The first time I saw a darning egg, it wasn’t an egg, it was a mushroom and it belonged to my grandmother. It was early in the ’70′s and she still used it regularly. The mushroom was in a basket with some knitting to be mended.
My mother explained it’s use, and said, “Don’t worry. If you haven’t got one of these, you can always use a lightbulb.” That was long before curly-q CFR lights became the law. Ah, progress.
Years later when a darning-egg was spotted at an antique shop, I knew what it was and had to add it to my fiber arts collection. Then I found a mushroom, a modern one complete with a tension band (patented 1900!). This new-fangled darning tool is my current favorite for sweaters – the egg is better for socks.
Recently, we acquired a new puppy. She is a cattle dog mutt that we call Sassy. And she is. Having the energy to run with cattle all day, she is also very fast and agile. She jumps high and before learning to be a lady, Sassy would occasionally catch clothing with her sharp puppy teeth. Now, a few sweaters have holes and I remember the darning egg.
First, the sweater, this one is not hand-made or even expensive but an old favorite anyway. Next the yarn or thread you will use to darn the hole. Here, I use yarn salvaged from a machine-made wool stocking to make it easy to see the stitches. (If you darn with a matching color, your mending can be almost invisible – but more on that later…)
With an appropriate needle, and your darning mushroom, (egg, lightbulb, etc.) it is time to take your first stabilizing stitches. These will go around the hole, picking up any visible loops that may run farther down, or up, the garment. You will use these first stitches around the hole to anchor the rest of your work. Be sure to set these stitches into solid, sturdy fabric and not the worn-out threads that may be at hand. If you do, the darning may rip out and create an even bigger hole!
Going around the hole twice, you are ready to begin building new fabric with a horizontal stitch, say left to right. Try to incorporate as much of the original knitting and threads into your stitch, anchoring firmly before turning the needle and going back the other way, this time right to left.
It may seem odd, but darning mends a hole by weaving new fabric, not knitting it. Your next stitches will weave up and down, through and between the horizontal ones to create a solid fill-in for your previous wind hole! Remember to get your needle through as much original fabric as possible while you work, as it helps to stabilize, and hide your mending.
As you look the garment over, you may notice other areas that need mending too. Go wild while you have it in your hand, and stitch those frayed cuffs too. Here, I used a blanket stitch.
Recently, someone stopped my husband to comment on his darned sweater saying, “You don’t see that very often. Someone must really love you.”
He thought for a moment before his reply, “Yes, I guess they do.”
Copyright 2013 © Leslie Ann Lloyd and Hedge Rose Farm 2009-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to author with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.