Home Economics(Darning egg)--edited title

This thought just came to my mind the other day, and I thought that the SBMB would be a good place to get the answer.

Does anybody ever own and use a darning egg any more? Both my grandmother (born 1865) and my mother (born 1900), had (and used) sewing baskets that had a darning egg as a necessary item. And they used this item frequently to repair socks.

Is this a lost art? Inquiring minds want to know.

Pic to help out:


I recall reading about the story - obviously long ago - about the rural party line that was plagued by a mysterious clicking sound. Investigation finally revealed one old lady was using her handset as a darning egg.

Obviously, this sort of thing - just like shoe repair and patched clothes - has been slowly disappearing as simply buying replacements become so much cheaper in our throwaway society.

I can’t remember the last time I had a pair of socks that got a hole which could be repaired. Mine just wear thin pretty uniformly along the sole, and if they develop a hole it is usually pretty big. Of course, I rarely wear traditional dress socks - almost always some sort of thick cushioned sock. When the cushioning goes they get thrown out.

I do remember an old Hint from Heloise which suggested using a light bulb to darn socks…

My mother has one, handed down from her grandmother. My mother and I both knit socks, but frankly with modern nylon-blend yarns, by the time even a hand-knitted sock wears out we just throw it away rather than darn it. Our knitting can easily outpace the replacement rate.

I have darning eggs my mom had and I stand ready to use them if needed, since Mom taught me how and I did darn socks as a kid. Nowadays I don’t wear socks and my father throws his out when they get worn out, so I haven’t had the opportunity.

A recent darning thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=778075&highlight=darning+mushroom

I don’t have a darning egg, but I do darn. Often my socks wear out in just the big toe but are fine everywhere else - it distresses me to chuck clothing under those circumstances. I do fine with just stretching the hole over my knuckles

Like Aspidistra I do darn but don’t use a darning egg. I improvise with a small bowl upside down or something similar. I think it’s a pity and also ecologically unsound to throw out a garment like a good pair of tights or a nice sweater when a few stitches can prolong its lifespan for several years.

I don’t darn, but I keep meaning to look up how to do it. I have a pair of really nice part wool socks in a very soft, fine yarn. Like an idiot, I tore the tag hanger off by hand, and made a a hole in them. :smack:

I’ve never darned anything and probably never will, but I treasure the two darning eggs inherited from my mother, who used to darn socks in the evening.

My grandma couldn’t afford a dedicated darning egg, so she just repurposed her Ben Wa balls.

My point was - I can buy a half dozen pairs of socks from Costco for $10. That’s less than $2 a pair. For that price, nobody fixes socks. I probably spend more per year on toothpaste than socks.

Times have changed since 1900 - I suspect in that time period, clothing was the third largest living expense after house and food. Today, any significant cost is in the label, not the clothes. (And high clothing costs are due to bulging closets) My experience in the last 20 years or more, if it’s not a seam coming apart than can be easily sewn, clothing just gets chucked. When I was growing up in the 1960’s patching clothes was on the way out but still done - remember iron-on patches?

Sure, and it’s a valid point. If I allotted my hourly pay to the time it would take me to darn a sock (especially with the learning curve involved in not having done it before), it would probably be more cost effective to buy even expensive socks when mine wear out.

But there’s an emotional and intellectual appeal for some of us in learning how to do these things. I like figuring stuff out, and I like feeling resourceful. I like not wasting things. I’m the kind of girl who cuts up Amazon boxes to make drawer dividers, when really the hour it took me to do that would probably be better spent buying a $10 drawer divider at Target. But I’m starting to notice the ridiculous amount of waste I produce, and it seems silly to throw out a nice piece of cardboard, and then go to the store to buy a slightly differently shaped piece of cardboard to shove in my drawer to keep my herbs organized. And when I’m done, I feel proud as a four year old who just figured out how to tie her shoes, an emotion that can’t be matched by a purchase.

My mom has a few darning eggs, and used to use them. Nowadays, though, it’s more effort than it’s worth to darn socks instead of just buying new ones, so even she doesn’t bother any more.

Which is not to say that she throws out old socks, either. Instead, she weaves them into rugs.