Holey Heels

While I love my handknit socks, I really don’t want to spend a lot of time reknitting a heel, nor can I bring myself to embrace Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s method of darning: standing over the garbage can shouting “Darn, darn, darn” while dropping them into the wastbasket.

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Exhibit A: a pair of socks knit with Koigu 100% merino yarn in 2004, worn once a week for three years straight. I’m surprised they held up as long as they did. I took them out of rotation before the heel blew away completely, intending to darn them, but they sat in my project basket for six months, untouched.

The good folks at Arbutus Farm on Lopez Island displayed this brilliant solution to fixing thinning heels. Needlefelt them!

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Stuff your felting pad, foam or brush inside the sock. Then place a little roving over the thin spot and start poking.

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Turn them inside out to poke the roving back through, and then turn them over one more time. There will be fuzzy bits left on the inside of the sock, and this section will feel a little stiffer than the rest of your sock, but to my mind this is a better solution than throwing them away, or reknitting a new heel.

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Voila! A perfectly wearable, if inelegant, handknit sock repaired.

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10 Responses to “Holey Heels”


  1. 1 oldladypenpal Monday, July 2, 2007 at 6:38 am

    This is a fantastic idea, and as soon as I a) finish knitting a pair of socks and then b) wear out the heel, I’m going to use this repair method. Great stuff!

  2. 2 chickenbetty Monday, July 2, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Holey Crap! That’s brilliant!

  3. 3 sweet caroline Monday, July 2, 2007 at 10:50 am

    When I knit socks, I generally knit the heel a little larger than I need with wool that I know will felt. The body of the sock stays unfelted while the heel shrinks down and thickens in the first wash.

    I like your method too!

  4. 4 elanknits Monday, July 2, 2007 at 11:24 am

    I’ve used that method to repair felted mittens that had worn through at the thumb & found you couldn’t see the repair, great idea for socks.

  5. 5 kristin Monday, July 2, 2007 at 11:44 am

    that is so clever!! thanks for illustrating the tip for us.

  6. 6 Maia Monday, July 9, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Brilliant! I will have to use this trick. I can’t embrace the Harlot’s darning method either.

  7. 7 CTJen Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I love this idea. I am so going to do this next time. 🙂

  8. 8 picperfic Monday, January 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I love this idea for darning socks…


  1. 1 Lime & Violet’s Daily Chum » Blog Archive » Tutorial: Darn Heels Trackback on Monday, October 8, 2007 at 4:12 am
  2. 2 Sock It » Holey Heels " HomeWork Trackback on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 8:35 am
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