Sometimes it’s more appropriate to darn than to stitch or sew…
What’s the difference between darning and sewing? As near as I can tell, darning is more like weaving and sewing is, um, sewing. I’ve spent most of my life stitching tears and sewing patches over holes, and was only vaguely aware of ‘darning.’
But one day my Mom darned one of my socks, and it was immediately apparent that this technique is far more appropriate for holes caused by wear. Darning, in this context, is a superior technology.
And so when I wore a whole in one of the only two pairs of socks I’m travelling with, I decided to learn how to darn. Using a grapefruit for a darning mushroom, I ended up with a thread that seemed to be too rough, stiff, and thick. The result was perhaps ugly, and the work’s ugliness caused me to wonder if I had made my sock worse. But just like most of the things I do – it wasn’t pretty, but it worked. The darned sock lacks any anomalous tactile sensation, and the darning process does not seem to have further compromised the material (as a stitch or sewn patch might have).
Not surprisingly, once I saw that it was functional, it seemed a lot less ugly. It was the kind of ugly that has character — which isn’t really ugly at all, but rugged and charming. It’s a mature sock with a handsome darn (the other socks will be impressed).
I imagine a carpenter might not really know what kind of wood is right for a given job until he’s already used the wrong kind of wood. And so it is with darning socks. I’ve been in Mexico for over 3 months, now, and still have the same 2 pairs of socks. No further darning has yet been required, but since I have no intention of buying any socks on this trip, it is likely that there will be more darning, and I have high hopes for this fancy new thread I have waiting in reserve.