Okay, now that I’ve abused the word darn for the title of this post by making the most overused joke in the fiber arts, I’ve decided to look it up. I’m too lazy to haul out my Oxford English Dictionary (1929 edition), so I’m going to use the dictionary that comes with my computer:
darn |därn| verb [ trans. ] mend (knitted material or a hole in this) by weaving yarn across the hole with a needle.
For the purposes of this post, the crucial part of this definition is the word weaving. You see, when I give someone a hand-knit item, it comes with the Yarnboy Lifetime Guarantee (YLG), which allows the recipient of said item to return it to me for repairs at any time during the life of the item (or the recpient . . . thus far, all of my recipients are still alive*). There are a couple of reasonable limits to the YLG; for example, there’s no way in hell I’m going to repair lace. Secondly . . . um, gotta check the fine print.
Until recently, no one had taken me up on the YLG. Either the items I knit are so awesome that they never fray, or my recipients hate their hats, sweaters, socks, and scarves never make it out of the closet (or off the rack at Goodwill). Then, a couple of months ago, my friend Ned returned a pair of socks with the surest sign of a well-loved item: a hole worn in each sole.
When I composed the YLG, I didn’t actually know how to repair anything. Oh sure, I could sew up a single broken stitch, but holes? For that, I consulted this article, following the directions for a hole that occupies more than one row of knitting. Which brings us to the definition above. Strictly speaking, what I did to Ned’s socks was not weaving at all (an actual woven repair follows these instructions); it was a total reconstruction of the knitting itself. Here are the results:
It was much harder than that article makes it look. Matching gauge is nearly impossible, as is matching yarn that has been underfoot, quite regularly, for over three years. Well, no matter; I warned Ned that the repair wouldn’t be pretty, and it isn’t. Like any good friend, he assured me that comfort was more important than style. Besides, the repair is on the sole, and who’s going to see that? Right? Anyway, as a word freak, the real question that bugs me is whether or not, by definition, I actually darned those socks.