Tag Archives: frugality


My wool socks
My wool socks


Use it up … Wear it out
Make do … Do without

We grew up with that Yankee frugality.

So this morning when I grabbed a favorite pair of grey wool socks, neatly rolled and folded in the way we pair socks, I was chagrined to discover the holes.

The first sock was fine. But as I pulled on the second one, I saw the small hole at the big toe – and then the huge one at the heel. When and how the heck did that happen?

I loved these socks. They were just the right weight, not too heavy, but wool, so they were really warm. A soft charcoal grey with muted but elegant ribbing, they went with everything.

And now one of them was so ruined that I couldn’t even wear it with clogs or boots.

I was tempted to blame moths, given the wool and the suddenness … but then in truth I reckon these holes were coming on for a while and the last round in the laundry did them in.

Problem now was what to do with them. I know, I know. THROW THEM OUT.

But that’s the problem with material things. They take on a life of their own. They have a personality and a place in your life. You know what I mean: It’s why we like some socks and gloves and jeans and coats better than others. They have their place in the natural order. And these were just impeccable.

I struggled. In another time – a time when I actually HAD time, maybe before the Internet or something – I might have darned them. The picture’s proof that this still wouldn’t be impossible. That’s my grandmother’s darning egg, one of two that came down to my mother, who actually taught us to darn.

So there’s no reason, if I had the time and the inclination, that I couldn’t make this sock almost as good as new. Almost. Truth is, I HAVE darned socks – maybe forty years ago – or more – and they are never quite the same again, no matter what thread or yarn you use. And eventually they come apart again.

Still … back in the day, I darned them with pride. Pride in actually knowing how. Pride of craftsmanship and of beating the house – winning against the odds, salvaging the unsalvageable.

Later, I might have made them into sock puppets. All it takes is a little felt for mouth and ears and buttons for the eyes. Back then I still embroidered, beading little chamois pouches, with blanket stitch around the holes where the drawstring went through. Back then I patched the elbows of sweaters too.

Who knows where the time goes, as Sandy Denny famously remarked? Back then, hours expanded mysteriously into days, and it all got done.

I still have a basket of lone socks I’d imagined might become sock puppets. Before I move again, I guess I’d better throw them out. Or maybe they could be used to polish silver? HA.

Make do … Do without