Knit Repair – How to Mend and Repair Your Knitwear
If you’re a knitter, chances are that you’ll have to mend your work at some point. Whether it’s a hole caused by a moth or just a stitch you forgot to slip, here are a few tips to help you mend and repair your garments.
This video will cover the most common mistakes in knitting and how to fix them.
1. Thread and Needle
There are a variety of ways to fix knitwear, but the first step is always threading a needle. Choose a needle that’s the same size or a bit larger than your yarn, and make sure the eye of the needle is clear of fibers.
The next step is choosing a replacement for the damaged yarn – it can be as close a match as possible, or a completely different color for a patchwork look. You’ll also need some sewing thread or embroidery floss of the right thickness to work with.
Always lick the end of your thread before you start knitting with it. The moisture helps the threads stick together and go easily through the eye of the needle. This will help prevent pulling out stitches and wasting time.
2. Needlepoint Yarn
We recommend that you have a few different types of needlepoint yarns in your stash, as they’re very useful for making invisible repairs. You’ll also need a darning mushroom or egg, and sewing thread in a color that matches or contrasts with your garment.
The first step to invisible repairing is examining the hole for its size and location. Then, you can loosely graft stitches together with a contrasting color sewing thread.
There are four main kinds of needlepoint threads, including tapestry wool, crewel wool, and Persian wool. Each is made from multiple strands of yarn that are woven into plies, and it may contain both cotton and silk. The type you use depends on your needs.
3. Yarn Retrieval
The nature of knitting makes it prone to damage such as snags, pulls and moth holes. This article from Louisa explains some basic techniques to repair these common problems.
While woven fabrics rip when pulled, knitted fabric merely stretches or shrinks. This means that it is often possible to retrieve yarns from a damaged piece to make the repair.
For example, if the moth holes are in the elbows of a sweater, it is usually possible to knit the new hole from the remnants of other stitches in the same area. This method is called duplicate stitch and is very quick. It can also be used to restore color motifs that have been worn away or lost in the wash. The resulting repairs are usually nearly invisible.
4. Tucking Tool
If moth holes or snags threaten your favourite knitwear, freeze it for 48 hours (as per the instructions in this article) and use natural moth repellents such as lavender and sandalwood essential oils. The protein-based fibers are also vulnerable to damage from light, air and washing, so it’s a good idea to keep your garments stored flat to prevent stretch and pilling.
Duplicate stitch is a very fast and neat repair technique that can be used to reinforce thinning areas in knitwear. As Louisa demonstrates in her videos, it’s even possible to recreate colour motifs with this method.
However, this technique should only be used as a last resort to visible repairs. A much better choice for holes is invisible repairing, like tailoring, which completely restructures the fabric and is best left to professional knitwear alterations specialists.
5. Hand Sewing
The advantage of hand sewing is that it offers the most precision. For this reason it is great for smaller projects and decorative stitches as well as repairs. It is also the only method of mending that can fully maintain stretch in knit fabric.
It takes more time to learn than machine sewing, but it is worth the investment. It will help you save money on tailor costs and it can add a touch of personality to your sweaters.
Love Cashmere can repair moth holes, snags, pulled threads, run or neck unraveling on your sweaters. We also offer a full reknitting service for wool, cashmere and other natural fiber garments. This method uses the exact yarn of your garment to reknit all damage, making a superior invisible repair.