Tuesday Tip – How to Fix a Hole In Your Knitting
I love mistakes. I love fixing mistakes. In Knitting ER I go over all the fundamentals. But sometimes there are things that go beyond the standard (that’s where Advanced Knitting Fixes comes in).
I’ve written in past Tuesday Tips about Swiss Darning for a repair, and duplicate stitch for reinforcement.
Today I turn my attention to a larger repair, a multi row repair, in other words . . .
How to Fix a HOLE in Your Knitting
Recently I was on a text thread with three friends. We were chatting when all of a sudden this text came through:
- No, no, no
That was followed by some other more colorful language, and an explanation that when she was cutting a box open (that contained a sweater), she made a cut in the sweater.
I pulled out a swatch, made a cut and started to take photos so I could send her some “how to” photos, but my pal had a better idea. She would ship it to me to fix.
So . . . as long as I was fixing the hole, I took a few photos for all of you. Since I had also taken some close ups of my swatch, I’m adding those too. I first saw this technique done with a crochet hook in Rena Crockett’s Flawless Knit Repair. If it’s a small hole like this, I like to do it with a tapestry needle.
Since duplicate stitch is easier from the stockinette side, I turned the piece around to work from the wrong side
Notice that you will have one more loop on the bottom of the hole then the top. I have a three stitch by three row hole. I have 3 full loops on the bottom, 2 loops with 1/2 loop on either side of the two.
Here’s a shot of the swatch that shows a nice clean hole ready to repair. I’ve pinned the cut yarn out of the way so I’m ready to build my ladder.
Now a bit of thin crochet cotton to the rescue. Since you can’t duplicate stitch over air, you can build a ladder to climb. Weave the crochet cotton horizontally to lock it in, and then create 3 row “stitches”. Start by making the duplicate stitch ladder a few stitches before the hole, when you get to the hole:
- Insert the crochet cotton back to front through the bottom loop
- Insert it UP through the first whole stitch on the right side of the bottom, DOWN through the 1/2 stitch on top, UP through the next stitch on the upper level. Make sure that you don’t pull the thread too tight. Use a ruler to check the space.
- Continue to create duplicate stitch ladders through the hole and into the next few real stitches on the left side of the hole.
Here are a few more shots from my teaching swatch.
Okay, back to the real sweater . . . thread your real yarn on a tapestry needle and start creating duplicate stitch a few stitches before the hole. Once you get the hole, you will be able to enter back to front through bottom loop, then loop around ladder and the back where you came from on the bottom loop and into the next stitch
After you create row #1 of stitches, adjust the tension before making your anchor duplicate sittches in the fabric to the left of the hole. Repeat for each row.
When you get to the final row, you will now be entering the stitches above the hole.
Once you’ve finished the fabric, you can carefully pick out the crochet cotton.
Finally, it’s time to weave in the ends of your cut yarn as well as new yarn you added. In order to avoid a lump, you can weave in the ends on a diagonal in all different directions. Skim the ends right through the stitches by splitting the plys.
Turn around to see the lovely result . . .
For more information on basic fixing mistakes (like laddering up a dropped stitch) check out my Annie’s class “Knitting ER: How to Fix Your Mistakes”
Click here for DVD or digital download
There are oh so many fixes that can be made to your knitting.
To watch a myriad of other more advanced fixes (duplicate stitch fixes, fixes in fabric tears, fixes in cables, lace, color work, circular knitting, shaping and more – both on and off the needles!), check out my Interweave DVD, Advanced Knitting Fixes.
Click here for DVD or digital download
Thank you, Patty! I just had a similar problem. As I was binding off a shawl, I vaguely remember noticing a hole in the fabric–maybe I got snip-happy with scissors? I was so dismayed, I put the shawl away for a month or more, so I could deal with it later. Having forgotten about the hole, I just pulled the shawl out today and pinned it for blocking, rediscovered the hole and was dismayed all over again. I will follow your instructions and I hope I can fix the damage in an inconspicuous way.
My garment with the hole is in garter stitch. 🙁 Is this protocol applicable?
Yes, but you’ll have to ladder the stitches up for garter stitch. If you have my “Knitting ER” DVD I cover fixing garter in that class: https://pattylyons.com/classes/online-classes-2/
Thank you so much for this tutorial. Thanks to it I was able to fix a huge hole in an old family sweater. Yayy!
I’m so glad!!
I knitted an afghan for my granddaughter for her birthday in December. Just before Christmas she showed me where one of their dogs took a bite out of it, on the border. I watched your video on repairing holes but how do you repair a garter stitched border?
It’s the same technique, but when you do the duplicate stitch (review that on Advanced Knitting Fixes)one row is knit, then the next row is purl.
I started knitting an unfinished sweater that I started 2 years ago and just noticed a hole in the body of it. It looks like the yarn at 2 rows were broken, possibly eaten by a moth. Its a top down seamless tunic sweater and the hole It’s pretty high up at arm hole level such that I don’t want to unravel all my knitting to the hole if I don’t have to. I have 2 questions:
1. How do I secure those super short broken ends of the yarn?
2. Is it better to just unravel my sweater back to the hole and reknit everything rather than try to fix the hole since it’s unfinished anyways?
Take a look the the photos in the tutorial. It shows that you have to make the hole a bit bigger first so you have enough yarn ends to secure with pins (like in the photos.)
Oh wow. This is exactly what I needed! I knit (and enjoy your column on MDK) but I’m also writing my dissertation about textile work in 19th century novels, and Charlotte Bronte describes a method of darning that HAS to be this. So happy that I found this! Thanks for the pictures, I think I’m going to take some scissors to a swatch and try it myself. It’s from Shirley, C. Bronte. She says “It was another of Caroline’s troubles to be condemned to learn this foreign style of darning, which was done stitch by stitch, so as exactly to imitate the fabric of the stocking itself– a wearifu’ process, but considered by Hortense Gerard, and by her ancestresses before her for long generations back, as one of the first “duties of a woman.” (Hortense is from Belgium & I found pics of a darning sampler from the Fries Museum, in the Netherlands, that also illustrates this.) Thanks! 🙂
Following this tutorial, I was able to complete my first ever repair. One row, three stitches. Thanks!
Any chance I could become your new “best friend”, and you could fix some moth holes for me..I would absolutely pay you of course. TY
Stay safe and healthy
PS I have been trying since Christmas..
I’m not an experienced knitter!
I made a huge hole in a cardigan I just finished. I have been trying to repair using the loose yarn (Is that the warp or the weft?). In any event, it has been a nightmare. The stitches are uneven and there is just too much yarn to handle. I keep losing where I am in the garment. I am going to make a nice clean hole and use this technique. Thank you so much for this! I will report back. (I would rather send the sweater to you, but I gather you don’t do repairs, lol.).
I searched through many other posts to find the best way to repair moth holes – yours takes the cake! Thanks so much for teaching me how to build a ladder first!
So glad it helped!
Love your information but I really need help. I know a little about knitting and crochet BUT not a lot. Have two sweaters that have small holes. I live in a small town and haven’t been able to find someone to help me with repair work. Do you take in work??
I’m so sorry, I don’t. I would advise you googling for the nearest yarn store and see if you can ship it to them for a repair.
I have a little hole in a 1×1 ribbed sweater. I’ve only seen repairs for stockinette, will your technique work for my ribbed sweater?
Yes, as long as you know how to do a duplicate stitch for a knit and a purl.