How to Mend Socks, Part Three: Scottish Darning

18 August 2021
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Ad description: Cover of the book Sheep, Shepherd & Land, and the words, "THE book about Canadian Wool, by Anna Hunter. Photos by Christel Lanthier. Buy now."

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This is the third tutorial in a three-part sock-mending series covering how to do Swiss darning, stocking darning and, here, Scottish darning.

Scottish darning basically involves rows or rounds of blanket stitch that build upon one another to create a stretchy fabric. When mending a circular shape, it’s worked from the outside in, efficiently closing a hole. I’ve just recently added Scottish darning to my mending repertoire, after I blew out the bottom of a sock heel on a relatively new pair of socks (must have been all those long pandemic walks).

image description: a pile of handknit socks, with evident mends

Tools for Mending

Yarn: Choose a yarn that’s the same weight and of a similar fibre content as the original yarn. When mending socks, a wool blend with nylon, mohair or silk adds strength. A multi-plied yarn with a tight twist will be much more durable than a loosely spun, single-ply yarn.

Blunt-tipped yarn needle with a large eye: The blunt tip helps avoid split stitches. Look for a needle with a large enough eye to thread your yarn, yet fine enough to go under your stitches without difficulty.

Darning egg (or similar): A darning egg or mushroom is a tool created specially for mending, but you could also use an orange, a lightbulb, or a smooth rock. Any smooth form with a flat or rounded surface that can fit inside your sock is useful to have as a surface to work against so you don’t sew both sides of your socks together. In a pinch, I’ve used my cell phone and found it really handy when the screen lit up.

Scissors: Small, sharp scissors or snips.

Locking stitch markers (optional): Stitch markers may be used like tiny stitch holders to keep live stitches from unravelling.

image: the tools for mending - a pair of scissors, a wooden darning egg, locking stitch markers, darning needles and some short lengths of yarn, arranged on a flat surface

All images by Holli Yeoh.

Copyright © Holli Yeoh except as indicated.

About Holli Yeoh

Holli feels strongly about fine craftsmanship, believing that while there’s more than one right way to do things, it’s important to do it right! To this end, she teaches skills that enable knitters to feel justified pride in their finished projects, while accommodating different knitting styles and preferences. Students leave her workshops with an arsenal of valuable techniques, deep understanding of the choices to be made in knitting, and new confidence. Find her patterns on Ravelry, LoveCrafts, Makerist, and Payhip, and follow her work on Instagram at @holliyeoh and her website at holliyeoh.com.

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