With Leigh’s encouragement (“it’s a kind of weaving with the sock as the frame”) and inspiration from Felix’s account of Celia Pym’s mending project (plus a little e-tutoring), I managed to turn a tight-foot that was more hole than heel:

into something that is more blue than brown, but definitely worthy of putting in a shoe again:

My first darn is inside out – my previous lumpy mends pursuaded me to do my sewing from the inside, which is completely the wrong approach here because it puts the raw edges of the stocking-foot in contact with the insole of my shoe which wore them away originally. But I really like the irregular shapes of the holes with the bright teal gleaming through, and maybe Leigh’s jumper idea is headed for my sketchbook…

Pennywise, Pound Foolish, Sewing Incompetent

About two years ago, life in the Paperhouse was changed forever by the discovery of a couple of pairs of Falke Soft Merino tights on the hosiery shelf during a rummaging session in TK Maxx. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I really am pretty shallow. Suddenly, winter dressing was transformed from a misery of static-y, snaggley, chilly legs to a cocoon of cosy chic. I went back and bought every pair of the tights in my size – even some in a shade which I like to think of as “camel” but is really an unwearable sort of unfleshly tone. I liked them so much I bought a couple of pairs at full, eye-watering price, thinking that even though £40 was a lot to blow on tights, at least they’d last a long time and I could definitely darn them.

But even tights with a serious Germanic name will wear out eventually and when mine ripped along the gusset, it turned out that my mending skills were a little reluctant. First of all, I put them in the mending pile. Then they ended up in the laundry. Then I tried to wear them anyway, and that was a thigh-chafing little adventure. However, I wasn’t going to buy replacements, and I refused to go back to nylons, so something would have to be done.

I don’t know how to darn. I remember my mum’s darning mushroom, and even recall seeing the occasional sock on it, but I wasn’t interested in acquiring any textiles skills. Darn number one was a rough stab with grey cotton which – and I really do see how this could have been foreseen – ripped through the surrounding wool on first wear. So I tried again:

Whipstitching with black sock yarn made a seam with the unrefined look of something out of a Cronenberg movie but also one which is stretchy enough to hold up. So I’ve got my tights back, although the world hasn’t really gained in darning expertise. Any tips on a good source for learning to do this properly would be welcome in the comments…