Gift presents for women: repair work


This first part of the tutorial is about strengthening thinned areas in your knits using Swiss darning or duplicate stitch. Ideally you should do this before you get a hole in them! You can use it for reinforcing elbows, heels or toes or just as an embellishment to your knits. I chose these sleeves or arm warmers (actually they are just a knitted tube – you should know by now I'm not a knitter at all!) which I've been wearing for a couple of years; the elbow area had started to get too soft and shiny. Just in time for mending action!

This technique is to be used on stockinette stitch which, unlike other more textured stitches, gets worn easily. First, start by seeing the stitches in your knit as "V"s (not inverted "V"s".) You will be redoing each stitch with needle and yarn following this sequence: the needle goes up in (a), to go then from (b) to (c) – or the other way round depending if you are going left or right in that row (Fig. 1). Insert the needle back in (a) and bring it up in the (a) point of the stitch immediately to the side (Fig. 2) or above (Fig. 3) the one you've just stitched. Don't pull too tight the stitches.

Now, for stitching your design in the area to be mended, you can follow a chart and go counting each stitch (as I've done with the diamond motif) or you can outline the zone and then fill in freely. For doing this, cut out the shape you want in paper, place a piece of cardboard behind the area you will be stitching, pin the paper pattern on the knit and using a running stitch with a contrast colour, outline the shape of the cut out. Remove the cardboard and insert your darning egg or ball or gourd and start stitching!


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