Knit Repair – How to Repair Knitwear
Knitwear can be prone to snags, pulls and holes. The good news is that it’s easy to repair.
This article will cover a few quick fixes for common knitting mistakes like yarn overs and twisted stitches. I’ll also show you a technique for repairing a hole using darning.
Darning is a simple way to patch or close a hole. It can be done with yarn that closely matches the fabric of your sweater or blanket and is nearly undetectable.
1. Repairing a Snag
Snags can be a huge irritation, especially when they occur in hand knits. If you’ve ever caught a loose thread on your sweater or ripped it accidentally, don’t panic. With the right technique, you can fix your snag in no time and get back to knitting.
Start by turning your sweater inside out. Push a blunt needle, like a crochet hook or a paper clip, through from the front of your sweater to the back, at the location of the snag. Be careful not to pull any strands other than the snag’s.
Once you’re on the other side, tug and work with the snag to secure it. This will not only make it look better, but also prevent the snag from pulling more threads out. If your knit fabric can tolerate it, gently steam the snag to further strengthen and repair it. This is an easy fix that works on both hand knits and commercial knits alike!
2. Repairing a Pull
Nothing is more frustrating than having your handknit sweater snag on something and pull a strand of yarn out of place. Luckily this is an easy fix with just a hair grip or bobby pin.
Tug gently at the fabric from both directions to see if you can locate the pulled thread. If you can, tuck it back under the other strands of the stitch to bury it.
Using the same color of darning yarn as the original stitch will make it blend in and be less noticeable. If you do not have the same yarn, check the local craft store to find a close match.
Alternatively, you can use a mushroom darner to repair this type of damage. This tool is similar to a darning needle, but it has a mushroom-shaped tip to help hide the stitches. It is best used for repairs to seams and other areas that do not need a very large patch.
3. Repairing a Hole
Errant yarn overs and other mistakes can create holes in a handknitted sweater. These can be fixed by reknitting the garment. This is done by taking yarn that matches the color and texture of the original knit to reknit the area. It takes a lot of skill to produce quality results but can be very effective. Many companies specialize in reknitting woven wool garments and can make holes literally disappear.
You can also try to reknit a hole yourself using the same technique used for repairing moth holes, snags and pulls. It is called duplicate stitch and is probably the cleanest and most invisible method of mending knitting. You should anchor the stitches in the region surrounding the hole by sewing them with contrasting thread before starting. It is best to do this on a piece of fabric that has been stitched with mattress stitch, but it can be used for any knit. It is not recommended for cables, however.
4. Covering a Stain
A stain in your favorite knit can be a bit of a disaster, but it doesn’t have to be. Embroidery and sew-on patches are great options for covering up an ugly spot on your sweater, socks or even your tablecloth.
If you have a hole caused by regular wear, consider sewing a patch of matching fabric over it, as Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald demonstrates. She advises using a thread that matches the thickness of your fabric (though you can double it up for extra durability). For example, you might use wool on a cashmere sweater, or use cotton on a silk blouse.
Make sure you have a variety of needles in your tool kit, as well as some spare buttons. Keep in mind that you can also stitch over a buttonhole to hide it. This technique, called pattern darning, works especially well for moth holes in cashmere or other delicate fabric. The resulting stitches look more intentional than a mere patch, and you can choose to match or purposely contrast.