Horror of Horrors... M*ths

Last week I was pulling some of my sweaters out of storage, because it is getting into full-on sweater weather. I was trying one on, not a care in the world, when my partner's mother pointed out a hole.

A hole...?!

Surely it must have gotten caught in the zipper of the suitcase. Not a problem, I can mend it, it's fine. I went home, taking the case with me. But when I took out the other items, I found more holes, and they were bordered in these curious sandy gray deposits...

Moth droppings.

All in all, four articles had gotten nibbled, plus three big bags of fleece. Everything with evidence of moths went into the freezer for 3 days, then out to thaw, then back into the freezer again. The first freeze kills all the larvae and adults, the thaw allows any remaining eggs to hatch, and the second freeze kills whatever has hatched.

The fleeces got inspected, with any particularly nasty bits thrown out, and then washed. These were all unwashed fleeces - moths love dirt and sweat. I've learned my lesson.

Dupicate stitch swiss darned knitted items sweater hat
Finally, I was left with my four items in need of mending: two sweaters, a hat, and the border of a shawl. I was lucky enough to find some leftovers from three of these projects, so my yarns are a perfect match: now, to the mending.
Repairing the border of a lace shawl with crochet hook
The shawl was the easiest: It was just a few stitches on the bindoff that were damaged, so I ran a loose row of single crochet along the edge for reinforcement. The sweaters and hat, however, needed some more significant mending.

I've darned stuff before, mostly the soles and heels of socks. In the past I've almost always used the usual darning stitch, which creates a woven patch. But the front of a sweater is more visible than the foot of a sock - I didn't want a conspicuous patch on the fabric, I just wanted the hole to seamlessly fade away.
Duplicate stitch darning on a lace cardigan
So it's time to learn a new technique: Swiss darning, or duplicate stitch. There are lots of good tutorials out there: Here's a diagram I found helpful, and here is my favorite duplicate stitch tutorial. Here's a good Knitty article on general repairs.
Swiss darning duplicate mending on two moth-eaten jumpers
Duplicate stitch follows the exact path of a knit stitch: In theory, the mend will be almost invisible. In reality, well, I still need a bit of practice. However, the holes have been filled, and my items are mended. They live to be worn another day!



  1. I'm so sorry for your moths! But your post came at a perfect time! I just was given a blanket to repair that moths decided to eat, so your links are very much appreciated! Thank you again! (and hopefully no more moths for you!)

    1. I'm very glad to have helped. A moth infestation is a horrible thing but I came out of it really with minimal damage and I'm taking precautionary measures for next time. Good luck with your mending :)

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