Can You Fix This? Why Yes I can!

A friend of mine approached me a couple of years ago and asked if I could reproduce her favorite zipped sweater. I didn’t replicate the cable pattern exactly, but I did meticulously take multiple measurements of the gradual increasing and decreasing in the shaping, carefully gauged over the unusual cable pattern, and installed my first zipper into knitwear. The sweater fit exactly right, and I was super pleased! See the left image below.

A few weeks ago, my friend brought me her sweater. “Can you fix this?”…holding up the end of the sleeve where big loops now resided where ribbing used to be. I said I would give it a shot. If the repair didn’t look good, I assured her I could snip off the ribbing, and work the ribbing from the top down and nobody would notice that it had been knit in the opposite direction.

 The injured sleeve…I immediately located the loose sts and placed in locking stitch markers.

The injured sleeve…I immediately located the loose sts and placed in locking stitch markers.

When I finally picked up the sweater to begin an effort at repairing, I realized that it was going to be fairly easy to run the switches back up and get the ribbing fixed.

 A column of knit stitches laddered up next to the other column that hadn’t run.

A column of knit stitches laddered up next to the other column that hadn’t run.

 Getting ready to ladder up a purl column. See loose stitch at center right of image.

Getting ready to ladder up a purl column. See loose stitch at center right of image.

 Both purl stitches laddered up. Ribbing looks good!

Both purl stitches laddered up. Ribbing looks good!

Once the ribbing was laddered up, and looking really good…the stitches were all uniform…the problem was whether to try to figure out the tubular bind off sequence (quite difficult to execute in this situation) or work up a substitution. I decided I would use the sewn bind-off to give a flexible edge that would match the flexibility of the tubular bindoff. I knew it would not look the same, but hoped it would match well enough. I secured the tail of a new piece of yarn through several stitches of the back side of the ribbing (far left image below), and bound off the stitches using the sewn bindoff. Middle image below is the first step of the sewn bindoff. The far right image is the second step of the sewn bindoff.

Securing the tail of the new working yarn to be used in sewn bindoff.

Step One of Sewn Bind Off: Break off a length of yarn around 3 times as long as the knitting and thread it onto a yarn needle. *Insert the needle into the first 2 stitches on the knitting needle as if to purl and draw the yarn through.

 Step Two of Sewn Bind Off: Reinsert the needle into the first stitch on the knitting needle as if to knit, draw the yarn through and slip the stitch off.* Repeat from * to *.

Step Two of Sewn Bind Off: Reinsert the needle into the first stitch on the knitting needle as if to knit, draw the yarn through and slip the stitch off.* Repeat from * to *.

The bound off stitches looked okay except that the result was an edge considerably lower than the original edge (see below). What to do?? I do not crochet…well, a little…I do know how to single and double crochet. I single crocheted across the gap. Then I took the tail and made vertical bars on the crocheted stitches to try to mimic the look of the tubular bind off (middle image below). Not perfect…but I’ll take it! You can see that the final repair looks really good from a distance (right image). Few people would even notice it. I’m super pleased with the final result, and the repair went a lot quicker than I expected…I think a couple of hours.

I hope this inspires you to experiment with some repairs. After all, you have nothing to lose…the garment is already likely not to be worn if it’s damaged, so try figuring out how to make it presentable again. As I’ve said before, being able to fix a damaged knitted piece is very satisfying. It not only returns the piece to usefulness and beauty, it also boosts one’s own confidence as a knitter.

 

 The sewn bind off edge was considerably lower. Note the loose yarns of the original tubular bind off on each side. I secured those later down the inside of columns of ribbing.

The sewn bind off edge was considerably lower. Note the loose yarns of the original tubular bind off on each side. I secured those later down the inside of columns of ribbing.

 I single crocheted across the gap and added some vertical bars to mimic the original tubular bindoff. Some places it was more convincing that others.

I single crocheted across the gap and added some vertical bars to mimic the original tubular bindoff. Some places it was more convincing that others.

 The final edge still shows the horizontal direction of the sewn bindoff versus the curved edge of the original tubular bind-off, but it still looks really good overall and most people won’t even notice the repair.

The final edge still shows the horizontal direction of the sewn bindoff versus the curved edge of the original tubular bind-off, but it still looks really good overall and most people won’t even notice the repair.