Tag Archives: mending

Mending

I feel like I’ve been on a streak lately, where everything I pull out of storage is full of holes.  I found two sweaters, a tea cozy and a hat that needed repair, and I just tried on my most favorite pair of socks, and my toe went right through the tip.

Fair warning:  The following are photos of an *ahem* well-loved sock.  Not exactly the pretty things you might be looking for in a knitting blog.  You have been warned.

Anyway, the toe:

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You can see that these socks have already received some TLC- I patched up a big bare spot on the ball of the foot last winter.  Now the toe’s busted through and the heel is about to go.  Some might give up on so worn-out a pair of socks, but not me!  I worked dang hard on these bad boys, and I want to wear them!

It’s time for my favorite knitting mending technique- the duplicate stitch. (This tutorial is more about using the duplicate stitch for decorative use, but it’s the same idea if you want to use it for repair.)

Whenever I want to darn a piece of worn-out knitting (usually socks), I use duplicate stitch, carefully going over the worn-out spot (plus a little extra all the way around).  It’s a way to reinforce worn stitches with a new layer of wool.  I carefully trace the knit stitches with the new yarn, following the path of the last few fibers of the old yarn.

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And when there’s a real, honest-to-goodness hole, where the yarn has fully broken and there’s nothing left to “trace”, I use a knitting needle to hold my stitches until I can hook them up to the other side of the hole, building new “knitted” fabric to cover the space.

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Until, the hole is covered and the sock is good as new.  Well, you know what I mean.

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Now I just have to repeat with all the other sad socks in my drawer.

Do you ever mend your knitting?

Moths, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Actually Fix My Husband’s Stocking

Buckle in, everyone.  It’s going to be a long one.  A tale of mystery! Suspense! Moths!

Several years ago, I knit up two lovely stockings for myself and my husband.  They were fabulous, squishy, Cascade 220 in carefully-selected  shades of evergreen, holly berry and cream.  Perfect Christmas colors.  The stockings were covered in Fair Isle color work from the cuff to the toe, and I even charted out and knit our names into the tops.  They were lovely and festive.

They looked like this (although it looks like they need to be re-blocked):

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Last year, we were decorating the house, and I pulled out the stockings.  And horror of horrors– a silver-dollar-sized hole right in the top of my husband’s stocking.

I freaked out!  My heart pounded, and I felt sick to my stomach.  How could this happen? What was I supposed to do?  I had worked so hard on those stockings!  Now some bug had come along and ripped a gigantic hole right in the middle of his name!

I’ll admit- what happened next was not one of my smartest moments.  But I panicked.

And cut the whole top off the stocking.

Just pulled out my big ol’ shears and cut off all the disgusting bug-residue, and threw it away.  For a few minutes, I felt better- the offending area was now gone and it couldn’t infect the rest of the stocking (because in my mind, that’s how moths worked.  Like I said, not my smartest moment).

But my good mood was short lived.  Because the moment I threw away the top of the stocking, I looked at what I had left.  It was not good.

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Hoo boy.

I took a few calming breaths and realized that whatever I needed to do next, I had to get more yarn- after all, I had cut off a good 4 inches, and needed to get that knitting back, one way or another.   I hopped in the car and drove to my favorite yarn shop with the sad, half-dead stocking and picked out the appropriate colors (and thank god they hadn’t been discontinued!).  This was literally a year ago.   (OK- a year and two days.)

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Yarn in hand, half-dead stocking in my knitting bag, did I run home to pick up my needles and go to work?

No.  I panicked some more and hid the project away in my knitting room.

And then forgot about it.

All year.

Whoops.

I pulled out the Christmas stuff this year, and when I saw my lone intact stocking in the box of decorations, it all came flooding back to me- the hole, the scissors, the bad decisions.

But, it’s still early(ish) in December, and I’ve mostly finished my Christmas knitting, so I sat down, determined to finally fix the stocking.

First, I considered picking up stitches from the cut-off edge, and knitting up.  But, on second thought, I realized that knitting from the other direction would throw off the Fair Isle pattern I had worked on so carefully.  I had to knit from the top down, like before, then graft the new cuff to the old stocking.

Using the intact stocking as a template, and re-charting the name panel, I worked up the cuff in an afternoon.  It looked good.  It looked like it was going to work.  I just had to figure out how to attach it.

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I examined the remains of the original stocking carefully.  I didn’t want to have to graft the top into a row of color work (I am insane, but not that insane).  Luckily, there was a solid row of green right before the snowflake panel, so that was where I decided to make my move.

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I carefully lined up the top with the rest of the stocking, and started grafting the live stitches onto the old stocking.

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It went slowly, but soon enough i had made it all the way around the cuff!  I did a little happy dance and let out a sigh of relief.

But that relief was short-lived, because now there was a weird giant crease all the way around the cuff where I had just finished grafting.

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That picture looks like I’ve just folded the knitting for dramatic effect, but I swear that was how it was laying.

Upon further inspection I realized that since I had grafted a few rows down from where I had cut the stocking in that fit of insect-inspired rage, there was now a big ridge of unwanted knitting inside my stocking.

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There was only one thing to do.  Unravel it.  (And cross my fingers that I hadn’t made a mistake in my grafting.)

I picked and pulled and before long, the ridge was gone.

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I wove in the remaining ends, and held my breath as I turned the stocking inside-out.

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And it was good as new!  A Christmas Miracle!

The stockings are now hung by the chimney with care, and I will be sure to store them in a moth-proof container this year.

Have you ever had to do major reconstructive surgery on a knit item?  How did it go?