Darn It! There’s a Hole in my Knitting!

A lot of pitfalls await even the savviest knitters: dropped stitches, knitting lace in black yarn, even picking the wrong yarn to begin with. But what about mistakes that aren’t self-inflicted? A snag, a sneaky moth, or just normal wear and tear can leave your favorite projects with holes. You’ve put all that time into your project—are you really going to consign it to the dustbin of history (or at least the garbage bin in your kitchen) over a stupid hole? Not if Jennifer Raymond can help it.

Stockinette before and after a repair. Yes, you can.

Stockinette before and after a repair. Yes, you can.

A knitter, crocheter, and spinner, Jennifer also has a business repairing other people’s heirloom knits. Her brand-new workshop Darn It! How to Repair Your Knitting is the distillation of years of experience fixing all kinds of holes, rips, and what-the-hell-just-happened chaos. With a soothing voice and gentle manner, Jennifer calmly demonstrates how to repair cables, Fair Isle, and even *gasp* lace. Below are a few pointers.

Darning (left) vs reweaving (right). Wonky patch vs wonderful perfection.

Darning (left) vs. reweaving (right). Wonky patch vs. wonderful perfection.

1. What’s in a name?

We often use the word “darn” when referring to any sort of knitting repair. Not so fast, Jennifer says. “Darning” actually means weaving yarn back and forth over a hole, patching it with a fiber grid. It’s a fix, but often a short-term one, because weaving over a hole in your knitting creates all kinds of weird stress points on your fabric. “Reweaving,” in contrast, is a set of techniques that includes duplicate stitch, Kitchener stitch, and other grafting methods that recreate the original fabric instead of just patching it. If you are still confused, that’s okay. Just watch, and all will become clear.

Avoid holes before they happen. Duplicate stitch reinforces a weak spot.

2. A stitch in time

The easiest way to fix a hole is by preventing it in the first place. If you find a weak or frayed spot on the heel of your favorite knitted socks, use duplicate stitch to reinforce it. Tracing over stitches that already exist is a lot easier than creating new ones out of thin air.

Sometimes you need to make a hole bigger before you can fix it.

Sometimes you need to make a hole bigger before you can fix it.

3. Don’t go off the grid

A hole in Fair Isle can be wholly terrifying with all those yarn ends snaking everywhere. Just remember that Fair Isle is essentially stockinette, and take a calming breath. If you create a “grid” of plain stockinette over your hole, then duplicate stitch the colorwork, you’ve found an elegant solution to a gnarly problem.

Want to learn more? Check out Darn It! How to Repair Your Knitting. In addition to making repairs, Jennifer offers tips on how to source and match yarn for older projects. Get charts for sample swatches so you can practice before embarking on your own repairs. Because let’s face it: despite our best intentions, knit happens.

Darn It! How to Repair Your Knitting is available as a streaming workshop you can watch anywhere, anytime. Want a deal? Subscribe to Interweave’s online workshops and tackle new techniques without leaving the house. For $9.99 a month, you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Knit, crochet, spin, weave . . . hone a craft, or learn a new one. Watch videos from great instructors and access and download plenty of supporting material like charts, diagrams, and patterns. Interact with other students via our chat boards, and post your finished assignments to a shared gallery so others can see your work.

Never stop learning,

P.S. For more helpful tips, don’t miss A Knitter’s Guide to Darning and Repairing Cables.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources: