Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh, Darn

Quick – what is a darning egg? Oh, my gosh, that’s right. I can’t believe you are THAT old. What, Betty? No, it does not come from a darn chicken.

According to one of my favorite sites, Wikipedia, “A darning egg is an egg-shaped ovoid of stone, porcelain, wood, or similar hard material, which is inserted into the toe or heel of the sock to hold it in the proper shape and provide a firm foundation for repairs. When the repairs are finished, the darning egg is removed.”

I remember seeing my grandmother pulling socks from her mending basket and sliding the handy little tool into the toe or heel before expertly weaving a patch of soft thread. My mom, too, mended socks but didn’t always have a matching thread. On the days when I wore the light blue socks with the red thread repair I always made sure my shoelaces were double knotted.

You would think the skill of sock mending would be passed down from mother to daughter. Somewhere between my mom and me, that knowledge and desire flew out the window (along with the passion for dusting).

Shortly after I got married someone gave me a sturdy darning egg made of wood with a handy handle for quick retrieval. Yeah, like you can loose one of those things in a sock. My young husband was thrilled with the prospect of my darning his socks “just like mama” and I soon had a lap full of socks to go with the egg.

Being a crafty, but unwilling sock darner, I quickly figured out that being an expert sock darner meant an endless supply of socks to darn as my groom was an expert toenail grower.

I set about to end the ridulous practice of spending nine cents a skein on yarn for every color of sock imaginable and hours with needle, thread and darning egg. The tradition of sock darning stops here.

My first few darns were okay, but as more socks appeared in my new mending basket, I began to make lumpier and lumpier repairs. Oh, gee, seems a badly darned sock is a bit uncomfortable. Complaints from the wearer only resulted in more lumps. Finally I suggested, in a volume readily heard, that he just go buy new socks and throw the old ones away. The cost of new socks in those days was about the same as a skein of mending yarn.

“What?! And waste a perfectly good mate to the holey sock? Mama always darned my socks.”

After a brief and lively conversation about sock repair, I knew our marriage would eventually spiral downhill.

The topic, and additions to the mending basket, stopped for several weeks, then one day raised it’s ugly head with a pair of dark blue socks with holes in both toes. I offered to go that very minute and buy new ones, but nooooo, these had to be “mended” – and mended right now.

I quickly mended the socks, but not with the traditional needle, yarn, and stupid darning egg. My darling put on his socks, finished dressing and out the door he went. He never, ever asked me to darn his socks again. He even bought two dozen pairs of socks in assorted colors.

I bought a new box of staples.

P.S. (Added January 2, 2008) My sentiments were echoed in one of my favorite cartoons, Pickles, today.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords


  1. This is absolutely hilarious! No way did I anticipate staples! Well written. Thanks for adding me, I've added you to FOP. Looking forward to reading more

  2. Wonderful and vivid.

    How about duck tape?

  3. Very 'crafty' on your part Suzz..hehe. My husband made gobs of holes in his socks; but I never once thought about darning them. Darn good thing he didn't care...hehe.

  4. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Some men! Cheap, cheap, cheap! Yet, they will spend fortunes on cars and airplanes. I have been known to staple the hem back in my dress (until I could get to a needle and thread), but hadn't thought about stapling hubby's socks. Good idea (if he insists on my darning his socks)!

  5. Betty6:19 PM

    This is sooooo funny! Keep 'em coming.

  6. What's different about that Suzz? I've been using staples for years now.

  7. Sue Too10:17 AM

    Delightfully written, I read it aloud to my hubby and we giggled. The art of darning stopped with me too. Shopping's more fun anyway.

  8. Nancy6:04 PM

    Hi Suzz,

    I really laughed at your darning technique. How inventive and what a great way to tell hubby you would not be darning anymore.

    I wrote a story on Ronni's Elder Story telling and told how all of my husband's neighbors thought he was a crippled boy as he limped to school in his darned up socks that his Mother had slaved over.

    If only I had known. I could have bought her a stapler........

  9. p. mona9:13 AM

    On a positive note. The constant rubbing of the thread knots on our heels when wearing loafers caused a bunion like growth, which in later years enabled us to wear those precious "ballerinas" without them falling off. However, we still had to scrunch our toes.

  10. lol I love it! My ex never batted an eye that I didn't darn socks like our mother did! One of his more sterling points! lol

  11. As a writer myself seems like theres a 'hole' in this story. LOL.

    Very cute!

  12. Absolutely delightful. I could almost see you!

  13. Bwahahahaha!

    Staples, exactly what I use when in a hurry and a slack leg hem is turning loose.

    If you use a permanent black marker over the top of the stack of staples, they are almost invisible on black slacks "grin".

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  17. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Although I have a tendency to grow long toe nails (that's a polite way of saying I'm too lazy to snip them regularly) my socks tend to wear out at the heel first (maybe I have sharp heels).
    What I do (and listen up all you other males out there) is when I buy new socks I always buy several pairs exactly the same so there will always be a match (until I'm down to one sock, of course). It doesn't mean my socks are all the same, just that there are groups that are the same.

    Elsternwick Pierre