Thursday, August 2, 2012


Early this year, a friend of my dad's asked me to repair a sweater.  I enthusiastically accepted and promptly forgot.  She reminded me in March, and I headed over to The Spinning Loft in Howell to try and match the wool.  Beth, the owner, graciously spun me a few yards of creamy Shetland and I headed home, where I set it aside and forgot about it.  Again.  July first, Maureen asked me how it was going, and with my head hung in shame, I made the repair.  It took me three more weeks to reinforce it, and then another to wash and block it.  I will finally be delivering the sweater to her today.  I'm not sure  I'll be able to look her in the eye.

But the sweater is amazing.  Absolutely worthy of repair and even the guilt I have over neglecting it.  It is her father's and was hand-knit in Ireland with some amazingly sturdy and pill-free wool.  The only repair was to the elbow, obviously one that her dad prefers and has spent many hours leaning on.  My patch is not perfect, but it should be effective, and I hope that he gets many, many more years of wear out of this beautiful piece.

This was my first repair, though I have several pair of hand-knit socks awaiting the same fate.  I essentially just duplicate stitched over the existing threads, as best I could.  It's a bit more difficult to do in a complex cable pattern.

Once I felt that it was properly secured, I turned the sleeve inside out and "wove" some cream sock yarn along the back.  I worked vertically first, catching just one ply of the yarn, going up and down until the area was covered.  Then I wove the yarn under horizontally, going under and over my first set of lines and trying to catch a bit of the original wool in there as well.

Though it is far from perfect, I feel fairly confident that this spot won't wear through again.  I had intentions of reinforcing the other elbow, but after close inspection I found that it wasn't even thinning.  So I gave the sweater a long bath and scrubbed out the dirty spots.  It looks nearly new.  Considering the pill-ridden condition of most of my sweaters, I am seriously in love with this Irish yarn.  I have a feeling that some Shetland wool will be coming to live with me very soon.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! Maureen seemed very pleased. :o)

  2. You did a really good job on that sweater. We lived in Ireland for years and knitting those sweaters was a great cottage industry on the Aran Islands. The wool is probably from Galway sheep maybe blended with a little wool from a mountain breed, that's what makes it so hard wearing. Shetland, from the Scottish Islands is finer and softer. Once again, well done and thanks for sharing.

    Linda (in France)

    1. Thank you so much for the information, Linda! I know nothing about breeds - and these days (at least in the states) it is really rare to see wool that wears so well. Everyone wants the soft stuff! It is such a lovely piece, I would love to see the land where it comes from. Someday! :o) Thanks again for your comment!