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knovice
06-02-2008, 10:25 PM
Experienced sock knitters, please weigh in -- what's your opinion on using reinforcing thread on the heels and toes of socks? Does it make them stronger, or put more wear on the main yarn sooner?

knitlover
06-03-2008, 12:54 AM
I always use reinforcement when I am knitting socks - in both the heels and the toes, as a matter of fact. And, sadly, the reason I always do this is that I have worn holes in my beautifully - and expensively - hand-knit socks! That is not a fun thing to have happen, believe me! My mother probably would know how to "darn" socks (which means repair the holes), but I don't - and besides it's not something I really care to do! The best approach, probably, is to buy yarn which already has reinforcement threads built into it. For example, I am currently knitting a very beautiful pair of socks - for my son's girlfriend, by the way - which is merino and silk! Absolutely beautiful and warm yarn - but quite soft. So it also contains some kind of polyester fibre. For that reason, of course, it would NOT be a yarn that could be felted, so you have to knit it to the right size. So, my answer is, yes, indeed, always reinforce natural fibre sock yarn or you will end up with holes in your socks!

KNITLOVER

Rorshach
06-03-2008, 01:24 AM
I generally don't use reinforcement thread. as when I get to the heels, unless the pattern says otherwise, I'll usually make the heel denser than the rest of the sock by doing a s1, K1 on the public side and s1 then purl back on the private side.

Doodknitwit
06-03-2008, 02:04 AM
I had not before my DH wore a hole in a heel or two.. :wall: :hair:
what is the best thread fiber to use? I tried quilting thread...too soon to know if thta works... Ideas??

boo1
06-03-2008, 06:15 AM
I generally don't use reinforcement thread. as when I get to the heels, unless the pattern says otherwise, I'll usually make the heel denser than the rest of the sock by doing a s1, K1 on the public side and s1 then purl back on the private side.

I do the same heel.

Mirl56
06-03-2008, 06:26 AM
I've only reinforced once, when using Jowel yarn that comes with reinforcing thread. I did both toes and heels.

I'd have to say for me it is more likely the heel turn/bottom of the foot and the ball of my foot more likely to wear on socks.

I've read you need to be careful what you use to reinforce - some fibers will put more wear and actually tear/cut thru the sock yarn then help strengthen/reinforce it.

Jan in CA
06-03-2008, 06:27 AM
I haven't tried it yet, but I read that one should use wooly nylon.

http://www.joanns.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat2859&PRODID=prd60390

mathwizard
06-03-2008, 08:22 AM
I want to thank knovice and all the members who replied! I am about to start making a pair of socks for my son, Alex. He wears holes through the heels all the time. I want these socks to last for him and not be gone before winter.

DorothyDot
06-03-2008, 09:16 AM
I agree with Boo and the rest - I've been making socks for over 40 years, and have never used a reinforcing thread. Never had one of the heels wear through. Have had several pairs where the toe has developed a hole, though. [note to hubby: Cut Toenails!!!!] :inlove:

But by all means, do your own thing. Try this for yourself - especially since your son develops holey heels. Make a pair with the reinforcing thread... and another pair without.

Hey, once you start knitting socks, you just can't do it once - right?

Dot

Cirrus
06-03-2008, 05:51 PM
I've never used it, but I wanted to try so I ordered some from Schoolhouse Press. I like the look of the Joanns wooly nylon better, but too late now.

Plantgoddess+
06-03-2008, 06:28 PM
I used nylon harness thread to reinforce the heels in the socks I knit for my husband many years ago. He still wore holes in the socks, but it made it easier to darn the socks and we still have one pair left that are wearable. Eventually from so many washings and him sweating in his work boots the socks started to felt and got too tight for him to wear.
I no longer reinforce heels, but then I am knitting for myself and am not that hard on my socks.

knitlover
06-03-2008, 09:08 PM
As I said previously, I always use reinforcement of some kind when knitting socks - particularly in the heel and toe area. Another person on the board mentioned using the reinforced stitch - which is fine as far as it goes! Unfortunately, when dealing with soft yarns, that may not be nearly far enough. So, I feel that always reinforcing heels and toes with a nylon or other strong thread is the best approach - and, of course, best of all is using a yarn which already has that reinforcement built in. Once those socks are knitted, trust me, it's too late! How do you feel about darning!?

knitlover
06-03-2008, 09:16 PM
Many high quality yarns intended for sock knitting these days are manufactured with reinforcement threads built into them. They will, of course, be somewhat more expensive that yarns which don't have that. Usually it's a polyester fibre or some version of nylon - and it isn't usually a very high percentage of the fibre of the yarn. But it is enough to give at least some hope of warding off the dreaded holes in heels and toes. Plus, of course, if you have that kind of yarn you avoid the issue of having to carry an extra thread while you are knitting in those areas of socks. I might add that I've never had a problem with the extra thread being carried causing extra wear and tear on the finished socks.

The thread recommended for its strength can be found sold separately on cards in your local yarn shop. Just ask and I'm sure they will be able to find it for you. I, personally, would always do this because I really don't like having a pair of socks ruined by having them develop holes. For the extra little bit of effort involved, it seems to me that taking this precaution is well worth it. But, of course, that's strictly my opinion and I would always defer to the opinions of others whose experience may be different than my own.

losnana
06-04-2008, 06:36 AM
I'd have to say for me it is more likely the heel turn/bottom of the foot and the ball of my foot more likely to wear on socks.

I've read you need to be careful what you use to reinforce - some fibers will put more wear and actually tear/cut thru the sock yarn then help strengthen/reinforce it.
This is where mine wear out too: the balls of the feet and bottom of the heels. I haven't been able to figure out how to reinforce these areas other than using reinforcement thread or reinforced yarn. Since I prefer worsted weight socks, most is not reinforced.
I will say that it is not quite as much of a problem since I now force myself to wear slippers with my socks, rather than running around the huse in my sock feet. I rarely wear them with regular shoes.

feministmama
06-04-2008, 11:41 AM
How do you darn socks? :??

Mirl56
06-04-2008, 11:52 AM
just go to www.google.com and type in 'how to darn a sock' - you will get quite a few sties to look at.

Plantgoddess+
06-04-2008, 10:00 PM
What I did would be more like weaving. You insert the yarn on one side of the hole and run it back and forth across the hole. Then go 90 degrees and weave the yarn in and out of the horizontal strands you put in. That's where the reinforcing thread helps as it helps space and support the strands or darning yarn. I used a light bulb as a darning egg to hold the shape of the heel so the yarn strands wouldn't be drawn too tight and shrink or wrinkle the heel.