Sock repair: Knitted patch

Remember these socks? They belong to a friend’s brother, whose wife had knit them for him. She passed away last year, and I offered to try to mend the blown out heel. I finally had a moment to sit down with this project. It turned into a much larger moment, but it was worth it.

I didn’t recognize the kind of heel in this sock; it’s not my usual flap and gusset, so I winged it. I picked up stitches in a line two rows under the hole, making sure to go a couple stitches past the hole on either edge. I knit across the row, and purled back. From there on, I picked up a stitch at each end of every right side row, to k2tog with the beginning of the row, and ssk at the end of the row to attach the patch to the sock. Purl back. When picking up the next edge stitches, skip up a row (go up 2 rows) to make up for the purl row.

See how my patch had parallel edges? That didn’t quite work. Because of the way the heel was shaped, I needed to decrease 6 stitches as I went up, so that I could kitchener stitch to the smaller number of stitches *above* the hole, since my sides were tacked down with a set number of stitches between. (Still don’t know what that heel shaping was, but there were fewer stitches between the edges when I got there, so I had to rip back and work in the decreases. I think that the new knit fabric is stretchy enough to make up for the missing heel shaping.)

Looking back from the other side. We’re just going to cover up that hole and pretend it never happened.

Here’s the finished patch, kitchener stitched (grafted) to picked up stitches above the hole. Tidy!

Here’s what it looks like on the inside. I used my ends to tack a bit of the frayed fabric to the inside of the patch.

I used duplicate stitch to reinforce the other heel because it hadn’t broken through yet. It looked terrible but I was afraid to pull my stitches out to re-do it, because the threads of the heel were very thin, and I was afraid they would break if I pulled too hard.

I did some darning on the inside to see if that would make it secure, but it still felt pretty weak.

So I did a knitted patch here, too! I worked this one in the opposite direction, so instead of decreases I used increases, and grafted at the lower edge (left sock). Easy once you know how. Everything feels tidy and secure. I put my foot in them, and they feel fine.

Now these socks can go back to their owner. I’m glad I could help.

Have you ever darned or patched socks? I have used a little duplicate stitch on thin spots, but I had never fixed an actual big hole before this. I’m pleased to have this new skill in my tool kit!

18 responses to “Sock repair: Knitted patch

  1. Jacqueline Lydston

    I think that repair looks fabulous! I’ve never done something like it on a socks but I did do the armpit of my kid’s Goodwill sweater and it’s still holding. Sure would love to know how that heel was originally done

    • Someone who is more of a sock knitter could have figured it out; I’m a fan of boring flap and gusset. I could tell the sock was knit from the sock down, because of the V’s on the 2×2 ribbing at the cuff, but after that? Dunno.

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  2. Surely this can furnish another lesson in your range, Michele ?! – there will be a shitload of people out there wanting to learn this kind of skill. 🙂

  3. It really would ! – I can see it now .. 😀

  4. I haven’t done this myself, but I feel more confident in attempting it having read your post, so thank you very much! 💜

    • It wasn’t hard, but it took me a few times to figure out how to make it fit because the number of stitches between the side edges changed due to the heel shaping. But it was easy enough to rip it back and re-knit. If the hole were on a straight knitting area with no increases or decreases, it would be super easy.

      Michele Lee Bernstein Sent from my iPad


  5. Still working on a few. I think I have down two. I did the weaving thing. I took a class at Sock Summit but can’t even remember all the various ways we were taught. My mends aren’t as pretty as yours, though I do have one in progress that I’m knitting over, similar to what you did.

  6. Very nice fix! That was kind of you to do, and hopefully they will last the owner a bit longer 🙂

  7. I have darned socks and knees on sweatpants. It takes patience, but it is a very satisfying project to complete. You did a great job!

  8. I did some repairs on my husbands slippers. I used bright colored yarn to make the fun and flashy. It was pretty easy and there were enough holes that I to try 3 kinds of repairs- a knitted patch like yours, duplicate stitch and the woven-type of darning. It’s actually really satisfying to resurrect a beloved hand knit.

  9. Yes! I recently tried my hand at a knitted-on patch, and did almost exactly what you did, except, I didn’t graft at the top of the hole. I went two rows past, then picked up stitches and bound the whole thing off with a three-needle bind off. It feels much neater then the usual darning. 🙂

    • Ha, I usually use 3 needle bind off on most places where I’m supposed to kitchener, because I always have to look it up! But I’m teaching a sock class in March, so I thought I’d review how to do it. It was fine. Also, I didn’t want to leave a ridge from the 3NBO for the wearer, for reasons specific to his situation.

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