Saving a Favorite Handknit Sweater. Can I fix it? Mistakes Were Made...
I have a cherished hand-knit sweater that has seen better days, just like many of us. In the video, and blogpost I want to share my experience in repairing it. I will take you through the process of what worked and what didn't, so that you too can save your favorite sweater and make it wearable again.
Fixing the worn elbows with duplicate stitch
I started with the worn-out elbows, which are a common problem for sweaters. Repairing them takes time, but it's relatively easy when the stitches are still in tact.
I was lucky enough to have the original yarn for my sweater, as I knit it myself. If you don't have the original yarn, you can use something of the same weight. Alternatively, you can use a slightly thinner yarn, which may be easier to work with. If your yarn is too thin, you can double it up. Also, consider using darning wool with nylon in it, as it will protect your sweater better in areas prone to wear.
To repair the elbows, I used the duplicate stitch technique. All you have to do is follow the original stitches. It's easier to demonstrate than explain, but it's not too difficult. Don't worry about making it perfect, as perfection is not necessary the network of stitches will be so much stronger that a missed stitch won't cause much problems.
It helps to keep the knit tensioned over something like a darning mushroom, darning egg, or even a small bowl or light bulb. This way, you can open up the knit fabric, combined with daylight or a bright light to make life easier.
I found the duplicate stitch to work great for the elbows, as it creates a tight fabric that's essential for areas subjected to a lot of wear.
Mistake no. 1
My first mistake was starting in the middle of the worn area. It would have been easier to mark the area I wanted to repair with contrasting yarn first. However, even though I learned from my mistake and marked a the area for the second elbow. I ran into some difficulties with the waste yarn constantly getting in the way, and I even ended up sewing through it. So next time I'll mark a larger area.
To finish the yarn tails, I wove the yarn through a few stitches in the back, plucked them apart, and cut off the excess after wearing or washing the sweater.
Fixing a dropped stitch
The armpit is another area that sees a lot of wear. In my case, I think the white yarn was a bit too tight, causing it to wear out faster. There were actually two stitches there, and I treated them as one since it was probably a decrease. While I was at it, I also repaired the other armpit, as I could see it was starting to wear out too. To secure the ends, I wove the yarn tail around the white yarn still in place, and since it was Icelandic wool, it's so sticky that it will felt together with wear, ensuring it stays in place.
The cuff was a bit more challenging, but I am happy with the end result. I picked up the stitches at the bottom of the sleeve and re-knit the cuff, sort of matching to the original 1x1 rib of the cuff. I experimented by picking up both stitches at the edge of the patch and at random intervals in the row.
Mistake no. 2
Of course I didn't think to mark the area I wanted to knit so I ended up missing a few stitches ate the edge of the cuff. I decided to pick up a few extra stitches and create a cast of along the edge off the cuff. But at the end I decided to simply wrap the yarn around the edge for a few centimeter... in hindsight I think it will wear out faster than the cast of edge and I should've continued to using the bind off.
Mistake no. 3
I was lazy and didn't take the time to grab the proper needles, instead I went for my Chiagoo mini's. Resulting in me struggling to knit and having sore hands afterwards... don't be like me and grab the right tools for the job ;)
Despite the mistakes I made I had fun experimenting and the end result is a lopapeysa that is ready to be worn and loved once again with a little more character to boot! :D
In conclusion, mending a favorite sweater is a worthwhile task. Whether you're fixing worn-out elbows, armpits, or cuffs, it's a great way to bring life back to a cherished item and make it wearable once again. So grab your yarn and needle, and let's start mending!