Friday, April 19, 2013

Moth Holes--What to Do?

Early in our marriage, when we were moving out of a ramshackle rental house and into the first house we ever owned, a mouse ran across the living room as we were packing the truck. At first, Michael didn't say anything because he didn't think I'd seen it.

"Oh, look, a mouse!" I said. And added something like, "How cute!"

"Um, really?" Michael said.

Translation: "You go bat-sh*7 crazy whenever there are bugs in the house, but mice are A-OK?"

My response: "I go crazy when there are two kinds of bugs in the house: roaches, because GROSS, and moths."


Zoom forward 6.5 years.

It's finally spring around here, after that atrocious fake-spring that was really winter with a bad attitude that we've all been experiencing, and spring means SHRUGS. Yes, shrugs, my favorite knitted item in the world.

I pulled out this one to wear today:

My Blue Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug designed by Stefanie Japel

And freaked out to discover this:

Horrifying Moth Hole Discovered This Morning
So I thought I'd share with you my three rules of darning knits.

(Warning: Darning purists out there, you might as well navigate away now, because this post might freak you out as much as moths do.)

Here are the tools I grabbed to darn this hole:

Darning Tools: Scissors, Matching Thread, and a Sewing Needle

So, here's what you'll need to darn a moth hole, quick-and-dirty Knitty Professors Style:

(1) Thread that matches PERFECTLY. This is the only thing that you have be precise about, people. Take your knitted item to the sewing store and buy the closest thread that you can find. Err on the side of something a little darker. Get a nice sewing lady to help you if you can't decide on a color.

(2) A sewing needle that works with your thread.

(3) Scissors.

Let's take a look at how the hole looks after I darned it:

The Darned Hole (LOL)

So, let's break this darn thing down, shall we? 

The first thing you notice is that this darning job is NOT PERFECT. I've blown this image up way large, zoomed way in, and used a high-contrast photo filter to bring out the details. But even still, it's not perfect.

The point of darning (1) to prevent the hole from getting bigger and (2) to make your sweater pretty and wearable again. That's it! It's never going to be "like new" because it had a BIG OL' HOLE in it. So, lower your expectations, and you'll be a lot happier.

Now, I think this came out pretty good, plus the darn is super-secure and the fabric won't unravel. Here are some tips to make sure your darn is sturdy and workable as well:

(1) Always darn with the GOOD side up. For those of you who sew, this is backwards! Weird! I know. But that's how you do it.

(2) Be sure to pass the needle through stitches that are NOT all moth-shredded. In other words, anchor the thread into stitches that are solid. That means that you'll have to grab wider out from the hole than you'll want to, most likely. OH WELL. Fix that hole! It's okay! No one will notice, I swear.

(3) Don't worry about the thread showing. Remember how you picked a thread that matches EXACTLY? It doesn't matter if it shows! Because it matches! 

(4) If you can pass the needle through the back of a stitch, you know, the little bar that runs behind the stitches that you can see, then you have a better chance of hiding the sewing that you are doing and keeping the stitches behind the work. 

(5) I tend to work from the bottom of the hole to the top of the hole, running with the knitting work. Never work side-to-side. That's crazy. 

(6) Once you've tied of the thread nice and securely (do THAT on the back of the fabric), use a steam iron to puff up the stitches around the darn. Plus, the moisture will cause the wool to get all grabby and will help anchor the darn. Good stuff.

That's it!

In case you were wondering, here's what it looks like without the high-contrast, super-zoom filter. Now I just need to find that pumice stone for all those pills:

Darn it, people!

- Katie Rose

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