New Again – Sept 2017
5-6 hours later and here’s a new pair of socks – restored with new heels (Click here for the socks before I reknit the heels). If you’re a dedicated knitter and want to know how I do it check out my instructions.
Knitting a heel itself doesn’t take long – each heel takes about an hour – it’s all the preparation, picking up stitches on a carrier thread, carefully pulling out excess knitting (from the cut edge), and then finally grafting the instep onto the new heel (this last step requires slow careful stitching – done loose and then tightened just enough for an even finish, stitch by stitch).
Obviously replacing heels goes a lot faster than reknitting an entire foot – but I can only get away with this easier repair if the holes aren’t too big. If the worn heel includes some of the instep, I have to cut off everything, retaining just the legs and building a new sock from there.
Here’s a pair of socks I made in 2008. The heels were repaired once in the interim. I got them back again for repairs a couple of weeks ago – heels for sure, but when I went to work on the socks I thought the ball of the foot was too worn to keep, so full feet were needed. The socks are still worth salvaging – the legs are fine, and that’s half the work! Nine years of wear is pretty good.
Remake September 2017
For the remakes I use whatever yarn I have on hand that might sort of blend. I could always use a solid, but where’s the fun in that. I’m not into boring – what makes the sock knitting work for me is a constantly changing pattern which the variegated yarn offers. I decided on bright heels to offset the darker yarn I used for the foot. These socks will serve for another 5-7 years!
The reality is when these socks come back to me, they look like this – holes and full of nubbies:
After & Before! (Worn heels removed)
These socks are well used – they’re slept in on flannel sheets! You can see what they look like before I begin working on them. The first step in the restoration is to shave them – this morning, I used my electric clothes shaver to clean up the nubbies so I have a clean sock to work with. This pair has an intact foot, so all I need to replace are the heels. This is the pair I will work on next.
Here’s the original pair from 2010:
When I’m done with the repairs these socks will look almost like the original socks. Seven years of wear before a heel replacement – pretty good!
I still have a couple of pairs of socks in my sock drawer from 2004/2005 (I began sock making in October 2003)! These socks live a long time when they’re cared for. That’s why I still find making them so satisfying. I know my sister Barb has some that are that old (her’s also get repaired when needed) Gotta keep these socks alive.