Mending Holes in Knitted Garments

How to Fix a Hole in Knit

You made a mistake while knitting and now you have a hole in your sweater. You can either rip out your work or fix the hole using a technique knitters call darning.

This type of mending is tricky because you are sewing through stitches that risk unravelling. It’s important to catch as many stitches as possible, and you may want to choose a yarn that matches your project or contrasts with it.

Duplicate Stitch

Frequently, a hole appears where you’ve accidentally thrown the yarn over in a row or round. This error is relatively benign if it isn’t very close to either edge of the fabric, as it will not create a vertical buttonhole that you would need to seam at some point.

Another common way a hole develops is when you knit into an inadvertent YO incorrectly (M1, backwards loop, e-loop, twisted YO or yanked increase). In this case, the YO will remain in place as you work further into the piece and will eventually enlarge due to fabric stretching and wear.

To fix this type of error, work duplicate stitch over the region a few stitches above and below where the YO is, as well as over the YO itself. Work from right to left if you’re a right-handed knitter and left to right if you’re a left-handed knitter. Anchor your duplicate stitches by loosely grafting the new stitches to their real counterparts using contrasting sewing thread.


If you’ve made a hole and don’t have yarn in the right color, it may be possible to use crochet to knit around the edge of the fabric. For this method, it’s important to use a thread that is very similar in size to your knitting yarn (and even better, the same color) so it will blend in more easily.

Crochet can also be used to force a dropped stitch back up into the fabric (also known as darning). This is done by making a ladder of chain stitches on the wrong side of the fabric, and then hooking the yarn in the ladder with your crochet needle.

This method will work best if you’ve only dropped a single stitch, and it’s still on the right side of the fabric. Otherwise, you might need to graft it to the correct side, which can make it more noticeable. Be sure to anchor the open stitches with sewing thread so they don’t unravel in the meantime.

Sew a Patch

When a hole develops in thick woven fabric like cotton twill or denim, stitches alone won’t help it. That’s a job for a patch.

One option is to sew a patch of the same material over the area, as British professional textile repairer Molly Martin did on this cheerful vest. The patch will not only hide the hole but also reinforce the area around it.

To do so, you’ll need a piece of fabric that is slightly larger than the hole on all sides. You’ll also need a length of mending yarn or matching thread for tracing. Sew the patch to the sweater in a frame of stitching, working in and out of the mending thread or knitting thread as you go. When you finish, you’ll have a woven patch that will be as durable as the rest of your sweater. You can even add a bit of embellishment, such as a blanket stitch around the edge of the patch, for a more finished look.

Weave a Patch

Using the same process as duplicate stitch (the technique for fixing holes in knit) you can use a darning mushroom and yarn that closely matches the color of your sweater to create a woven patch. To do this, first work your mending yarn through the stitches that have formed a “frame” around the hole.

Then, start a few stitches down from the hole and weave your mending thread in and out of the strands that cross it, creating new fabric. Repeat this pattern until you have a nice, neat woven patch of new material over the hole.

Both of these techniques are easy to do and they will help you become more adept at reading your knitting and preventing unintended holes. However, if you do end up with a hole in your knitted garment, it’s important to know how to fix it so that you don’t ruin the whole piece. There are many different ways to do this, and each one will look a little different depending on where the hole is located and the type of sweater that you are working on.

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