New York Times Wirecutter

Let’s Talk About Socks, Baby

by Dan Koeppel

"...Repairing your own socks can seem daunting, but it’s fairly easy. You can buy inexpensive darning kits online or assemble your own. Either way, the necessary tools include a “darning egg,” basically a round or oblong object that keeps the sock stretched out while you make the repair, plus an oversized needle with a slightly hooked point and durable yarn. You start by stitching an outline around the hole, after which you weave back and forth (video) to fill the gap—think shredded-wheat biscuit rather than closing a wound. And don’t worry about matching colors: The trend these days is to let your repairs show (check #visiblemending on Instagram, which has more than 70,000 posts). Big darn tip: Repair the hole when it’s small. The longer you wait, the tougher the patch job will be.

Darning is fun, and it also turns out to be pretty addictive. “It’s a gateway,” says Sonya Montenegro, who with her sister Nina runs a Portland, Oregon–based mending collective. “We’ve noticed that when somebody learns how to darn a sock for the first time, they all of a sudden put on their mending goggles and look around and say, ‘Why can’t I fix these jeans? Why can’t I fix this chair?’”

And while repairing a pair of costly socks feels almost mandatory, there’s an even better argument to be made for restoration of bulk-pack varieties. “By darning that six-pack of socks from Walmart, you are disrupting the fashion/industrial complex,” says Kate Sekules, a writer and apparel historian whose upcoming book, Mend! A Refashioning Manual and Manifesto, will be published this fall by Penguin. “You’re rejecting disposability by extending the life of something designed to be thrown away.”

Fixing stuff yourself is satisfying. “It has this very lovely metaphorical sense to it that isn’t amiss in this day and age,” Sekules says. “You mend your clothes, and you may end up mending—just a bit—your soul.”

Today your socks, tomorrow the world."

Collections: Press

Type: press


Related Items