So Many Socks

All the rain we’ve been having has kept me inside. Yesterday, I decided to clean out my closet. I didn’t get far because I got hung up on my handknitted socks. Once I pulled them out of various nooks and crannies, I threw them on my bed and checked each pair for holes.

I have an astonishing 44 pairs of socks for everyday wear! (I have “gift” socks in a separate bin in the basement.)

socks May 27, 15

Of those 44 pairs, 36 are in good shape and are shown here neatly stacked in a bin. The 8 pairs in front need mending. I know how to mend socks and I’ve done it many times. The problem is that I don’t like doing it — I’d rather knit another pair. But can I throw away handknitted socks that could be mended? It seems so wasteful. On the other hand, I’d love to toss them out and relieve myself of guilt. I certainly have enough pairs in perfectly good shape.

What would you do?

46 thoughts on “So Many Socks”

  1. Turn it into a darning session/learning opportunity at a LYS and then donate the socks to a shelter. I am sure there are plenty of knitters that would help darn the socks for a couple of hours spent with you darning or learning how to darn.

  2. I would toss them and grab a new skein of fun stripy yarn and cast on a new pair. I’m curious to know if you save any yarn once you finish your pair of socks and tuck it away just in case there is a small hole emergency? I wouldn’t want to repair my socks if I didn’t have matching yarn…….that’s just me. Besides knitting new socks just sounds way more fun!!! Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do…….BTW, your socks are lovely! I wish I had that many pair knit up in my wardrobe!

  3. Nancy Conybeare

    As the person whose book taught me how to knit socks (and use DPNs) I say use totally deserve to toss the old and start new ones.

  4. I would make something else with them: Pin cushions, patchwork placemats or dishcloths, doll afghans!

  5. I’d knit another pair… maybe “rip” out the old ones and reclaim the yarn for children’s socks.

  6. Make “pairs” of socks from the single socks still in good shape and use the damaged socks in some other way. Use the mismatched pairs for doing things like hiking, gardening, etc. to preserve your nicer socks. The damaged socks make great dust cloths, protective covers for glasses or camera lenses….

  7. I actually like darning the hand knit variety. Such a good feeling. I thought I had too many pairs at 25 or so. Guess I need to take a road trip. That’s my sock knitting tome

  8. It depends on now bad the holes are. If the holes are small, I mend them. If the holes are big, I toss them.

  9. An amazing number of socks, Ann! Some could become a fun dog toy. My dog loves to flip old socks from side to side or up and down. The rest, I’d toss. Spend you time doing something you enjoy – knitting new socks!

  10. Theresa Pressman

    Send them to me and I will darn them, of course I get to keep them. What an honor to say these were Ann’s socks at one time!!! LOL

  11. If you can repurpose them in some way as others have suggested great, otherwise I’d say toss them!

  12. Mishelle Kirby

    I would toss out the old ones and not look back. Life’s too short….knit on!

  13. Barbara Keil RN

    I would fix them, or give them to someone who wants to fix them and then donate them.

  14. I personally do what Stephanie Pearl McPhee suggests – hold them over the wastebasket, drop them in as you are saying “oh darn!””

  15. I like to idea of taking them to a LYS for a mending class and then letting them find new owners.

  16. I’d ask my son to mend them! I am so proud of him as he grasped the basics of darning quickly and does a much better job of it than I do. I gave him the tropical seed, which is a disc about the size of my palm, which my mother used to use in Affrica when mending my geologist father’s hand knit socks, so not only does he have her skill but her tool,too. Best heritage he could get.

  17. Unless they have sentimental value, toss ’em or send them to the chick that wants to say she has your socks.

  18. Why not offer them as a prize for a ‘lucky darner’? Anyone interested could enter and the winner (s) get to mend and feel lucky and virtuous…you, on the other hand are darn-free and have room to make new ones…sounds like a win-win to me!

