Sidebar

We interrupt your regularly scheduled elbow patches to talk about the slits on the side of the sweater.

I love sweaters with side slits (what can I say, I have a big ass, side slits make for extra ass room).  But I find they tend to get messed up over time).  But…but…this is fixable!

The best way I’ve found to fix it is by blanket stitching around the perimeter of the slit.  Now, if you were a cool kid, you’d do this before it got worn out.  But if you were me, you’d intend to do it before it got worn out but somehow never quite manage it and call it good if it happened at all. Which is the approach I took here.

If you’ve got a sweater that could use this treatment, google ‘blanket stitch’ and you’ll find all sorts of lovely nice people who will tell you exactly how it’s done.  This is totally a thing you can do.  Promise.  And you’ll get to feel all smug and clever once you do!

Elbows to follow shortly, because they’re all done and I want to show them off!

 

There is actually some knitting involved in this

So these are the patches. Nothing fancy, just more or less oval shaped, and a good bit bigger than the worn area on the sweater.⁠

I’m knitting the patches in Ontheround’s Everyday DK in Silver Lining Tweed. That’s actually the exact same yarn I used for the original patch (this is more leftovers from the same skein I used before). ⁠

You can see that the original patch faded a good bit since I put it on. This is totally MY fault, NOT the yarn’s fault. I have done things to this yarn that no yarn should have to endure. I’ve washed it in hot water with piles of other clothes at least once a week since last April. I’ve washed it with oxyclean (you should never do that to wool, it’s very bad for it, but I know I’ve forgotten and done it a few times, I think that’s what lifted the color). I’ve thrown it in the dryer every time I’ve washed it. And while it did fade, it didn’t felt, and it didn’t shrink, which is really rather amazing.⁠

If I were suggesting a yarn for a mend like this (where you’re going to wash it frequently and not gently), I’d probably steer you towards something superwash, with nylon, that can handle being knit fairly tightly…in other words, sock yarn. But since I know this works like a dream and I have it handy, I’m just using the same stuff again.⁠

But just to be safe, I am going to throw the finished patches in the washer and dryer once or twice before I put them on the sweater. I’ve knit them a tiny bit looser this time than on the last patch, and loose fabric has more room to shrink than tight fabric, so just to be super safe I want to give them a chance to shrink up before I put them on the sweater. ⁠

But don’t worry, there’s something else to fix while those are in the wash.  We’ll do that next time.

The middle is messy

Like with a lot of projects, the middle of this is going to look a bit messy.  I’m pretty sure if I were doing this right I’d only show you the shiny finished product.  But I always find it refreshing to see that someone else has messy bits in the middle, so I’m leaving them in.

The first step was ripping off the old patch.  I’d put it on there rather firmly, and it has been through the wash dozens of times since I put it on, so this part was actually kind of a pain.  But I wanted to take it off because I was worried the elbow would feel thick and bulky if I didn’t.  So I got my seam ripper and put in the time and it eventually came off.

Next I took out the stitching I’d used to stabilize the hole last time.  I wanted to see the whole thing, with all of the earlier repair work removed.

Once that was done, I took some sock yarn (superwash, with nylon, nice sturdy stuff I trust to go in the wash over and over again) and stabilized the old hole, the new hole I made with the seam ripper slipped while I was removing the patch and the thin spots that had developed since the last time I fixed this.

I didn’t worry about making it pretty, since it’s going to be under the patch.  This is just to make sure the holes don’t get any bigger and make sure I have fabric to work with when I put the patch on.  Don’t worry, it will start to get cuter next time.

 

Ongoing

This mending thing is an ongoing process.  If you were here last spring, you may remember I saved the elbow on an old cotton sweater I wear as pajamas.  Well that kept the sweater happily in the rotation for another nine months.

But now, the elbow on the other side is starting to get thin.  It doesn’t quite have an actual hole yet, but if I don’t do something soon, it will.

So I’ve decided to just go all out and fix this up properly.  I’m going to take off the old patch and make a big patch for each elbow.  Think full on tweed jacket style, no apologies about it, embrace your inner weirdo.

Now yes, this is probably a ridiculous amount of time and effort to put into a seven year old sweater.  But I rather like mending things, and I absolutely loathe shopping.  So if this gets me another year or two of wear out something I clearly enjoy enough to wear an awful lot, well then it seems like a good use of my time.

You’ll be seeing more of this over the rest of the week!