The Venerable Tweed

My father has a sweater.  Well no, he has lots of sweaters.  But our tale here concerns one sweater in particular.  It is a rather well aged sweater.  As far as we can tell, it’s a few years older than me (and I am shockingly old, it surprises me more or less every time I think of it).  This sweater has fared amazingly well.  Alas, this winter, it seems to have finally started to show a bit of wear around the edges (I know the feeling).

A few stitches at the collar wore right away.   Once those stitches blew, the remaining stitches unraveled a bit.  It’s knitting, it does that.  The corollary is it’s knitting, you can fix it.  The first step, find some yarn.

A bit of stash plundering revealed three choices.  The one on the right is probably the closest color, but it’s 50% bamboo and a bit too thick for the job.  The one in the middle is close, but super scratchy and a bit too rustic.  I also wasn’t sure I had enough to do all the necessary repairs.  The ribs beside the unraveled one were about to go too, so I needed to do a fairly big patch.  It takes more yarn than you’d think.  So the one of the left was the winner, even though the color isn’t quite spot on.  (I did broach the idea of using something like neon orange and doing the whole collar, but this was quashed…I still think it would be cool).  Now it was time to stabilize the damage and start repairing it.

First, I ran a tiny bit of scrap yarn through each of the loose stitches.  Then I freed each stitch in turn and used a (tiny) crochet hook to run that stitch up as high as I could.  There came a point where I couldn’t run them up any higher because the fabric had just worn away.  When I hit that point, I put the scrap yarn back in to hold the stitches in place while I worked.  That’s the yarn sticking up and running off the top of the picture above.  Finally, I threaded a very long piece of yarn onto a very blunt needle and started duplicate stitching.  Yes, you can duplicate stitch purl stitches, it’s not quite as intuitive as on knit stitches, but it can be done.  I started about three rows before the missing fabric to be sure I had a solid base.  I duplicate stitched as much as I could.  When I got to the part where there was no fabric to follow, I just knitted entirely new fabric on the smallest needles I had.

It’s not quite perfect, but it’s pretty close, and it should be good for a few more decades of wear.  It was also the perfect project for a snuffly day where anything requiring much in the way of brain power was out of the question.