How to Mend a Hole in a Knit Sock

  • 01 of 04

    Mending a Knit Sock

    Knitted sock with a hole
    Sarah E. White

    Holes in socks always creep up on you. One day you'll be wearing them perfectly fine and then the next day you will notice a small, or maybe even gaping hole. This betrayal is even deeper when they appear on hand-knitted socks. You put all that work in them, only to have them rip? