Sunday, May 13, 2012

darn it!

 a new project

my very first darn job - may 2012

I think a lot about waste. How I waste. What we waste. Wasted time and wasted money.

And then I had beautiful-but-holey socks that I didn't want to throw away...which led to this project.


For the past few years, I've primarily been wearing wool socks (specifically smartwool socks) because they are ridiculously comfortable, and when you walk a lot, you need comfortable socks. I like the idea of merino wool: its naturalness and renewability, its thermal and odor-resistant properties (I wear these socks many times before washing them!), its resistance to dirt, and the fact that it grows on sheep.

I first learned about the wonders of merino while living in New Zealand, where sheep are a pretty big deal. L worked in menswear in a department store, and Icebreaker (one of the NZ brands they sold) let each employee pick out any item from their catalog. He got an amazingly thin but warm hoodie that he still loves to wear five years later. It was an incredible to get that for free because, in case you didn't know, merino wool is pretty expensive - but definitely worth it.

It's interesting to think back to the (before mass production) past, when clothes were precious because there were laborious hand-processes required to make or have them made. To make wool socks, someone would have to shear a sheep, wash the wool, hand card it and spin it to make a yarn, dye it and then knit it. After all that, it would be insane to toss a pair of socks out because of a hole. 

So back to my socks. They were expensive (relatively) and treasured, and I didn't want to waste. During a visit to Portland back in January, my mentor Erica Edwards of Quotable Content showed me a wool pair she had darned that had felted together nicely. My mom had talked about darning her underwear during hard times in her twenties, and though, thankfully, times are not too hard for me at the moment, I decided to follow in the footsteps of a tradition of repair and give my socks a longer life. 

I happened to have an orange ball of wool yarn. So I darned them.* And then I darned another pair, and soon enough I could wear those socks again without my toe poking out. I liked the contrast of the new yarn to the old, that it added to the visibility of my work...knowing and seeing that I had done that.


This is where you come in. Send me a worn or holey pair of socks that you love and I will repair them (for free), photograph them, and send them back to you. 

Near the top right of this page is an "E-mail: Click Here" button. E-mail me to get the address to send them to. Tell your friends and co-workers. Send them to this page if they want to know the background story. My only requests are that you only send one pair, and that I can choose whatever color of yarn that I darn well please.

Thank you!

click here to see the darn it sock gallery

*Darning is the name for the method of repairing holes or worn areas in knitting or fabric using a needle and a thread (of a similar material to the original garment).  

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