Recently I bought a very elegant vintage darning mushroom. It is beautifully turned, with a lovely dished hollow on the underside of the head, as well as several lovely rings and a little nub at the end of the handle:
The mushroom is a lovely addition to my collection of darning items, which includes a much less elegant mushroom with a painted head, vintage darning needles, and vintage darning threads. I’m particularly delighted with the copy of Therese de Dillmont’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework that I bought from a secondhand book stall at Yarndale last year, which contains a comprehensive collection of illustrated darning tutorials.
These are not just things to own, but are also tools for me to use. Anyone who knits socks also needs darning knowledge and equipment, because the horrible alternative to darning is to throw away precious handknits when you have worn holes in them, and holes in socks are pretty much inevitable!
I did some sock darning last year, including some practice on a stocking stitch swatch. The practice included my first ever try of a Scotch darn:
However, my favourite darning method is ‘Swiss darning’, which creates stocking stitch fabric over a supporting network of threads. I used this method to repair the heels of some of my favourite socks, bought from John Arbon a couple of years ago:
Here’s the illustration of Swiss darning from Therese de Dillmont’s book:
I did a Periscope broadcast last week, in which I showed my collection of darning accoutrements. You can see the broadcast at my Katch channel.
I’m planning to share more pictures of my vintage knitting items on Instagram. Want to see them? Follow me!