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Mending Sweaters

My husband has a lot of sweaters and he wears them hard… which means they get holes in them, especially in places like the elbow. (These are mostly commercial sweaters, not handknits.)
I’d like to mend them for him but thread doesn’t work all that well. Does anyone know of shop or a website that sells small quantities of fingering weight yarn? I really don’t want to buy a whole skein of yarn that I might never use for any other purpose.

While the last sentence is completely foreign to me… I understand the holes have to be fixed. In your case maybe leather patches might be a good choice. They are usually sold in places where you can buy sewing notions.

This photo might explain why problem leftovers are a non issue in my stash


This is my dream craft room!


You have a couple more options. You can find crewel wool in small packages and in every imaginable color in embroidery or needlepoint shops - or in resale shops occasionally.

On the other hand, look into the new options for decorative or art darning, using the mending itself as a noticeable feature. Lots more fun for you, if you can convince your husband to love it, too!


Give me a couple more weeks to feel safe going into stores, and I’ll try that! Thank you.

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Have you looked at Reinforcement Bobbins as a possibility? (from Lang Yarns Jawoll - mostly used to re-enforce socks) They come in lots of colors and usually contain a little nylon that would strengthen the repair.
Good Luck

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I agree with spirithill, visible mending is very much the thing now. I’ve patched my husband’s sweaters with little cloth patches from fabric scraps, edges sewn under by machine and then hand sewn on the holes. I’ve also used various yarn patches, but not worrying at all whether the yarn matched in color or weight. He is just happy to have things patched, and doesn’t mind if it’s not invisible.

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Thanks, Sara. I just ordered several - sounds like a great possibility.

Thank you. I’m going to try it with yarn first, but will keep this in mind - he probably wouldn’t mind a cloth patch, but I’m not so sure how I would like it!
I already used suede patches on the elbows, but then the sweater arms developed holes around the patches…
(If only he didn’t put the newspaper on the kitchen table and rest his elbows on it while he reads, this challenge might not come up!)

One last suggestion, I’ve used a double layer of knit jersey (aka old tee shirts) as elbow patches, and they’ve held up really well. I think because the patch is stretchy it doesn’t put as much tension on the surrounding wool. I’ve had the problem of wear around suede patches too, although I like the way they look.

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My suggestion is to go to Brooklyn Tweed website. They have products for mending.

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If you check Etsy or eBay, both list sellers with small cards of mending or darning wool in a rainbow of shades (some brands are reinforced with nylon). The brands are mostly European (where the mending tradition has persisted). There’s plenty on each card for several small repairs. You can ply it to match the yarn weight of your damaged object.

Re Jawoll and their sock yarn with a matching spool of mending/reinforcing thread on the inside: only in Germany! My ancient stash of mending yarn is German.

For smaller holes, I have also seen darning using needle felting and small pieces of roving. Here is a tutorial on the technique: growing a minimalist wardrobe: repair a wool sweater. – Reading My Tea Leaves – Slow, simple, sustainable living.

If you find roving that matches the color of the sweater you don’t need to have visible patches like in the blog post, but that could be an option.

Thank you, Fdekra - another good tip.