Imagine my shock when I took one of my favorite wool sweaters out of the closet and discovered… a hole.

Not just any ol’ hole… a hole smack in the middle of my bosom, stretching and morphing into the epitome of poor taste and ugliness as soon as the sweater was pulled on.

I spare you a modeled photo. It’s for the better – trust me.

At first I wanted to toss the sweater all together – it didn’t come with a bobbin of extra yarn, and even a near match wouldn’t be good enough in such a prominent location.

Stupid hole. If only it was on the side or the back: then I could darn it and continue wearing the sweater.

Wait a minute…

What if I unraveled a little bit of yarn from an inconspicuous location and used it to darn the hole on the front of the sweater? Then I’d have a new hole, yes, but it’d be in a spot where a near match would be good enough. Just like when veins are harvested from the leg in order to repair the heart.

And so I did.

I snipped a stitch in the armpit of the sweater, unraveled a few inches, and used the length to close up the hole. Pretty pleased with the results, too – the former hole is about 5 rows below the needle.

As for the hole in the armpit, I closed it up with some rose yarn – definitely not an exact match, and it would never do for a hole smack in the middle of the front of the sweater. But for the armpit, definitely good enough :).


82 thoughts on “Bypass

  1. Sheila

    Now that is using your head – and a a bit of your knitting expertise! Stupendous! You are right about the armpit mend – if anyone notes your mend there – they are too close!

  2. Rachel

    Firstly, kudous for the inspired sweater salvation.

    Second, to pick up on Leanne’s question, what do you think caused the hole? Because my husband’s sweaters have been turning up with holes precisely like that one recently, forcing us to confront the possibility that there are moths in our closet. We haven’t seen any — just the holes — so we’re trying to figure out whether to freak out. Thoughts?

  3. Sarah

    That’s a most inconvenient place for a hole, and certainly a very imaginative way to fix it! I just pulled my favorite red cardigan out to wear it the other day and discovered what I thought was just one hole in a similar location — then looked closer and discovered that it was one of about a dozen. I think it’s a goner … 🙁

  4. Rebekkah

    Great idea. I have the same problem with a storebought sweater, and hadn’t thought of bypass surgery.

    I was really paranoid that it was caused by moths, but it’s the only sweater I’ve seen with that problem, and I keep on checking for signs of moths elsewhere, and never see any. It’s all very weird.

  5. Meg in North AL

    Great repair job! Here’s another hint for future reference, from our local wizard of sweater repair. She steals yarn from the seams of commercially produced sweaters, then sews the seam with near match yarn.

  6. maureen

    Genius is right.

    I have a similar problem with a favorite gray top. It is still sitting on the dryer awaiting it’s trip to the garbage. Now, I’ll try salvaging it.

    Meanwhile… I am hunting the culprit(s).

  7. marjorie

    What a wonderful way to fix moth holes.

    I’ve never had one in quite as conspicuous place, and I’ve used matching sewing thread to fix moth holes (with a result rather like your underarm repair). But I have one of my husband’s sweaters in need of such repairs, and I’ll definitely try your method.

  8. Liz

    Nicely done! An inspired idea! I think maybe it’s time for me to try something similar with some of my sweaters.

  9. amisha

    beautiful repair job! i wouldn’t have even thought of the armpit-yarn solution… brilliant. unfortunately most of my hole-y sweaters have multiple ones… i’m thinking of doing the “craftivity” book solution of embroidering around the holes and making it a design element.

  10. robyn

    a lesser woman would have done what i’ve done .. unravelled the sweater and used the yarn to make something else. kudos for toughing through the hard fix!

  11. Juti

    Slick!! Almost as good as your method for the “pretty” way to pick up stitches when knitting a sock. Which I used this morning. Thank you!!

  12. Marlyce

    Brilliant!! Thanks for the step by step tutorial. I shall use this idea, should it become necessary.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  13. Marlyce

    And…by the way.. for those of you who think your sweater is too far gone and are thinking of the garbage route–try felting it first and make something out of it–e.g. purses, pillows, stuffed toys, coasters, bottle covers/cozies, slippers/clogs, etc. Great re-use/re-cycle if it’s wool, which it probably is if those are moth holes.

  14. marti

    what a great idea! i’ll remember that for future use. btw, i love your jaywalker pattern, just finished my first pair and am itching to do another!

