On the value of overestimating yourself


Back in September I got really into visible mending. For my first project I prudently chose a cardigan with a tiny little hole that didn’t need much skill to cover up. After that, I got … too big for my own boots. You see, I spent a week in Austria hiking with friends, during which I discovered the magificent specimen pictured above. Only it didn’t look like this, but was tattered and torn and unravelling all over the place. I just … couldn’t bear seeing a beautiful knit like this in such a bad state, so I offered to my friend Jonathan, who inherited this cardigan from his grandfather, to repair it.


Oh dear. I mean, I did learn a lot, but the repair process gave me quite a headache in the meantime. At first, I just stabilized the holes with sewing thread like I did with my own cardigan. Only one of the sleeves was slowly unravelling with huge chunks of yarn coming loose already, so my usual method didn’t work at that point. In the end I figured I’d just pick up the stitches with replacement yarn and recreate the sleeves whilst knitting it together with the original yarn at the sides. I was quite pleased how well that worked and how good it looked so I decided to use that method for all holes.


There was quite a lot of small holes (I didn’t bother taking a picture of every single one, they basically all look like this). Again, I picked up the stitches, knit a few rows to cover up the hole while joining it together with the original yarn at the sides, then grafted it together a few rows above the hole.


The fabric at both elbow patches was in the worst state. I had to remove the patches so I could mend the entire area, then machine sew them on again. This I’d have had to do anyway because the stitching at the patches was partly coming off already. I was a bit worried that my Grandma’s old sewing machine wouldn’t be able to handle leather, but she soldiered on without batting an eye. Good girl, that one!


Finally, I reattached the buttons because some of them were hanging by a thread. You could see that they had been sewn on repeatedly already, but they should, hopefully, stay in their place for a good long while now. Overall, I’m immensely pleased with my repair work even though it took me a few months to pull them off! Yes, I overestimated myself when I originally offered to repair this garment, but I ended up with a crash course on mending!


I think the grey patches add to the charm of the cardigan – it’s a heirloom piece with emotional value so it should show that it has been worn and loved for multiple generations!

2 responses to “On the value of overestimating yourself”

    • I’m glad to hear that – I did quite like the grey patches, but it’s always good to get approval from someone else! Also, yes, I’m really happy I could save this sweater. 🙂

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