Mending season

Suzie Blackman
Saturday, 22 October 2011

It’s that time of year when woollens are brought out of hibernation to provide much-needed warmth. In my house this involves nasty surprises; the annual moth damage inspection has revealed several casualties this year. The particular virulent strain that inhabits my home favours expensive fibres like cashmere. But since I protected all the tasty stuff they’ve been munching everything they can find, including cotton/synthetic blends which I always thought were safe. B***ards.

Look familiar? Here are a few tips to deal with moth holes in knitted fabrics:

  • Don’t panic! If a hole looks big it’s just because the fabric has lost it’s tension and stretched. The hole is probably two rows deep at most.
  • Deal with it! It will be much easier to fix as soon as you find it than after it’s been worn or washed.
  • Check the garment thoroughly, if there’s one hole there are probably more.
  • Match the yarn as closely as possible in weight, colour and fibre composition. If you can’t get a perfect match, a darker shade will show less then a lighter one. For fine gauge commercial knits I un-ply sock yarn.
  • Start on the reverse by shoring up the surrounding stitches  by threading through diagonally, as if weaving in ends.
  • Fix the hole with right side facing. Work one row at a time, following the path of broken and weakened threads, catching loose loops as you go.
  • If the hole runs horizontally and is small, you can simply thread the loops from the rows above and below together as if working Kitchener stitch. It takes some concentration but your mend will be invisible.
  • If the damage is more uneven (more likely with hand-knits), darn diagonally in both directions, through the middle of the yarn forming the existing stitches.

Diagonal reinforcement

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.


  1. I hope never to need it but I’ve bookmarked it for future use. Fingers crossed. God forbid etc etc.

  2. Jessica says:

    Oh no, your poor clothes! Those critter will really go for anything, I’ve heard stories of suede shoes disintegrating through being munched. Good to have some advice on how to rescue — too often things look beyond repair at first glance

    p.s. does this mean you are back in action?

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