Sock longevity and darning

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Ginger1
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Sock longevity and darning

Post by Ginger1 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:44 am

Hi all,

I seem to be able to wear holes in the toes and heels of socks in a matter of months. My strategy to solve this problem is:

A) Learn how to darn socks
B) Buy better quality socks (that will have the side benefit of inspiring me to keep them in good condition and repaired when necessary).

As for A - some quick Youtubing suggests getting a darning mushroom, darning thread and needles. Are all these things necessary? Will they make the darning process that much easier and enjoyable?

For B, any tips on material of sock for longevity and repairability (but can still be worn with a suit when needed)? I have noted Jacob's advice of only buying black socks.

Thanks!

Noedig
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by Noedig » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:36 pm

I fix bikes, shoes, furniture, electronic gear, phones and anything I can learn to do. My experience with socks is that by the time they have a hole, they are almost always threadbare elsewhere and so mending them is futile.Good quality socks are a must - walking socks last a very long time and are very comfortable, but cannot be worn with work shoes usually. For workwear, I would go for a poly/ lambswool blend - I hold these to be the most comfortable of all socks, as they are the ones of mine that the rest of my family always steal from my sock drawer.

Not that this represents you in any way, but I do sometimes feel that there is a school of ERE thought which embraces asceticism for the opportunities for self-denial or as my dear departed gran might have said, "mortification of the flesh". Taken to extreme this can sometimes read like "If I sit at home with the lights out eating cold scraps and doing nothing, then I am saving for ERE!". I know, you are just asking about socks here, but I will refer to my sister-in-law's rule, which is that she won't work for minimum wage doing things for herself:- if she can buy socks for less time in labour than it would cost her to fix them, she would buy.

That said, happy darning!

saving-10-years
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by saving-10-years » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:06 pm

@Ginger1 This won't be the solution for your work socks but if you can teach yourself to knit socks (think you might enjoy this) and/or have someone prepared to knit socks then _these_ will be worth darning and last a very long time. You can knit in double toes and reinforced heels to give longer between repairs. I've now got a few pairs and they are lovely. Those I have made for others have been enjoyed and darned and have a long life ahead. It is simply not worth darning socks which are low quality and from your note about B) that seems to be what you currently have. Even though I can darn and would enjoy doing this repair on good handknitted socks I am not prepared to do that on the commercial machine made thin items - the other parts would simply wear out around the darn.

jacob
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by jacob » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:57 pm

I have some fancy hiking socks ($15+/pair) of which I've yet to kill a single pair and some semi-fancy business socks ($5+/pair) and then a dozen+ of junk tennis socks (all black) that I wear all the time (also for hiking and business). All black => Losing one NEQ losing a pair, so attrition rate is /= 2!

The former almost never wear out because I wear them all the time. The later die regularly. I don't bother to darn them. They get turned into rags for polishing shoes or cleaning tools.

If you can do just one intelligent thing about socks, just make sure they all match.

Darning is a multi-D ROI question. Do you mind? And how do you value your time and what do you compare it to? If a sock is dying from below, it's hard to save and rescuing requires heroism. If it's dying from the side (a toe rubbing on the shoe), a bit of effort = a new sock.

If you want the perspective of a several Wheaton levels out .. XGF's XBF only ever bought new socks and wore them once. If you think about it, you could do this. Such a "new sock"-expense would be about $1/day ... so not entirely insane if you ignore resource waste and only consider the $10k in invested assets to support it.

DIY'ing your own socks ... my grandmother (RIP) could knit one sock a night ... but much as I appreciated it ... they were no match for paying $10 for 8 socks at walmart in terms of cost-usability.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:09 pm

"Darn Tough" brand socks have a lifetime warranty. According to reviews if you get a hole in them you send them back and the company sends you a new pair. You can get them at REI.
Losing one NEQ...
What does NEQ mean?

jacob
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by jacob » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:09 pm

!= ... not equal

saving-10-years
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by saving-10-years » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:59 am

@Jacob - I can probably do a sock in a long car journey (as passenger) while listening to the radio or chatting. That is one of the lovely things about knitting. You can enjoy/entertain yourself (pointless otherwise I agree), make something good (productive and creative), while not taking up any more time than you usually would. I bet your grandma knit while also doing other things?

Same skills transferable to sweater knitting etc. But socks are great for being pack-able in a pocket while in progress (using circular knitting needles, which your grandma probably did not use and would have found even easier).

7Wannabe5
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:25 am

@saving-10-years- Very true. I am banned from the mid-day sun this summer, so my plan is to amuse myself with crafts and classic movies. I just had piles of books on variety of archaic arts and crafts projects shipped back to me, so I hope this will be fun. My artisan skills are mostly at the level of bare competence. I think I can knit, but nobody seems to agree besides some poor children who were too young to object to being bundled into one of my creations.

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vexed87
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by vexed87 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:03 am

I darned my favourite cycling socks, probably wouldn't bother with typical dress socks though.

saving-10-years
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by saving-10-years » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:14 am

Mainly for 7w5 - with all my knitting books (and I have plenty) - this online free pattern for socks is well explained and works for me (reinforced heel so not the easiest). http://susanbanderson.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... socks.html

Same author also has a pattern for worsted weight socks (for when the weather gets a tad nippy and you need socks for boots). Rainbow colours are optional.

IlliniDave
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Re: Sock longevity and darning

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:30 am

I don't know about whether they can be darned/repaired, but I have several pairs of the "smart wool" style socks (I usually by the thickest version for hiking). There are several brands and the big outfitters like Cabelas and Gander Mountain have house brand knockoffs that are a couple bucks cheaper and seem to hold up just as well. I've yet to have one of any brand that even appears to show wear. A couple pair I've had for > 15 years. Likely I'm talking about the same style as jacob mentioned above. They have the added benefit of almost no moisture retention so for camping/bushwacking/remote living they dry very quickly.

I've not found them in black so I just buy "disposable" black socks from Walmart and use them as cleaning rags one the inevitable hole in the heel gets to be the diameter of a quarter. I keep 5 pair on hand for M-F, wash them weekly, and most of the time they seem to last me about 10 months. I do do a lot of walking at work.

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