Welcome to the first of many posts on sustainable and simple living!

There will probably be a lot of DIY in this category, since, well, sustainable living means doing it yourself instead just going out and buying it. At least, it does for me. And seriously, I get a real jazz out of doing something myself. Not just because it saves money and saves me from accumulating MOAR STUFFS, but because new skills are awesome.

So, new skills. New skills could be anything. Anything in the world, ever. Just has to be something that you’ve never done before but totally wanted to.

Like, darning socks.

(I prefer to say soxen. Because the plural of socks should be soxen the way the plural of ox is oxen. Which also means the plural of box is boxen. Natch.)

So yeah. I’d always wanted to know how to darn socks. It was one of those things that people did in the books I’d read as a kid. Doesn’t it sound like such an Old World, do-it-by-the cozy-fire-like-they-did-in-Dickens thing? (I am aware that there weren’t many cozy fires in Dickens. Now.)

I knew how to sew up rips and tears; I figured all that out somewhere in my tweens. But if it was a real and proper hole, not just a rip, well that needed something more impressive. It need *reweaving*. And that was the part that always got me nervous. How could I create more fabric? Didn’t that take a lot of Knowing?

Turns out, no. It totally doesn’t.


First, we gather Ye Olde Materials.

Materials I'm using for sock darning

Ye Olde Materials


I had a bag full of wool soxen (see? it works) that I’d been accumulating every winter when I wore holes in them. I just couldn’t throw them away. They were totally fine except for the holes. Poor little soxen; they just needed a little Love.

Turns out that to darn properly, one needs something to darn them on. This ‘egg’ was among the stuff in my hubby’s grandmother’s sewing stash. When she passed away, the stuff was bequeathed to me, since I’m the only one in the family who knew how to use it. (Hell, I was the only one who knew what some of that stuff *was*.) I’d also been told by an elderly patient of mine many years ago that his mom used to darn soxen over the bottom of a glass, so I got one of those too. I could compare the egg to the glass…for SCIENCE.

Conscious Elegance Darning Socks 2 wm

Our tools of Choice

And we needed some darning yarn. I decided to designate the worst pair as the Sacrificial Soxen. Because really, these were pretty bad:

Socks wholly worn

Holy Socks, Batman.
(yes I went there)


(Admittedly I’m embarrassed that I wore these out so badly. But…they were great and they gave their all.)

So I cut off the cuff and started unraveling:


Sock unraveling

Unraveling on purpose 


and eventually had a wee little ball of reclaimed wool:

Ball of reclaimed wool

Regressive knitting

Doesn’t it look like there should be a kitten in the next photo? I learned here that creating a wee little yarn ball did not in fact summon a wee little kitten. Sadness.

So, here’s how the sock goes over the egg (turn it inside out first):

Sock over a darning egg

Eggses in Soxen

and then we run the yarn all around the hole, over and under, to make a border. Because we can’t get too crazy and go beyond the borders. There would be chaos.

sewing a border all around

Establishing a perimeter

(oh, and by the way? No knots. Just leave a tail of yarn at the end, like in the piccie. No need to give yourself that headache. Knots in the bottom of a sock? SO UNFUN). Once we have the border, we start running yarn back and forth along the y-axis, with a bit of slack at each edge so the yarn won’t pull when you wash it:

Sewing across the hole

Starting across


More and MORE !

Continuing to run thread across

Keep going…

and then once that’s all done, we give the whole thing a 90-degree turn and do that over-under thing. THIS IS THE WEAVING PART THAT HAD ME SO FREAKED. Yes, really. Turns out it’s wicked easy; like making a potholder. Don’t laugh; I’ll bet you made one when you were 8.

Starting to weave

Crossing the streams


and there you go:

weaving continues


See the two ends of the yarn? Those just stay there. I think that you’re supposed to tie them off or tuck them in but I can’t be bothered and I don’t want to make knots anyway. I’m not sure it’s a problem. Here’s the outside:

darned sock outside view

So pretty…


Did that go by too fast? Well, I did it all again, this time with the glass instead of the egg. Now that you know the steps, you can sing along:

Sock stretched over glass

Sock over glass bottom


Make a thread-border, then run straight lines…

Darning across the hole

Run for the border…

Then over and under…

weaving the threads


Okay, that’s just purty…

Darned sock, inside view

All done on the inside!


Darned sock, outside view

All done on the outside!

Here’s the entire sock in all its Glory. Yes, glory. Why? Because now I can wear it again!


Completed darned sock

Welcome back, my old friend.

The darning is now complete…when I left you I was but a learning now I am the Master….aaaand I still have the cuffs from the Sacrificial Soxen. I think I’ll make wrist-warmers out of them. That’ll be another blogpost.


[User Testing Update: I’ve machine washed the darned soxen several times now and nothing has come undone. I conclude that knots in the sewing are totally unnecessary.]

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