Woe is me

The first pair of socks I knit for myself, out of KnitPicks Memories, developed a huge hole in the heel within a couple of months. Several knitting friends pointed out to me that the 100% merino content of the yarn I used was the likely culprit: without any nylon for strength, wool socks just wear through.

So I resolved to knit socks only with sock yarn that contained some nylon. These were next, made of Fleece Article Sea Wool–70% merino, 30% seacell. I thought the seacell would provide enough strength to keep these socks intact, but while out for a walk in my neighborhood this afternoon I discovered I was wrong.


Two questions for you all:

1. Is it worth trying to darn these somehow? I like these socks a lot, but the entire heel/foot has worn rather thin. I’m concerned that if I take the time to repair the holes, more are likely to appear elsewhere soon.

2. Do you have any recommendations for good, strong sock yarn? I want to start on another pair of socks for myself, but I really want to be sure I choose a long-lasting yarn.


9 Responses to “Woe is me”

  1. Katie Jon 01 Nov 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Oh no! I wish I could give helpful tips, but I haven’t knit enough socks to give advice. The pair you knit for me are holding up quite well though.

  2. Elizabeth Don 01 Nov 2010 at 8:59 pm

    1. Opal is the toughest sock yarn I’ve used (and, as you know, I’ve used quite a bit). And it comes in a million patterns and colors.

    2. Bottom sock can probably still be salvaged with duplicate stitch over the stitches that are about to go. Top sock? Mimic an afterthought heel. Trim out that fuzzy part, get back to a row of stitches, and put all the stitches on needles. Then, using new yarn — either similar or wildly contrasting, according to your preference, and proceed as if knitting a great big toe (or do you do toe up? If you knit toe up, shout out, and I’ll write out the toe decrease pattern for you).

  3. Bethon 01 Nov 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Yikes, I don’t think I wear my handknit socks as often as you do.
    Sounds like Elizabeth has some good advice and we all know she has the sock-knitting experience.

  4. Ruth S.on 01 Nov 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I agree with Elizabeth. By the way, I had the same problem with Fleece Artist Sea Wool and have to admit to throwing the socks out. My last pair of 100% wool socks were made with a compatible color of yarn with nylon in it for the heels and toes. Now that the cold weather is arriving, I can try that experiment out.

  5. Imperatrixon 02 Nov 2010 at 10:25 am

    Trekking XXL has never let me down. I wonder about *how* your socks are disintegrating … what size needle do you use? It also seems that the transition from gusset to heel is where they are weak. I can’t figure out what that would be – you use the same size needle all the way through, right?

  6. Marshaon 02 Nov 2010 at 10:44 am

    Wow, thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I will have to give Opal and Trekking XXL a try.
    @Elizabeth: You’re saying to cut out the heel and knit a new one with different yarn, right? I like that idea, but I’m concerned that the rest of the sole (which is already thin) will sprout new holes. I wonder if I should just write off these socks from the ankle down and knit with new yarn starting at that point. (And thanks for the offer to write out instructions for me–I knit my socks top-down, so I’m okay on the toe decreases.)
    @Ruth S: I’m sorry to hear you had the same problem! A bit relieved, too–at least now I know it’s not just me!
    @Imperatrix: I’m a fairly middle-of-the-road knitter–not too tight, not too loose–so I usually use #2 needles, the same size throughout the sock. You think I should go up or down a size or two?

  7. Chelleon 03 Nov 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Oh no! That’s sad, I hope you are able to salvage it! I guess that lovely yarn is better for fingering weight shawls and shawlettes then well loved socks.

  8. Jeanon 04 Nov 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Oh no! I’m sorry to see that your socks haven’t fared so well. I have holes in a pair of (commercially bought) socks, and I’m going to ‘convert’ them into fingerless gloves as the hole is just right for a thumb opening…

    As for yarn. I’ve knit my dad four or five pair; I think he throws them in the washing machine, and they’ve held up well so far. I’ve tried some of the fancier, sproingier yarns (Lorna’s Laces, Koigu, Cherry Tree Hill, ShiBui — all gifts so I can’t testify to their wear and tear value) but have always had success with the basics (Regia, Patons, Opal). I knit last year’s Christmas pair with Cascade Heritage line, and quite liked it. Currently I’m working on a pair using a Schoeller+Stahl wool/bamboo/nylon (60/25/15) blend: so far so good! (Wow, I never knew I knit so much!)

  9. Marshaon 04 Nov 2010 at 9:31 pm

    @Chelle: I think you’re right!
    @Jean: Another vote for Opal, I see! That one is definitely on my list now. :)