


It's a horrible, horrible thing to have happen to a pair of hand-knit socks. (And it just happened to the one sock. Hopping much, V?) I knew I could fix it. I still had a small ball of the yarn left over, and I hied my hiney over to my LYS for some nylon blending thread, which I should have used in the first place. Apparently, 100% merino socks are ticking time-bombs for such behaviour.
First, I checked in my knitting journal to find out what size needles I used. Then, I picked up a row of stitches on either side of the heel, making sure to pick up the same number on both sides.

I did this repair on DPN's but you could just as easily use circs. YMMV.

I now have a solid ring of stitches picked up around the offending (and offensive!) hole. Now, I cut away the fuzzy, frayed bits, to about three rows before the needles. I then pulled the yarn back until I had the live
stitches on the needles.


From here, it's a simple matter of introducing the new yarn, held together with the nylon thread, and forming a short-row heel as if you were making a new sock. (I like the method in the Interweave Knits 2007 Summer edition, but once again, YMMV.)
When your heel is done, be sure to knit one final row "in the round" (all around heel needles) to pull things all together.

From here, it's a simple matter of grafting the contents of top and bottom needles together.
The finished heel:


Beside the original:


It's slightly darker and a bit cushier from the blending thread, and I have to say there's a distinct line on the inside from where the grafting was done, but aside from that, this sock is better than new.
I'll re-heel the other sock while I have it... it's only a matter of time before it goes, too, if I leave it undone.


Velda said...

I barely know what to say, it's hard to type with misty eyes. I'm SO glad you could, and agreed to fix these. They are my favourite socks! (OMG me? fave SOCKS? What is this world coming to??) I owe you BIG looks so complicated and time consuming and I know you have better things to do.....thank you thank you thank you doesn't seem nearly enuf...Hmmm I really do wonder why one went and one didn't lol...

XUP said...

My mum used to darn socks, back in the day. Now we just throw them out or make puppets. But what a lucky gal Velda is to get homemade socks AND get them repaired!!

knitjo said...

So that's what that small skein of fine yarn is!! Reinforce heels. I always wondered what it was for and never asked!

Am I having a blonde moment? I don't know if I would bother if my socks unheeled?

emma said...

Wow! You rock! That was seriously impressive. My "patches" look horrible! Although, I have no idea what I am doing except to "make hole go." Maybe I'll try the real thing next time. I knit enough socks!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

It's always hard/sad to see such a thing happens to handknit socks. Glad to see that you were able to save the day!

Liz in IN said...

Hi. Came here via a comment you made to Wendy (love that "...last blog post" feature).

I love this demo--thank you for posting it! I knit 'afterthought' heels exclusively on my socks. There is no downside to this heel construction, imo. I adore it.

Was the repaired sock heel in the demo *originally* an afterthought? I can't tell from the pictures.

BTW, all my 'holey' socks have *one* heel failure, not both. No clue why this is....

Susan said...

Hi Liz!

The original heel was not an afterthought heel... just a straight-forward short-row heel. However, EZ's technique is pretty easily translatable.

I thought that a neat feature of Wendy's blog comments, as well. Welcome!