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socks

Abandoned socks make super sleeping bags for hamsters.

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Strictly Come Darning: How to do darning

Darning is basically small-scale weaving.  It isn’t difficult but like anything else, it takes practice but is incredible satisfying.  You will need to buy a darning mushroom, although I have darned using the smaller cup from a thermos flask  I would also recommend using proper darning wool if you can, although you can do a perfectly acceptable darn with double knit, it will just be a bit bulky if you’re doing a sock.

If you want to make the darn really strong, I usually just overstitch round the edges of the hole to secure ragged edges and pick up any loops of wool that could ladder.  You can just do a running stich, as in the picture, but blanket stitch is stronger.  Hold the fabric firmly and evenly over the darning mushroom.

1. Take the darning thread backwards and forwards across the hole, keeping them in close lines.

2.  Then, at right angles to the first lines of threads, weave the wool in and out of the rows.

3.  Make sure you tie the wool off securely when you’ve finished or your hard work will be in vain.

If you’re darning a particularly large hole, for example in a jumper, I would recommend putting a piece of net across the hole and darning though that to add strength.

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Socks Education: Where do the odd socks go?

Socks cause a great deal of trouble in the home.  Everyone needs socks and everyone has experienced difficulties with socks, whether through personal loss, identity crises or malodorousness. 

Sock Amnesties:
Every so often, the preponderance of single socks in the Lost Sock Basket, forces me to hold a Sock Amnesty.  This involves The Boys handing in any socks, single or otherwise, that they have found under pillows, in schoolbags, down their trousers or on bookshelves, with complete impunity.  The Lost Sock Basket is then emptied into the washing machine.  When clean and dry, any socks that are obviously a pair are returned to the drawer of their owner.  Any socks that remain are marched straight to the rag bag.

Identity Parades:
There is absolutely no valid reason why anyone should wear plain, dark socks.  To do so is perverse and selfish and leads one to suspect that the wearer has no hobbies.  I am charged with the responsibility of managing the socks of a gentleman on a professional basis and he has more than 50 pairs of plain, unmarked socks, 45 pairs of which are black or navy.  However, they are not identical; they exhibit a bewildering assortment of ribs, welts, lengths and thicknesses and on wash days I am frequently to be found in the laundry room, ashen faced and shaking, being menaced by 28 startlingly similar items of faintly threatening hosiery as they stealthily mount the clothes horse.. 

Hole in One (or both):
The Wartime Housewife is not in favour of profligate waste, not even in the sock department.  I am one of those genetic mutants who has my second toe longer than my big toe.  Consequently, every sock I own has a hole in the toe within a month of being introduced to my feet.  Therefore I darn.  Darning is easy and, if done really well, will actually strengthen your socks thereby ensuring a longer life.  I will show you how to darn tomorrow.

Lost Socks in the Laundry of Oblivion:
Make yourself a cup of tea, help yourself to a Hob Nob and sit down.  I have something to tell you.
I believe that when you know, to the core of your soul, that you put two socks in the washing machine, but only one sock comes out, there is a scientific explanation.  Time and/or interdimensional teleporting.  Washing machines are imbedded with a Top Secret Chip which dictates that when the spin cycle reaches a certain velocity i.e. between 800 and 1000 rpm, for a certain period of time, single socks are flung out of this time and catapaulted into another. 

Think of a time in history when ghoulish knitters were actually given a name.  The Tricoteurs of the French Revolution were alleged to sit at the guillotine, knitting whilst they enjoyed the entertainment. They weren’t watching the executions, they were waiting.  Waiting for the single socks to materialise so that they could knit a matching sock and sell them on the black market.  Those socks that were merely flung into another dimension are currently languishing in Single Socks Schools, learning  darning and podiatry or being put to work as sleeping bags for hamsters or, in the worst cases, as hand puppets in tea commercials. 

Possible Solutions:
The obvious solution to the Great Pairing Debacle is simple.  Five pairs of black socks with coloured toes and heels can be purchased at modest cost from any major supermarket (more expensive varieties are available should you wish).  They give every appearance of being plain dark socks, but when sock bath time comes round,  they are easily identified and paired up.  It goes without saying that patterned socks are easily managed, as are plain socks with the days of the week embroidered on them.  Cartoon socks are not acceptable under any circumstances.

Another, more time consuming, measure is to thread a little piece of coloured wool just inside the welt of  each pair of socks, which will not be seen by strangers, but will be visible to The Sorter of The Socks.  It would take a little time, but would be infinitely cheaper than buying new socks.

However, if your socks are disappearing from the washing machine on a regular basis, then you must either stop spinning them at once or better still, hand wash.  This is the only sure fire way of keeping absolute control of your socks. That and not wearing any socks at all.  But that would be going too far.  OR WOULD IT?

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