Remember Tom's very favorite sweater from his college days? The horribly worn out one? I'd already mended it twice. Initially, I'd carefully darned it, weaving yarn across the hole with needle and thread, with the idea of recreating the stitches of the original fabric:
That came apart pretty fast, so I made some garter stitch patches that I sewed onto the sweater, thus adding some extra thickness to the fabric:
These knit patches lasted fine, but it turned out that garter stitch tends to sag with wear, especially around the elbows, and isn't suited for elbow patches. You probably must be wondering now how Tom gets his sweaters' elbows in such a state. Well, he's a writer, and he writes a lot. And when you write a lot your elbows and forearms rub against the desk a lot, a "writing friction" that wears holes in your sleeves.
For my third try at mending this sweater, I combined the two previous methods and worked directly on the sweater to make patches. For this, I got out my trusted crochet hooks.
First, I slipped stitched all around the frayed area, picking up stitches from the sweater, to make a foundation base.
Then I single-crocheted, spiralling inward, and decreasing as I went along to make the rounds become smaller. In the end I made one last single stitch right in the center of the patch, which I bound off.
Lastly, I turned the sleeve inside out, trimmed off the frayed fabric, and with needle and yarn I blanket stitched around the raw edges to prevent unravelling.
My crochet darning resulted in tightly stitched patch that is an integral part of the sweater. I do believe this time my mending will last well. But now I'm faced with a new challenge: how to mend the cuffs? I have no idea, do you?