And done!

I’m calling this little patch of stitching done!

That’s the one I just did now, and just for reminders, here are the ones I did back in November.

That’s the one on the cuff.

And that’s the one on the front near the pocket.

And here’s the one on the back up by the shoulder.

And here’s where I’m super mean and say no, I can’t really take a picture that shows them to you all at once (several people asked last time).  That’s because they’re all over the place on the sweater, and you can’t actually see them all at once.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it that they’re festive!

And as for how to do it?  I can’t really tell you because I was just making it up (and I highly recommend that approach…you’re not going to hurt anything by experimenting).  But if you want some hand holding, this book is good (think stitch dictionary, but for embroidery rather than knitting).  And if you want some ideas for what to stitch, there are some adorable things in this one.  But really, you can probably just wing it!

One more round

Remember back in November when I had some holes in an old sweater? And I hated the idea of shopping so much that I decided to embroider over the things instead of buying a new sweater (you can follow along on the whole adventure over here if you’re so inclined, scroll down…).

Yeah, well the sweater got another hole (kittens…blame kittens).  But once you’re that invested in fixing something, you’re not going to let it go for one more little hole.  You’re going to grab the same batch of threads you used last time and stitch on it some more.

And that’s just what I did.  That’s what it looked like after round one.

And here’s round two.

I think there will be a round three as well.

The original bits of stitching have held up well over the last few months, so I don’t feel like it’s wasted time.  I am, however, running low on these colors and may grab an extra skein of them so that when the next hole inevitably appears, I’m ready to fix it too.

Officially now decorations, not holes!

So let’s see where we ended up.  First the sleeve.

DSC_2832 copy

Then the shoulder.

DSC_2837 copy

Then the front.

DSC_2852 copyI love it.  Totally couldn’t be happier.  I’m actually considering doing this in a few other spots on the sweater where there are no holes just for the fun of it because I don’t want to be done yet.

And for folks asking or wondering, no it’s really not hard.  You can find embroidery floss at most any craft store.  The only other things you need are a needle (I like the blunt ones, but some people like pointy ones…experiment and see what you like) and maybe an embroidery hoop (I like the plastic ones better than the wooden ones because they’re less likely to snag your fabric).  If you want some hand holding, this book is good (think stitch dictionary, but for embroidery rather than knitting).  And if you want some ideas for what to stitch, there are some adorable things in this one.  But really, you can probably just wing it.

Now what do you think…would you do this (or a version of it…there are more subtle versions!) to a sweater that had a hole?  Or is it a bit too odd to see the light of day?

I’m starting to like the holes in my sweater

So I took a break from the hole on the front of the sweater and moved onto the one on the cuff of the sleeve.  The first round of stitching looked something like this.

DSC_2822 copyThen I spent some time on the one on the back of the shoulder (right where the front, back, and sleeve all come together).  It’s working out something like this.

DSC_2824 copyIn both cases I’ve gone with stabilizing (or really even emphasizing) the hole rather than trying to hide it.  And both spots will be getting Lots More Stitches before this is over.  But I’m having so much fun I wanted to show off some process shots as we go.

There’s still a hole in my sweater

It’s true…the hole (or rather holes) are  still there.  But I find I don’t mind them so much now!

DSC_2785 copyFull disclaimer, I know next to nothing about embroidery.  Which should be fairly obvious to anyone who does know something about it.  So apologies if you’re cringing over there.

DSC_2788 copyMy approach really is more or less keep doodling until it starts to look interesting.  I think it’s a viable technique, all things considered.

DSC_2803 copyI mean really, if you hate it, you can pick it back out.  And I sort of don’t hate it.  I might actually rather like it!

So what do you think?  Is that one done, or should I do a few more?  I’m considering moving onto the other holes and coming back to this one once they’re done (just so I don’t lose all enthusiasm and let it sit half mended in the closet for 3 months).  But there’s a part of me that wants to keep going until that’s 6 inches across!

There’s a hole in my sweater

So I have a small assemblage of house sweaters.  What can I say.  The house is old and drafty, and I work from home.  Warmth often wins out over fashion.

One of my very favorite house sweaters (a gray cashmere cardigan with pockets) seems to have sprung a leak.  Let me be more specific.  It’s sprung several leaks.  It’s got a good sized hole on the back of the shoulder (snagged on a dead tree while climbing on rocks), two little holes on the front near the bottom (embers from a camp fire if the char marks are any indicator), and a spot or two on the wrist (kittens are the likely culprits here).

But cashmere.  And pockets.  And gray.  And oh so cozy.  You can’t possibly expect me to just throw it away.  That would be no fun at all.  But by the same token, the holes are numerous enough (and the yarn fine enough) that trying to mend them invisibly would be frustrating at best (doable, but frustrating).  So instead?

DSC_2776 copyWe’ll take another route entirely!

Amoeba? Or Egg?

I am a firm believer in both sweaters and pajamas.  And sometimes, when a sweater has put in lots of hard service as a piece of ‘go out in the world’ clothing, it gets to retire and be relabeled as pajamas.  Such was the case for this snuggly, purple zip up sweater with a handy kangaroo pocket on the front.  It is too tatty to wear out in public (I do have some standards), but it works perfectly well as something to sleep in (ah my life is so glamorous).

