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Reinforce Your Knitted Socks!

After spending all that time on knitting beautiful socks for yourself and your loved ones it's worth your time to put a little effort into reinforcing your socks! Reinforcing the parts of your socks that get the most wear will help prevent holes from forming and make your socks last longer. One great way to reinforce the toes and heels of your socks is to carry a strand of darning thread along with your sock yarn as you knit those sections of the sock. But what if you don't like to knit with two strands at once, or forgot? Not to worry! In today's blog post we have two ways to reinforce your socks after the fact.

reinforcing your hand knit  socks For both methods we'll be using darning thread to reinforce our knit fabric. If you'd like your reinforcement less conspicuous use a thread that matches your yarn, or you can even use a strand of the sock yarn you used to knit your sock. For both methods we'll also be placing the thread on the wrong side of the knitting, so that if done with a matching thread it'll be nearly invisible from the right side of your work.

Option 1: Weaving in yarn on the wrong side Step 1: Thread your needle with your darning thread or piece of yarn from your sock. Turn your work so that the wrong side is facing out. In this example we've already worked a few columns of reinforcement.

reinforcing your hand knit  socks

Step 2: With the threaded needle pick up every other bump along the portion where you'd like to reinforce your knitting. reinforcing your hand knit  socks Thread the needle through every other bump throughout your desired section of fabric. reinforcing your hand knit  socks Step 3: Pull the yarn through. reinforcing your hand knit  socks Step 4: In the next column work every other stitch as before, but staggering so that the bumps you are working through don't line up. If you worked bumps 1, 3, 5, 7... in column 1, then in column 2 you will pick up bumps 2, 4, 6, 8... DSC_0164Continue repeating until you're entire heal/toe/section has been reinforced.

reinforcing your hand knit  socks Snip your ends, turn you rework right side out, and admire your work! reinforcing your hand knit  socks

  Option 2: Duplicate Stitch On the Wrong Side We talked a little bit about duplicate stitch in this post in reference to fixing split stitches. This is another great application for duplicate stitch! In the weaving method above we worked the reinforcement vertically in columns on the backside of the knitting, with this method we'll be working in rows horizontally along the backside of the knitting. Just like working duplicate stitch on the right side of your knitting you'll want to trace the line of the stitches with your darning thread.

Step 1: Thread your needle through the purl bump, or base of the stitch, and through the bump below and to the right. reinforcing your hand knit  socks

Step 2: Next trace the stitch along the curve and thread your needle through the bump on the left of your first bump, and then back through to the bump where you started. reinforcing your hand knit  socks Continue tracing the stitches with your yarn, working across the row. In the illustration below the blue yarn illustrates where the darning thread goes to duplicate the stitches. Repeat with the following rows in the same manner until you've worked duplicate stitch along your entire section.

duplicate stitch drawing

reinforcing your hand knit  socks As you can see it's nearly invisible from the front side. reinforcing your hand knit  socks

Which one should I use?  The weaving method is great for wool yarns that will felt into the fabric. The duplicate stitch method is best for plant based yarns, since this is a much more stable and plant yarns don't have the teeth and gripping power of animal fibers. Have fun knitting your socks.  If you are looking for a nice technique to graft the toe of your sock, be sure to read our recent blog post on this!
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