Sunday, May 31, 2009

Felting simple sock mending

I just noticed that I haven't shared any of my felting projects lately. Felting and dying are probably my favorite two crafts to do. I have been using this blog lately as a way to jot down notes so if someone asks me how I did something I will be able to look back and see (this is the reason I have all the silly notes to self on many of my post). I don't know many people who felt and felting is such a simple process I don't ever feel like I need to take notes. I rarely ever want to felt the same object twice and I have given very few felted things as gifts. Most of my felting time is just fun playing around time.

I figured I should post a few of my felting projects (things I made April-May) so the people who hear me talk about how much I love to felt can see some of what I do with it.

Back in April my mom wore some holes in some socks I knit her. I knit her the socks well over a year ago. I knit them with some merino I spun and I dyed it in very long loops making it a self striping yarn. My Mom LOVES her socks. I DON'T love them because I was a very new knitter when I made them and the yarn I spun took forever to spin and dye. Last month after wearing a hole in her socks she showed them to me and asked if I could fix them for her. I tired to tell her it was time to get rid of them (toss them, give them to the birds to make nest with, cut up into compost to put in the garden, or such) but she wouldn't agree to that. She said she would keep them and wear them with holes if I wouldn't fix them.

Here is the hole.
The thin heel. I imagine the very thin spot on the heel is a thin spot in my spinning more than a worn spot from her wearing them.
A very thin area along the ankle. This is probably a thin spun yarn area and being soft merino wool (no nylon or mohair to strengthen it) I am sure it got thinner from shoes rubbing on it.

I didn't have any yarn dyed to match and I was very busy making Easter dresses for my girls and an Easter gift for my Mom so I took the easy way out and patched her socks with some needle felting.

I need to let all knitters, who are gasping at the thought of felting to mend socks, know that I am not a knitter! I only know how to make socks and I can't follow a real knitting pattern. I don't have the skill to "mend socks". If you are a knitter you probably already know that handspun single ply merino is not a strong yarn to make socks with. I now know to ply it with nylon or mohair but back then I didn't know anything about making socks.

To mend the socks I cut a patch of pink felt that I had laying in the craft box (the pink felt was scraps from a sweater that I machine felted and dyed pink months ago). I put the patch with a bit of roving over the worn bottoms and needle felted it together. I ended up padding the entire heel on both socks. I hope doing that will give the sad old socks a bit more time to wear them before they fall apart. I used some roving (white because I didn't have time to dye any) and felted in the worn out areas on the ankle. Last thing I did was I cut a tiny heart shape to cover the hole and felted that on.
Sure this might be the worst mending job ever done to a pair of socks but I feel the pink heart over the hole is a very cute fix! The heart is the kind of thing my Mom did when I wore out my rag dolls or favorite clothes. The pads on the heels don't show when she is wearing the sock and I hope the padding feels nice and soft on her feet. If I had a bit more time to fix them I think I would have still felted them and most likely used the pink patches but I would have dyed some roving to use so the white spots would blended in a bit better.

I don't know if I will ever learn how to properly mend socks. To me a patch on the knees was good enough for me as a child to fix my favorite jeans so a patch on the heals is also "good enough" in my eyes. I think patches are a fun way to embellish clothing (even socks). I am not the best knitter so none of my socks are "a thing of beauty". They will never compare to the beautiful hand knit socks you see online. Mine are simple, fun, and functional (both with or without the patches). I kind of wonder why others don't use patches knitting? I understand how ugly it would look on cables or lacework but for colorful fun kids sweaters or funky socks why not? I think it might be a good solution for a sweater with a moth hole or a snag.

If patched socks are not your thing don't worry I will post pictures of the denim shorts with felt embellishments I made a couple weeks ago next. They are some very simple fun kids clothes.

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