Or at least it did, until today, when I noticed it had a big hole on the pocket.  This wasn’t one of those one popped stitch deals you can just catch with a bit of thread and stop in its tracks.  No, this was a stick your hole thumb through sort of deal.  I have no idea how it happened, but I suspect kittens.  I decided I’d see if I could mend it.  Worst case, I waste a few minutes and throw it away.  Best case, I get to keep my sweater a bit longer.

Now with a hole this size, and a sweater this color, I wasn’t going to be able to get an invisible mend.  So I decided I’d go with blatantly obvious instead.

_DSC9052I started by running a strand of thread up and down adjacent columns of knitting.  When I got to the missing bits, I just kept the fabric flat and let the thread to along on its own.

_DSC9060Then I turned and did the same thing going the other direction (going over and under my first set of strands), again being careful to keep the fabric flat when I went over the hole.

_DSC9062I suppose I could have stopped there.  That would have kept the hole from growing.  But it looks awful and I would have caught it with my thumb every time I put my hand in my pocket.  That won’t do.

So next I grabbed a scrap of gray wool felt and cut out a wobbly random shape.  I stitched it on over the missing bit with some yellow thread as a sort of patch.

_DSC9068This would have been perfectly functional, but I didn’t yet find it quite amusing enough.  Since subtle was clearly not what I was going for, I did a second, smaller patch out yellow wool felt and stitched it on with a bit of grey thread.

_DSC9072bI’m unreasonably amused.  Now, no, it is absolutely not a pretty/proper/fancy/sophisticated patch.  But this is an ancient sweater that is now used only as pajamas.  My goals were a) don’t have to throw the sweater away b) use whatever was on hand c) embrace the ahem…casual…nature of the project d) be amused.  Judging by those criteria, it’s a rousing success.


Remember the other week when the sock and The Boy and I all trooped off to the railroad bridge?  The unfortunate incident?  The dreadful dark, sticky goo all over the sole of my pale, delicate sock?

Yes, yes it was rather traumatic.  The good news is that, with a bit of careful work, things are somewhat salvaged.  Here’s where we stand now.

The transition was made with the help of several thorough soakings in goo gone, an awful lot of blotting with paper towels, and some judicious scraping with fingernails.  It’s certainly not perfect, but it is a whole lot better.  The remaining spots are just spots, not sticky.  The socks are completely wearable and will be making their way into the rotation as soon as the weather cools off.

Oh, and if any of you ever need to do this, I found that drenching the stain in goo gone and letting it sit for an hour, then blotting with paper towels was the way to go.  The tar came off on the paper towels.  Repeat until it’s gone or until it’s not coming up on the towel anymore.  I soaked, waited, and blotted three times.  Then you need to wash the sock.  The goo gone is super greasy, and you’ll need a lot more soap (and possibly even a stronger soap) than you normally use.  I ended up using shampoo because my usual wool wash wasn’t taking the greasy feeling out.  The last step will likely be to wash the residue out of your sink (or wherever you were working).  It sort of gets everywhere, and you don’t want to leave it where pets can get to it.


We have two chairs in the family room.  They are the tv and knitting chairs.  Apparently, we’ve not been feeding them appropriately.  Last night, one of them decided to eat the blanket.  I don’t know if this is because he was hungry or as some sort of act of protest.  We’ll be addressing the issue in therapy later.  But first, the blanket needed some first aid.

See that?  Hole.  Big gnarly hole with several broken strands of yarn.  It would totally have run if left unattended.  (Note, these are not hand knitted blankets, there would have been much more swearing if they had been).  The hole could not be allowed to stand.  Yarn to the rescue!

The scrap yarn bucket was fetched and lo, right there on the top, leftovers from one of the socks in Silk Road Socks.  I knew there was a reason I’m a yarn pack rat.  I’d never have guessed this is what I’d need it for, but apparently I knew it might come in handy.  Not a bad color match at all!

I didn’t really try and match the stitch pattern, I just duplicate stitched a little patch three stitches wide on the front and again on the back.

It’s not a perfect match, but it doesn’t stand out too much, and it should keep the hole from growing.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, the chair and I have an appointment with a counselor to address some of his anger issues.


I’m undertaking a bit of sock surgery.  The feet on one of the socks for Book The Third are a bit too long for the person who is going to model them.  So I’ve picked out the end, ripped back the toe and an inch or so of the foot, and now I’m going to reknit the toe.  But before I do that, I’ve got to address one small issue.  See this?

See how the yarn is all curly and springy and kinked up into little nests?  Yeah.  That’s what happens when you unravel knitting that’s been set for a while (especially if it’s gotten wet after it was knit).  Do yourself a favor.  Don’t ever knit with yarn like that.  Ever.  Your tension will be all off and you knitting will never look smooth.

Instead, skein it up (I wrapped mine around a dvd case), tie it off in several points, soak it for an hour or two, and let it hang dry.  You can do all this while it’s still attached to the knitting, no need to break the yarn.  Once it’s dry you can knit with it (I’ll likely wind these up into little balls first just so they’re easier to work with).  I do sort of love how the little nests look though.  I’m half tempted to find something to do with yarn in that state.