Next to handmade socks, we love Smartwool most. Their socks fit great and feel great, and most of them are pretty long-wearing. Some of the styles are more of a thin dress sock than a cushioned practical sock, and I’ve discovered that these dress socks can wear thin. It’s not a hole, not the kind of thing that you could fix by darning. So instead of throwing them away, I decided to do a needle-felted patch. It was so easy. Much faster than photographing and writing up this quick how-to. 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need to fix a thin spot in a wool sock:

  • A needle felting needle
  • A very small amount of wool (crimpy soft wool works best. You can buy bits especially for needlefelting or just use something from your spinning stash).
  • A foam block at least 1.5″ thick and narrow enough to fit in your sock.

Turn the sock inside out and slide the foam inside. Stretch the sock a little so you can see the thin patch well.

Before Repair

Lay a thin layer of wool across the spot you want to fix. (Remove any vegetable matter from the wool so it doesn’t poke your feet).

Apply the Wool

Use the felting needle to attach the wool to the sock. Stab it a lot. You want that patch to stay put.

Needle felt the wool into place

Turn the sock right side out. You’re done! See the wooley bits poking through? Don’t worry about them. They’ll flatten and help felt the patch into the sock as you walk on it. Washing the sock should get the patch to felt into place even more. I tried this sock on, and I couldn’t even feel the patch. A successful repair!

Finished sock

If you try this technique, I’d love to hear what you think. It might work on small holes as well, or in combination with darning.

Repairing a Sock with Needlefelting (A Tutorial)
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21 thoughts on “Repairing a Sock with Needlefelting (A Tutorial)

  • January 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I plan to try this-great idea and thanks for sharing. I will try it on a hole, so we shall see. I have a patch for it and a darning egg, but this is worth a shot. I need some foam. I have the Clover felting brush thing.

  • January 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Deneen. I have the clover brush thing too, but it was too big. I took a
    small block of foam and cut it in half. Also–I have the clover punch needle
    thing with five needles, but for this, I only used one needle, since it was
    easier to work on a small scale that way. Let me know how your hole turns
    out! I think it might help to create a “warp” of wool thread across the hole
    first to give the felt something to grab onto.

  • January 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    If I’d only known this was possible, I would have saved all my worn out Smartwools for you to fix last month! You are clever for sure.

  • January 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the great idea! You should submit this to Kristin Roach for possible inclusion in her forthcoming book–I think it’s called Creative Mending. Here is the link to the info–she just needs pictures and some info from you at this point and the deadline is Wednesday, January 26th: http://www.craftleftovers.com/blog/archives/6296

  • January 25, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Thanks Caitlin–I had thought about submitting it, but wasn’t sure if she’d
    want an idea that had already been published.

  • February 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I will Amy. I just received some single needles and am awaiting the foam and will let you know. I’ll have to dig through my stash to see what my finest wool is, probably fingering weight to try to create the “warp”-I love this idea and again, thanks, brilliant!

  • October 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Great idea.  I just tried it on a very expensive pair of hiking socks and it worked like a charm.  I was dreading the darning chore because on a thin spot that is not yet a hole I can always feel the patch.  Love it

  • October 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Awesome, Kristin! I need to do some more of my own socks. Lately I’ve been lazily living with holes!

  • March 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I have not done felting before but I do have wool roving that I use to cushion my toes. Would I want to use the regular roving or the “superwash”?  I’m afraid the regular wool roving will shrink/felt into a smaller mat once I wash them?

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

    YOU ARE A GENIUS! I needed to shout that. Smartwools are also my favorite and they are so costly, but what can you do? I’m pretty good at needle felting and this never occurred to me. I’m also thinking using a very thin knit wool and sandwiching with the wool roving for durability…

  • January 31, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for the shout out! Yes, you might be able to use a bit of fabric for durability–then it becomes a bit like a patch. What about silk? Mohair–they both provide strength, and mohair is very feltable.

  • July 25, 2014 at 3:40 am

    It works a treat…..I have done this many times,after needle felting I then soap area as if I was wet felting…I am sure I have a few more years left in my woollen socks.

  • November 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I love this wonderful way to save my good wool socks! I do have a question. What kind of foam block works best? I opted for tightly packed foam, but I think maybe to coarser variety might work better. The foam I am using falls apart as I work the project and I end up picking out the little bits of foam that are “felted” into my sock. Wrapping the foam in heavy duty packing tape helps, but maybe another kind of foam would work better.

  • November 29, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    A thick sponge–like a car-washing sponge–works really well.

  • November 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Thank you! Boy had I gone the wrong direction. I worked, but it was loud and messy.

  • April 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I woke up with a dream this AM and looked at my favorite alpaca socks and said “Darn it!” and thought of Nuno felting for repairs…… Thank you for the tutorial to reinforce great minds think alike !!!! Have you thought of a fine silk base , placed on the bias?
    PEACE, CARO____.

  • June 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Oooh–that’s a great idea–did you try it?

  • December 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Smart wools , my favorite. My daughter and I have matching multicolored sW sox, both have developed small holes. I am going to try this on my pair first. I have felting tools, do you think a piece of sponge would work inside the sock? Darning seemed bulking. Thank you, love this. Claire

  • December 7, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Let me know how it works out!

  • December 7, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    A piece of sponge works great inside–but you will need to put another piece underneath between the sock and your work surface. Have fun!

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