March 8, 2010

Reweaving A Sweater : A Lost Art

This week I am doing some alterations and repair work for friends and family.  The usual - hems, zippers, patches, etc.  But one unique project is the reweaving of a worn spot on a friends sweater.  When you have a favorite sweater, it's hard to throw it out, but can't be worn if the elbow is bare.   What to do?  You find someone who has the skills to re-weave your sweater.  Hopefully you have a friend who knits or live in a metropolitan area that stills has weavers for hire (sounds funny doesn't it).   In searching the web, you find the re-weaving is quite expensive and there are not a lot of crafters around still offering this service.  For small re-weaves, I found quotes ranging from $25 - $100.  And be ready to wait - most have at least a month turn around time. 

Here we go:

I began by CAREFULLY cutting out the worn area, being sure to only cut through stitches necessary.  In this instance it is a worn elbow spot.  One of the common wear spots, especially if you are in a desk job and use a mouse most of the day.   With machine made sweaters, each of the stitches are connected to the next. This means a little extra work. My intentional cuts have broken the line or bond.

If your sweater owner didn't keep the extra yarn that came with purchase, here's a tip.   I took the "cut out" with me to the yarn store to find a close match for the repair.  I didn't find a match in my first stop.  Luckily my town has several stores that stock a variety of yarns.  My third stop, I found a close match.   Whew!

So as to not lose the stitches I used a darning needle and thread to hold the lines.  Here is a closeup view for reference.

 In order to re-weave, I need to pull out some more stitches.  I am actually going to make the hole larger.  The "hanging threads" will be woven into the garment at the end to create a seamless patch.

I have used # 4 sock knitting needles to hold the stitches and bobby pins to hold the loose threads. 

Now it is time to knit up a piece to fit into the hole.  Use the sweater gauge as a guide.  You may have to knit up a couple different patches before you have the right gauge.  If you are an advanced knitter you can measure the stitches on the sweater to calculate your gauge.  ie x number of stitches per inch = a certain size needle.