  15. Bookish Wendy

    Now there went the perfect opportunity to create a bulls-eye pattern right on your chest. AND you could have done it all in the name of sweater salvation. 😉

  16. beth

    okay, this is weird, I just discovered a hole in the sweater I have on today! In the exact same spot! Wow! I was thinking, well this sweater is going into the felt bag, but perhaps I could fix it too! Thanks for the tip!

  17. E to the M

    Awesome! I’ve knit and/or felted patches, either square or flower, etc. and whip stitched them over holes for which I have no matching yarn. That would never work for your hole though; nothing like a big ol’ flower on your bosom. Thanks for the great idea.

  18. Terry

    That is a very! impressive job. Shows how much you love the sweater, I’d say. In the days of downtown dept. stores that offered many services atop of alot of merchandise, one dept. offered fine darning services (such as what you just did)- it always amazed me as a little girl to see these few ladies toiling away patiently.

  19. Magatha

    Congratulations! You just taught yourself the fine and almost lost art of “reweaving”. An expensive process to repair holes in knitwear and wovens. That is exactly what re-weavers do, cut away some fiber from an inconspicuous place, do the repair with the perfect match fiber and then do a patch job on the donor site. Well done!

  20. nikki

    Aaaa…. you are a wise one. I would have tossed the sweater out of frustration.

    Also, I was wondering – Have you hard any news about The Pointier Addis we were all so excited about? Is it still a possibility?

  21. melissa

    that’s so clever! i don’t think i would be brave enough to snip another hole in a sweater, but i admire your courage and ingenuity. 🙂

  22. Samina

    What a timely post! I’ve got a sweater with a similar little hole that I’ve been planning on fixing. Would you mind giving a little more detail on how you fixed the stupid thing?

  23. Heather

    This is the solution that I have been waiting for – and didn’t come up with! I have one or two sweaters that I am willing to give up, but one that I am definitely NOT going to get rid of. Ingenious. Thanks for the great idea!

  24. kmkat

    My husband says that if all he had ever done in his life had been to write the bass line in U2’s “Mysterious Ways,” he would count his life well lived and worthwhile. Likewise, if all you had ever done was teach us this little techique, your life would be worthwhile. The fact that you have taught us so much, much more I think qualifies you for sainthood. At a minimum. Thank you.

  25. Beatriz

    It’s the only time I ever appreciated spare yarn/thread and buttons on my garments…when a hole happened to my black silk beaded blouse. Now I save those little precious packets like treasures! Excellent save!

  26. Jill

    I’m totally impressed by your repair job. Just wanted to let you know that I just finished you “corded” bag. I posted pictures on my blog. I’m really happy the way it turned out.


  27. Judy

    I’ll join my voice to the chorus of “How did you do that?” Please will you give us instructions for that fabulous mending job? (I recall from childhood that it was called “invisible mending.”)



  28. Elle

    My da taught me to “weave” when I was about 3. My 1st remembered present is the pick glass he gave me. At any rate, Kiddo…he’d a been proud of you! And that’s saying something!

  29. Jeanne

    Wow. I can’t even see where the hole was and the armpit scar is barely noticeable. Much, much better than the iron-on patch my late sainted Mother applied to the hole on my favorite ratty old sweater.

  30. Vicki in Michigan

    Sometimes a commercial sweater is sewn together with the same yarn used to make the sweater. I have unpicked the sewing, to use that yarn for the sort of small repair you describe.

  31. Scarlett

    You might think your darning miracle was a piece of cake, but I marveled at it and had to show three family members the miracle.

    I still don’t know how you did it and I read your explanation three times…

  32. Lisa E

    Aren’t you just the smartest thing! You can’t even tell you did anything to the armpit or that there was ever a hole. Genius you!

  33. Elise

    I just discovered a similar hole in about the sample place, so I’ll have to try that tonight. I’m just a bit worried/confused how to unravel a bit to darn the hole with. I may try to take it out of one of the seams. I hope I can do a good a job as you did.

  34. Juniper Stone

    Re: the mysterious cause of the hole…I would bet you anything that it was a carpet beetle. These things seem to abound in Cambridge. They are like moths but they seem to do more damage in one spot rather than a bunch of little holes.

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