  19. Ann,
    I would turn them into hand puppets for children that need some fun in their lives.

  20. I’d take one of those rainy days and frog what I could and use the yarn to create a Mixed Yarn of Madness”! I could not throw it away and I wouldn’t spend time on the areas where the frogging gets impossible. I think it would be fun to see what Madness a person could get up to and what that Madness might produce! Good Luck! HAPPY KNITTING!

  21. I end up mending and re-mending all the ones that I have given away when they are brought back to me for a bit more life. (Many of my own have been languishing in the sock hospital for an awfully long time.) Despite my best efforts to look on the task as a testament to the great appreciation of my knitted gift, it’s still not exactly a pleasure. I do most of the mending on long road trips when I have time to be looking at what I’m doing and I can’t feel annoyed that I can’t be reading or watching a show. My goal is to get enough socks into circulation that the individual sock’s share of daily wear and tear is greatly reduced. I’m also trying to teach people to return the socks for repair when they’re thin, not actually worn through! That said, I finally issued a ‘do not resuscitate’ bulletin on one pair, and sent a brand new pair in their stead to replace the ones on their last gasp.

  22. Rhonda Croxson

    I would chuck the socks with holesand make mis-matched pairs with the remaining socks that do not have holes! I am so glad to finally figure out how to reach you! Loved your pics from Australia cruise! How is Carmen? Is she weaving? Miss you two and hope you sign up for China, Japan Craft Cruise! Would love to know how you are doing and love to see you again, rhonda

  23. I second the idea of using them as teaching samples at an LYS, donating them to a shelter, and casting on some new ones. Wins all around.

  24. I LOVE knitting socks, and would always rather start with new ones.
    But I have to admit it’s hard for me to give up something I *could* fix. I’m trying to get over that! ;o)

  25. It’s a hard decision for sure. If you knew of a group of knitters that knitted for charity I would think the could darn them and still give them to the homeless, I know I wouldn’t mind darned hand knitted socks. You also could toss them and try never to think of them again. It’s a problem for sure.

  26. Pamela Werner

    I will take them . I have attempted to make socks and get stuck and not finish. I hear they are super nice.

  27. linda gaylord

    my policy is each pair of hand knit socks is entitled to 3 mendings,if possible.i am this generous to my own and any pairs that i have gifted to others because i don’t yet own that many pairs of hand knit socks at the same time!!! after 3 mendings,or if the damage is too great,the socks will find a new purpose–mug cozies,arm warmers,leg warmers,coasters,hampster blankets,ferret sleeping bags,dust rags…the possibilities are as endless as your needs and imagination…though i have to agree with you on the concept that it is so much more fun to knit a new pair than to mend an old one,as i don’t like mending either,but i have become awfully good at it…

  28. As I spy my way through the socks needing repair, I think I can see one pair made from Nancy Bush’s Traveler’s stockings – my all-time favorite pattern, so yes, there are some beauties!

  29. Therese Inverso

    Don’t mend them yet. Wait until you schedule a class and teach those young folks how to darn/mend their socks.Don’t forget the darning egg!

  30. I’ve mended several of my handknit socks. They are still very warm and usable and I’ve taken (since the original yarn may be long gone) to doing the mend in a contrasting color for the heck of it. I’ve also noticed my mends have gotten better. 🙂

  31. Put folded socks away in a container and forget about them (for now)…..Knit more new socks!

  32. I have tried several ways to darn socks, but not always happy with the results. What method do you use? I like the idea of letting your LYS use them for a class on mending socks and then donating them, If you taught the class I know it would be a success.

  33. Well, I would mend them but I only have a few pairs. I’m with Lynn – A Mending Class/book PLEASE!

    Mine were wearing on the bottom of the heel. So I unraveled the sock up to a bit pass the weakest yarn and re-knitted the sock with the left over yarn. Now my other foot has a hole and I no longer have enough yarn left. I could use the unraveling part but it’s curly! Despite all the books I have read, I am really not sure how “fit” the sock should be. That’s why classes in a yarn shop are good. Wish there were yarn shops within a reasonable distance!

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