We all have stockings to darn each week as they come from the laundry. Do you mend the small holes at once, or let them grow larger ?

It is always a saving of time and energy to take care of the small holes; small ones grow to be larger ones if one is not careful. It pays to mend at once. We will learn how to mend stockings.

Stocking darning differs from darning the straight or the square tear, because, as a rule, there is a hole in the stocking. The stocking material is worn away, and it is necessary to replace it with a small piece of weaving over and under of warp and filling. A patch or extra piece of material might be placed under the hole, but that would be uncomfortable; so a woven piece is put in. The stocking is made of knitted material called stockinet, not of woven cloth. How do they differ? Can you think of other articles of clothing made of knitted material?

Yes, mittens, sweaters, caps, underwear. Have you ever seen a knitting machine? Here is a picture (Fig. 99) of one showing how the stocking is knitted in the factory to-day on the knitting machines. In weaving there are two threads. What are they? In knitting there is only one thread ; just like grandmother's knitting of the stocking round and round as the tiny loops are formed. Have you ever torn your stocking in a loop and had it run right down the whole leg of the stocking? Barbara Oakes had this experience. That shows how the tiny loops are made. If one catches the loop, the raveling is prevented.

Fig. 99.   The knitting machine. Caps, stockings, and underwear are made on similar machines.

Courtesy of H. Brinton Co.

Fig. 99. - The knitting machine. Caps, stockings, and underwear are made on similar machines.

This is how we shall darn our stockings. Use single or double darning thread, according to the fineness of the stocking, and a darning needle. Can you thread the big eye by doubling the end of the thread ?

Begin on the wrong side without a knot, about 1/4 of an inch to the right of the hole. The stitches are the same fine running as for other darning, and the rows made close together. Look at the picture (Fig. 100). The darn is about diamond shape when finished. Why? This prevents the strain from coming on any one row of loops. A tiny loop is left at each row in turning, as stockinet is a stretchy material. This darning should run the same way as the loops, up and down the material. Care must be taken at the hole. If possible, pass the needle through the loop at the edge of the hole and extend the thread across the hole to the loop opposite, and continue with the darning stitch. When the warp is all in, there will be rows of threads close together extending across the hole. In fine darning or when one is darning sweaters or gloves, all the loops at the edge of the hole should be carefully caught. For everyday stocking darning, one does not have time to stop for every loop at the edge of the hole. As we said above, the hole is to be filled in with a piece of woven material which we are making. The warp (Fig. 100 A) has all been put in ; then we must go over part of the darn and fill in the cross threads, which are woven over and under the warp threads which have been put in at the hole. The running stitch is used. The sketch (Fig. 100 B) shows the portion of the darn to be covered with the running stitches, and just where the weaving is to be done. You will notice that the first row of crosswise running stitches is placed a little below the hole, and the last row extends a little above. Why? At the hole one must go over and under the warp, alternately, as one does in weaving. This is all done with one thread which is carried in fine running stitches to the hole, then passes over and under the warp threads, and continues with running stitches at the other side of darn; turns with a tiny loop, continues with running, and again passes over and under the warp alternately. This is continued until the darn is completed.

Fig. 100.   A, the wrong side of the stocking darn putting in the first set of threads; B, weaving in the second thread.

Fig. 100. - A, the wrong side of the stocking darn putting in the first set of threads; B, weaving in the second thread.

Sometimes there are tiny rips in the seams of stockings. They can be overhanded carefully on the wrong side, taking up only the very edges of the seam so as not to make a ridge. If the long ladders which sometimes come in stockings are not too wide, they can be over-handed together on the wrong side; or, if one has time, they can be darned as a hole. As a rule this is a waste of time. A worn place near a hole should be included in a darn, or where several small holes are close together, darn in one large darn.

What kind of stockings do you buy? Marjorie's Cousin Ann says it does not pay her to buy very cheap stockings, at 15 cents a pair, or very thin ones either. She has discovered that if she pays 25 cents a pair or . a dollar for three pairs of a good make, and cares for them, watching when the tiny holes appear, that she can make six pairs last a whole year. Ann says that the girls who buy the very thin transparent stockings are buying stockings all the time; and then, too, they are often ridiculed by others. One is not well dressed when one is conspicuous and when one's clothing is noticed and criticized in such a way. Next lesson you may bring a stocking which has been darned at home. Credit will be given for this. Do you think you can darn one all alone? It is not difficult if one follows carefully the description above. You may also bring a linen towel or napkin or tablecloth which has a hole. We shall learn how to patch the holes. The Pleasant Valley pupils had a darning contest. Mrs. Allen was invited to be the judge. Who do you suppose made the best-looking stocking darn? Mollie Stark won.

Exercises And Problems

I. Darn one of father's socks or baby sister's stocking or any other you can at home. Surprise mother by showing her how well you can darn, after your school practice.