Ahhhh Cashmere

Cashmere is sooooo soft. I knit cashmere baby booties for a baby gift and it was all I could do to not snuggle with those booties & yarn.

But I guess moths love that softness too, or because it is such a soft, gentle yarn it gets snagged too easily – because the most oft sweater I receive to repair is a black cashmere sweater.  I wondered today if the moths like the black better than other colours or if people just happen to buy & love their black cashmere sweaters more?

Although I did have another black cashmere to fix, I also had a lovely grey cashmere and a beige merino, so it was a nice change of pace for the eyes 🙂

Preparing Sweater for Its Second Life…

Depilling helps renew the look of the sweater, and prevents future ‘snags’. Plus it gives the sweater new life…

My nephew has a favourite sweater he’s had for years.  My niece (his younger sister) has her eye on it for as soon as he outgrows it!  It is a beautiful Canada wool sweater with a fleece lining.

Unfortunately, the elbow on one of the arms snagged and caused a hole.  Knowing that its his favourite, and little sister wants it, my very smart sister-in-law considered different ways to fix this before the hole got bigger!

1) Sewing the hole shut.  My comment – it won’t be invisible and I’d worry about the thread cutting the yarn faster over time.  Pilling of sweaters occurs from the fibers rubbing against each other, add in a nylon thread and it’ll cut.

2) Elbow Patch.  This would be a cool feature, but probably not what the niece wants for ‘style’

3) Patterned Darning.  This would be an equally cool feature, but probably not what the nephew wants for style.

4) Invisible Mending – and that is what I did.

A photo posted by Katherine Caughran (@stringandbeans) on

Now, with this being fleece lined, using existing yarn from the sweater (side seams) wasn’t an easy task for such a small fix; however I did have a matching yarn in a slightly heavier weight.  Steps I took to fix it were:

  • I thinned the new yarn a bit so it wouldn’t create a thicker area in that spot;
  • shaved the pilling around the hole so I could see the stitches clearly,
  • sewed a ‘grid’ with white cotton sock yarn to guide me and
  • swiss darned the hole which was 3 rows by 2 stiches



Depilling helps renew the look of the sweater, and prevents future ‘snags’.  Plus it gives the sweater new life…My photos don’t do it justice!

A photo posted by Katherine Caughran (@stringandbeans) on

Nephew will be happy, but I’m sure my niece is going to drool over this renewal…”Hurry up and grow big brother!!!”

Sock Fix: Swiss Darning

My mending pile now remains filled with MY items…always the last to be looked after…what is it they say about the cobbler’s shoes?

My first pair of socks that I knit for myself are from 2007, and although its held up quite well, the heels were getting ‘weak’ so they needed some boosting before I actually created holes.  It’s much easier to mend weak stitches than recreate something that is no longer there (ie mending a hole).

If you look up darning socks on Pinterest and the like, you’ll see a number of methods of knitting or patching over top of the holes.  Reknitting or swiss darning are my preferred methods of mending knitwear.  My interpretation of swiss darning is basically doing a duplicate stitch over the weaker stitches.  I didn’t think of taking better photos for the blog until after the socks were already fixed.  I had luckily taken photos of the before shot to show family members (read: my husband) when they should be providing me their knitwear for mending, not after they create a huge hole.  But I digress…

A photo posted by Katherine Caughran (@stringandbeans) on

I no longer had the matching yarn, but this is on the bottom of my foot, so I really didn’t worry about matching the yarn, besides it’s easier to show the mend when its a different colour 🙂