Weekending: The Rest of the Story

Happy Mend-day

I had Junah & Ginny for a large part of the day on Saturday while Ali ran some errands, but managed to get organized and accomplish a few things before & after they were here.


Though I've been wearing it with no problems, there have been two small holes in my Alabama Chanin Anna's Garden Swing Skirt almost from the moment I first pulled it on. The stitching may have been a bit tight on one of the applique pieces because the holes were on either side of just that one piece. Fixed!

An often-worn black sweater from J.Jill had some holes in seam lines, so I stitched & reinforced them. Fixed!

The lightweight brown cardigan is also from J.Jill and was my mom's. It had a tiny little hole in a really weird spot (right between the boob and armpit area -- possibly snagged on a purse strap/buckle?). It's apparently taken me almost four years to figure out how to fix it. I just stitched it up with some brown thread after determining that it's really not a highly visible area... but would be very noticeable if I did anything more than that! Fixed!

Not shown, a long wool Eileen Fisher coat that Kate snagged on super-duper clearance a few years ago. There were some holes in seams, a big hole in the butt area, and some small holes in one of the pockets... and it needed washing. Fixed!

Then it was time for The Big One. Another J.Jill sweater that I've had & worn for at least a couple of years. I put it on the other day and thought to myself that the elbows were looking a little thin and, sure enough, by noon there was a hole in one of them!

There's a great article by Bristol Ivy in the latest issue of Making, No. 5 / COLOR about a few different methods for mending knits, and a woven patch seemed the way to go for my project.


I roughly marked the area with pins, stuck a little ham in the sleeve (for contrast as much as anything else), and started weaving. First, to establish the perimeter...


Then back and forth horizontally (these are not technical terms!). I love the idea of "visible mending," so chose a yarn with a little personality -- a bit of a Madelinetosh Unicorn Tail that I dug out of the leftovers.


I wasn't far into the vertical stage of weaving when I realized that the patch was not going to be a dense fabric... the original fabric is more of a mesh, but that won't work for the patch.


So I eyeballed it and wove some more yarn in vertically, until it felt & looked right -- not quite twice as many.


Then I wove in all the ends. That's the back side, above. WEAVING!

During this process, I thought of "Ruth" a million times. I never met Ruth, but when I was little and we'd go to my Grandparents' house, we'd drive through a little town called New London and I'd always spot/look for a sign that said "REWEAVING by Ruth." It was a fascinating concept!


Though far from perfect, I am really happy with how it turned out, and I learned a lot. I'm wearing my patched sweater today (because it makes me happy... and it's chilly!), but I'll soon be patching the other elbow -- I'd like to do it before there's an actual hole -- and maybe trying another method/variation and possibly color.



That is a very cool way to fix a holey sweater! I would never have thought of it and probably wouldn't even attempt a repair. Now I'm inspired to try it! :-)



That's a great fix on your sweater - I like the contrasting yarn a lot. Great job!


All that mending and fixing.! Very nicely done on the patchwork. The contrast color really sparks it up. I remember my mother darning sock heels with the light bulb underneath for steadiness but she swore a lot doing it. I decided then not to darn any socks.
I have that new “Making No.5” too and was thinking of what needed mending - it looked so inviting. Perhaps I will go look for some nearly-worn-thru sweater elbows.


This is a fascinating concept and thanks for sharing your how-to photos! I like the sweater with the patch better than the original plain black and can see why it makes you happy. Ruth would be proud! I'm going to look for Making No. 5 and maybe a sweater or two that needs some mending.


Fabulous job!! Like others, I really like visible mending and the contrast in colors is beautiful!!


I read and studied that article in Making and know I will make use of the technique! You show me it can be done!! I love the 'visible' color you used! You certainly had a productive day for having had two little kids to chase around!

Robby H.

The artist in you always leaks out somewhere! I think the newly revised sweater is a definite winner. My dad (an artist and craftsman at heart) used to tell us you could always tell things that were "created by hand" v. "made by a machine" and the difference in verbs was important. You've illustrated that perfectly today.


Yay you for the washing and mending - and wow!!! on that woven patch! I saw Bristol's piece in Color, but I was having trouble picturing it in real life. Thank you for sharing!


I think this is brilliant! Remake, repurpose, redefine... all things necessary in a life that does not throw things away, but uses them beyond their life expectancy. Bravo!!

Robin F

I've done mending that way. Yours turned out so pretty. I've also tried knitting a patch in a funky design or yarn and then appliqued to the knitted garment. I put iron on backing for knits on the inside to hold all the loose ends of the garment from unraveling more. Hope you had fun with Jun and Gin.


That patchy visible mending technique is way cool! Love the color contrast.


Mending is so satisfying! I have a beloved cardi that needs both elbows patched, and I think my skills may finally be at the point where I can do a good job of it! Thanks for the inspiration!


I am VERY impressed with the mending job you did on that sleeve! It is not something I would try, but it looks great. My mother darned socks, but that's not something I would do either! But I would do (and have done) any of the seam mending jobs you describe, any hemming, and even the kind of mending you did on your mother's sweater. I'm not a complete slouch!


I <3 visible mending! I have several knitted and one crocheted patch on a much-loved denim shirt, and any socks that needed to be darned in the past few years have highly visible patches with highly contrasting yarn. Your patched sleeve is fabulous!

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