You may have noticed I have three different kinds of darning 'fabric stretchers’ in my shop. They’re all made by a man called John. He’s based in North Wales and uses FSC certified sustainable woods, which to me, is ideal.
“But Meg, I get they’re sustainable, but what’s the difference? Why three?” I hear you ask.
Well, I’m going to explain why you need three different pieces of darning equipment. First, lets have a look at your mending pile, what do you have most of?
This piece of egg-shaped beech wood is the best all rounder. It has a flatter and longer middle, a more domed bottom and more pointy top. This effectively gives you three different surfaces to darn on. Darning is less stretchy than knitting, so it’s very important you stretch the fabric before darning the hole.
The flatter middle is absolutely ideal for darning over armpits or small moth holes in the middle of your knitwear. The slightly more domed bottom is superb for elbows or small holes in the heel of socks, it mimics the shape of the part of the body the knitwear stretches to. The pointy tip is great for sock toes or smaller baby booties.
The downsides of an egg? You have to move your work frequently as it doesn’t provide much surface area to darn on. You also aren’t able to darn really tiny things like the fingers of gloves or dolly clothes because you have to accommodate the egg inside the knitting before pulling tight.
No Frills Darning Half
The No Frills Darning Half is a smooth, half-spherical block of birch wood. It’s got a much bigger darnable surface area than the darning egg. You can darn much larger areas without having to move your knitting so much. This is ideal for armpits or large holes in elbows. It has a flat bottom, which makes it easier to slot into slimmer items, and rests more easily on top of your hand when you gather the fabric underneath it. This behaves much more like the traditional darning mushroom, but without the stem, which often gets bulky once you have a lot of fabric around it.
The downsides to the Darning Half? It’s too big to go inside anything smaller than a sock heel, and even then, it’s a push. You don’t want to stretch the hole before you have the darning aid in place to save running stitches or fragile knitting getting worse. The edge of the flat bottom can also catch on very delicate pieces of knitwear.
The sock darning egg is a half-egg shaped aid. It’s domed on the top, flat on the back, a bit like the Darning Half. These have some of the properties of both the darning egg, such as the flatter middle, dome and point, but they also have the flatter back. The smallness of the sock darning egg makes it ideal for darning ideal for heels, toes and mittens. It’s only one half of an egg, so the space that’s created by missing the other half makes it plenty easier to get right to the end of a toe.
Downsides? It’s a bit annoying for a larger hole, it’ll tend to slip through larger holes with the pointy end first.
Any more questions about the darning range? Do let me know!