How to Repair a Knit Hole
There are many ways to repair a hole in your knitted garment. Some are more obvious than others, depending on the size and location of the hole.
Fortunately, there are techniques that allow you to mend a hole without unravelling the entire sweater. Here are a few of them: 1. Darning.
1. Duplicate Stitches
If you spot the hole quickly enough it is possible to knit a small patch of new yarn onto the existing fabric and then stitch it in place with sewing thread. This is not ideal, as the new stitches won’t be anchored into the old fabric and they are likely to fall off again.
A better option is to work in duplicate stitch, which will blend in with the existing fabric. This is a form of embroidery that gets its name because it exactly follows–duplicates–the path of the underlying knitting.
For this method, you will need a piece of yarn that matches the color of the existing fabric and sewing thread or embroidery floss. Work this piece of yarn into the surrounding stitches around the hole, taking care not to twist or knot the thread. Now, slip the stitch that you want to repair from the right side of your work to the left. Using the tip of your needle, go through both arms of the stitch to anchor it in place.
2. Duplicate Stitches Across
To keep the mending stitches from being too bulky or catching on to other stitch edges, work the duplicate stitches as if you are tracing the knit pattern. Right handed people will find it easiest to do this from right to left.
Take a straight stitch going into the single layer of yarn and out again under one row of knitting closer to the hole. Then pass the needle over the next row of knitting and pull it taut but not too tight.
Continue creating vertical rows of stitches like this all the way around the hole, anchoring them into the surrounding sweater stitches. You can use yarn or embroidery thread, but something thicker than sewing thread will give you a more robust woven patch of stitches. Remember to leave a tail of mending thread when you start and end each row. You will bury these tails when you finish the patch. This will prevent the tails from pulling out later on.
3. Duplicate Stitches Over
If your hole is less than a few rows deep, you may not need to do much besides a little patchwork. Just loosely graft the stitches with a contrasting color sewing thread. You’ll have some extra ends to bury, but it should look pretty invisible!
If you have a bigger hole, you’ll want to duplicate stitch generously over the thinned fabric. Start by threading your needle through the space at the bottom of the “v” stitch you want to stitch over. Then, insert your needle under both legs of the stitch above it.
Repeat this step for each stitch above it, alternating under and over each one, to create a line of stitching at about a forty-five degree angle to your row of knit stitches. Be sure to gently snug each duplicate stitch so that it covers the underlying yarn without putting any pressure on the fabric or pulling out too tightly. This will help reduce peep-through and keep the stitches from collapsing.
4. Duplicate Stitches Around
If you catch a hole quickly, it’s easy to repair by simply stitching around the area. This can be a bit messy though, especially if the fabric is stretched out or pulled. Tug gently at the stitches to check that they are even.
To start, take a stitch in the fabric that is nearest to the hole. Then, on the opposite side of your work, take a stitch to the left of this stitch and then stitch under it. Repeat this process until you cover the entire area that has been damaged.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to sew the yarn in place. You can use a yarn that’s a perfect match or you can go for a more patchwork style with contrasting colors. Just make sure that you anchor the mending thread so it doesn’t pull and cause your knit to unravel again! You can also block the pieces before and after this to help ensure tidy stitches.