Learning a new skill by venturing into visible mending

My alpaca sweater, that I wear like a second skin, revealed a huge hole in the armpit!

I cannot emphasise enough how much this sweater has been life for me in winter.

So, when I thought about what to do about the big hole, the spot next to it that has worn thin, and a beginning hole in the pocket I like to keep my keys in, I was reluctant to send it in for repairs again.

Pinterest to the rescue!

I remembered that back in my more active pinning days, I’d seen people fixing all sorts of holes in clothes.

Turns out, it’s called “visible mending” and it’s when you intentionally use a different colour to mend your clothes, making the mending visible.

So, I went with pink and purple for the biggest hole and learned something called Swiss darning.

I love how it turned out and I’m excited to fix the rest of the sweater.

It was an expensive sweater, but it’s now beat up enough that I can fix it without feeling like I’m ruining someone else’s work.

I’m using embroidery thread, because I can’t easily get yarn as thin as what the sweater has. Plus I have a ton of embroidery thread lying around, just waiting to be used.

I often think, “wouldn’t it be great to have a big house where you could have enough space for crafting stations?” – meaning I’d have enough space to leave supplies and projects within easy reach, and you can just wander around, picking up work-in-progress projects and working on them as you feel like it.

It’d also make them kind of collective projects, as many people could work on the same project.

So, for the other hole in the pocket, I’m going to learn something called Scotch darning, which makes a more criss-cross pattern (where the Swiss darning replicates the knitting stitch).

I’m going to make that one super multicolour and make it well larger than the hole, to make a kind of statement piece on the pocket.

I’ve also done an emergency fix on both sleeves that were wearing down, but I want to do something more ornate/multicolour there too.

I’m still figuring this darning business out, but this was promisingly easy to learn.

This was my first attempt, where I was too afraid to tighten either my guide-yarn or my actual mending yarn, and I had to pull it apart and start again:

But then once I figured out how to keep the tension, it got better.

I did all of this without a darning egg, but I’ve since messaged mum to bring me her darning mushroom so that it’s easier next time around.

This is what the back looks like, super neat and solid mending:

It’s in the armpit, which made it really tricky to keep it all straight and tight. The patch that’s worn down is right next to this hole, so I’ll have to go back and strengthen it before it wears out completely.

For that, I want to use even more colours, but I’m currently busy with some knitting projects as I’m trying to build up the confidence to knit a whole sweater to replace this one in daily use.

I’ll update as I make progress with this project.