Do any of you sock knitters our there reinforce your socks in the heels and/or toes? If so, what method do you use and what results have you had?
I have not in the past. However, I find myself in a dilemma. My family keeps requesting socks. They all love hand-knit socks, from my 5-year-old youngest son all the way up to my husband. They all want me to make them socks. But when I do…they love them so much that they wear them almost constantly (except when I demand them for washing) and they have holes in them within a month.
Possible ways to fix this…make them more pairs so they can rotate through more and not wear so hard on them…and reinforce them. Making them more pairs is all fine and dandy, but of course I can only knit so fast, and I don’t want all the hard work to be hole-filled if I can’t keep up. I don’t know how much reinforcing helps, but I am willing to give it a try at this point. WAY too much time and effort goes into a pair of hand-knit socks to have them full of holes so soon.
So I looked it up online as well as asking my friends at my knitting group. I decided to start by trying the method that is done after the sock is finished. You use a nylon mix yarn/thread (available at most knitting stores) and a needle to weave through every-other purl bump on the inside of the sock in the area you want the reinforcement. You can also use the same yarn you used for the sock, but I was worried about how thick that would turn out so I used the specialty stuff made just for this to do it on my first pair of socks. I might try to use the same yarn as the sock on a future pair.
Here are the socks I just finished for oldest son for Christmas (yes indeed, I only have my husband’s gift and a couple more hot pads for Christmas baskets and then I am DONE with the Christmas knitting!!!):
I have been examining my whole family’s socks to see where they get the wear and tear. it is interesting to see that different people get their holes in different places. It must have to do with how they walk and the wear that causes on the sock. So this particular son gets his holes on the sole in the heel area. Because the sock is striped, I couldn’t find a coordinating thread that matched both color section I wanted to cover, but it didn’t end up mattering with this method because it didn’t show through.
Here is what the weaving I did on the inside of the heel looked like. It went across the blue and the brown with the brown reinforcing thread.
That’s the only method I’ve tried thus far, and I won’t know how well it works until the end of January after he has worn them for a while. 🙂
I am going to keep using this method on the next socks I make. For the people in the family who also have toe-hole problems I will either do this method or just knit the whole toe carrying the reinforcing thread through, if I have a matching color that works. I think having a darning egg would make this easier, and I know there is one around here somewhere from one of my grandmothers or great-grandmothers. I need to find it and see if it does make it easier.
I am going to reinforce them from now on unless I have evidence that it isn’t helping. Hopefully, this can make these homemade gifts last longer.