On the mend

6

It has been really cold in Toronto. So cold, that on Monday I’m going to buy a parka (I’m not going sooner because it’s two weeks before Christmas and I cannot handle shopping in the weekend throng.) The upside to this cold is that both L and I are wrapping ourselves up in handknit warmth.

Thank goodness this wool is so sticky.

Thank goodness this wool is so sticky. L hadn’t even noticed the hole, so who knows how long it was like this.

Last weekend, after getting home from taking his sister to brunch, I noticed a hole in one of his moose gloves. When I looked more closely, I realized it wasn’t a hole exactly, it was more of a run – I used Harrisville Designs Shetland for these, which doesn’t have the high twist of a sock yarn, but is more rustic and warm. It’s a trade off. Anyway, I wanted to deal with the hole/run before it got any worse, so despite the terrible light I got down to work and thought I’d explain the process.

repair3

To start with, you’ll need a few things in addition to the object being repaired. I knit these using 3.25mm needles, but for repair purposes, I pulled out my 2.25mm dpns (these ones are Signatures and I love them). I also grabbed a darning needle (I like the ones with angled tips, but any will do), a leftover skein of the same red yarn I used, my darning egg (which I didn’t end up using), a locking stitch marker (not pictured, but used to secure the last stitch until I was ready to pick it up), and the other glove, to use as a reference point.

Click to embiggen. On the left is the hole before building the "rungs"; on the right is after.

Click to embiggen. On the left is the hole before building the “rungs”; on the right is after.

After assessing the situation, I decided that straight-up darning* wasn’t really the best option. What I’m guessing happened here is that one of the red stitches snapped (confirmed by an inspection on the wrong-side) and slowly the line of red stitched pulled themselves out. Nothing at all happened to the stitches to either side (which makes Harrisville my top choice for anything needing a steek!) so I wasn’t too worried about the hole getting wider so much as taller.

On the inside, I found the two ends of the broken yarn and tied them (yes, knots, I know) to grey floats to keep them from moving around. Then, using a decent length of new red yarn (maybe 8 inches, leaving a tail of 3 inches) I stitched back and forth across the gap, from bottom to top, using the grey purl-bumps to anchor the yarn on either side. You know how when you drop a stitch you can ladder it back up using the horizontal bars left in its wake? Well, what I wanted to do was recreate those horizontal bars. (Don’t cut the yarn when you’re done.)

You can just see the ned red rungs through the gap. On the needle, the bottom stitch is the one that was left at the the bottom of the gap, and the top stitch is a new rung picked up through the gap. From here to the top, it's just like laddering up a dropped stitch.

You can just see the ned red rungs through the gap. On the needle, the bottom stitch is the one that was left at the the bottom of the gap, and the top stitch is a new rung picked up through the gap. From here to the top, it’s just like laddering up a dropped stitch.

That way, when I flipped the mitten back to the right side, using that last little stitch, I could ladder the stitches right back up, using the fresh and well-secured “rung” I’d built on the inside. (This is where the other mitten came in handy – I needed to know how many stitches were missing so I added the right number). Once I got to the top, I pulled the top tail of new yarn through to the right side and then through the top stitch. To seal it, I used that tail to duplicate stitch to next couple of stitches in the row before pushing the tail back through the wrong side to weave it in.

A little wobbly, but not too bad.

A little wobbly, but not too bad.

At the bottom, I used the tail to duplicate stitch from a couple of stitches before the new ones through the first couple of new ones (five stitches) and then wove in the ends on the wrong side.

Duplicate stitch looks a little clumsy initially, but L has been wearing these all week and now you can't even tell.

Duplicate stitch looks a little clumsy initially, but L has been wearing these all week and now you can’t even tell.

The whole process took about a half hour, which gave me time to duplicate-stitch a couple of other spots that were looking a bit thin. It’s not totally perfect, but I doubt many people would be able to tell repairs were done (from the right side, anyway).

Ta-da!

Ta-da! (Also, I just noticed that grey stitch in the border. Sigh. I’ll have to go back and duplicate stitch that.)

What do you think? Have you had to make similar repairs before?

*There is a great tutorial in the latest Twist Collective about straight-up darning, covering four methods, with photos. If you have socks or other sweater elbows or other garments in need of darning, head over there.

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6 thoughts on “On the mend

  1. Audry

    I have a hard time wanting to darn. I like my knits to looks a fresh as possible, so I’ve fixed things by doing a duplicate stitch/ grafting kind of thing. The next time I have to fix something, I’ll be sure to post it.

    I love seeing how you fix up your knits. It looks like it had never had a hole.

  2. Pingback: Make, do, mend | Pans & Needles

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