If your handmade socks wear out quickly and you end up with holes in the heel and toe area, this tutorial is for you. We’ll discuss a super simple way to reinforce the problematic areas and prevent holes even before we start to wear the socks.
The thing is that most hand-knitted socks are made with wool, because wool is the warmest fibre we know and, of, course, we want to keep our feet warm. The not-so-good property of wool is that it is fairly fragile.
There are several ways to help the wool get stronger – we can use slip-stitch patterns or other textured stitch patterns when we knit the heal and toe parts of the sock. This will make the fabric thicker. Thicker fabric will take longer to wear out, but it also might feel less comfortable.
We can pre-darn the potential holes by running a strand of yarn through the stitches on the wrong side of the work right after the sock is finished. This is a good approach, but a tedious one. Plus, it also makes the fabric thicker.
An easier way to reinforce the yarn is to align the working yarn with a polyester or, better yet, silk sewing thread and use these two strands as one when we knit the heel and the toe parts of the sock. This method is not just the easiest of the three, it is also very effective.
Sewing thread is not thick and it will not affect your knitting gauge in any major way. Any fabric store carries sewing thread in a plethora of colours making it easy to find a good match for the colour of the working yarn.
If you feel that sewing thread is not strong enough and you are still worried about the integrity of your future socks, use two strands of the thread or get a sewing thread marked “extra strong” or “heavy duty”.
Convinced? Let’s see how this method works step by step.
In my little sample sock, I used the classic Dutch heel construction, but this method of reinforcing the yarn works equally well for any other type of heel.
Whether you are knitting the heel along with the body of the sock, or you make an afterthought heel like the one described in the “Top-Down Socks” chapter of the Sock Knitting course, align your working yarn with a sewing thread right before you start shaping the heel, and cut the thread right after you finish the shaping.
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If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.