Tag Archives: mending

Speeeeeedweve

You guys, I’ve got a new tool, and I love it!

It’s a Speedweve-style darning loom, and it’s just the coolest. I’ll be honest, I found out about this from an ad on Instagram, so you know, not the most high-brow place to learn about new tools. But, regardless of where I found it, I’m excited to have it, use it, and tell you about it!

First off, here’s the little loom. It fits really nicely in my hand, and has two parts. A lovely, smooth wooden disk that goes inside the sock (or whatever garment you’re darning), and a hefty metal piece that goes on the outside. They’re held together with rubber bands.

My favorite part is flipping the little hooks back and forth. It’s just so satisfying! In fact, it’s so satisfying, I taught myself how to make an animation, so you can experience it yourself:

Lucky for me, I’ve got about a million socks on the verge of falling apart, so I’ve got lots of darning ahead of me. This is one of my less-embarrassing socks:

So, I slip the wooden disk into the sock, and arrange it under the bare patch, hook up the metal part of the loom and lock it in place with rubber bands.

Then I get a nice long piece of sock yarn and start warping the loom. You make tiny stitches at the bottom of the area to be patched, and loop the thread around the loops.

Then it’s just a matter of weaving through the warps. Flipping the hooks back and forth lets you lift/lower the threads of the warp, which makes for faster weaving. And, at the end of each row, you make a tiny stitch into the sock, fastening the patch in place as you weave it.

After that, I take off the loom, sew the top warp loops in place with the whip stitch, and I’m on my way. I ended up making four different patches to cover all the thin spots on this sock- truly living my Oliver Twist Fantasy. (And like I said, these are some of my least disreputable… I really have to start up sock knitting again.)

Do you darn your socks? Do you have any fun new tools?

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?