Remember these socks? They belong to a friend’s brother, whose wife had knit them for him. She passed away last year, and I offered to try to mend the blown out heel. I finally had a moment to sit down with this project. It turned into a much larger moment, but it was worth it.
I didn’t recognize the kind of heel in this sock; it’s not my usual flap and gusset, so I winged it. I picked up stitches in a line two rows under the hole, making sure to go a couple stitches past the hole on either edge. I knit across the row, and purled back. From there on, I picked up a stitch at each end of every right side row, to k2tog with the beginning of the row, and ssk at the end of the row to attach the patch to the sock. Purl back. When picking up the next edge stitches, skip up a row (go up 2 rows) to make up for the purl row.
See how my patch had parallel edges? That didn’t quite work. Because of the way the heel was shaped, I needed to decrease 6 stitches as I went up, so that I could kitchener stitch to the smaller number of stitches *above* the hole, since my sides were tacked down with a set number of stitches between. (Still don’t know what that heel shaping was, but there were fewer stitches between the edges when I got there, so I had to rip back and work in the decreases. I think that the new knit fabric is stretchy enough to make up for the missing heel shaping.)
Looking back from the other side. We’re just going to cover up that hole and pretend it never happened.
Here’s the finished patch, kitchener stitched (grafted) to picked up stitches above the hole. Tidy!
Here’s what it looks like on the inside. I used my ends to tack a bit of the frayed fabric to the inside of the patch.
I used duplicate stitch to reinforce the other heel because it hadn’t broken through yet. It looked terrible but I was afraid to pull my stitches out to re-do it, because the threads of the heel were very thin, and I was afraid they would break if I pulled too hard.
I did some darning on the inside to see if that would make it secure, but it still felt pretty weak.
So I did a knitted patch here, too! I worked this one in the opposite direction, so instead of decreases I used increases, and grafted at the lower edge (left sock). Easy once you know how. Everything feels tidy and secure. I put my foot in them, and they feel fine.
Now these socks can go back to their owner. I’m glad I could help.
Have you ever darned or patched socks? I have used a little duplicate stitch on thin spots, but I had never fixed an actual big hole before this. I’m pleased to have this new skill in my tool kit!