Recently a friend asked if I could fix a hole in a fine gauge sweater she had purchased on-line. I have mended many items and was up for the challenge. I felt a post would be helpful, as many small holes in your projects are certainly fixable with good results.
Steps to Fixing a Small Hole :
- Analyze the hole characteristics – This is a fine gauge sweater with a small hole in the body. It is easier to make a mended hole almost invisible when it is near a seam, as it can be worked into the seam. You can see the exposed stitches in the image. This is the easiest type of repair, simply a matter of picking up all the loops and closing the hole with a threaded needle. Larger holes require darning, a weaving technique, or using either duplicate stitch or kitchener stitch. Darning creates a visible patch on the right side and depending on location of the hole, the patch can be a design feature. Darning uses a darning egg or anything round, plus a threaded darning needle. Duplicate stitch is a type of embroidery on knit fabrics. Kitchener stitch is a grafting technique.
- Choosing yarn or thread – Good quality purchased sweaters often come with a sample of yarn used to make it. If you have knit the item, you will more than likely have leftover yarn. When I give hand knit projects as gifts, I include a sample of yarn along with the care instructions. In choosing yarn for a repair like mine, it needs to be of similar color and weight, and strong. Strength is important because you don’t want the yarn to break through the continued friction of pulling the yarn. A single, low twist unplied yarn would not be a good choice; it would break. Because the sweater is a fine gauge knit, I’m using sturdy embroidery floss, a 6-ply yarn. I cut a short length, and pulled out 2 strands for sewing. The length is important too, no more than 18 inches.
- Mending – Turn the sweater inside out. For this fine gauge knit, I will use a sewing needle and 2 strands of floss. For larger holes, darning, kitchener stitch, or duplicate stitch use a blunt tip needle, the same as you use for sewing hand knits. Anchor yarn with back stitches near the hole. Begin by picking up any dropped stitches or loops as you move around the hole. When you think you have caught all the loops, pull on the sewing yarn to close the hole, but not too tight. You’re trying to maintain the gauge as much as possible. Sometimes you may want to use a few stitches to anchor any loose loops on the right side, alleviating any bumps. When finished pull the needle to the wrong side, anchor the yarn by weaving through the loops on the wrong side or use a few back stitches, and snip the yarn. Depending on the size of the hole in the body of a project, it probably won’t be invisible, but it will certainly look better and make the project useable.
As you can see, the final result is not perfect, but the sweater is wearable. Depending on the size of the hole and its location, a simple repair will allow you to enjoy your favorite sweater longer than expected.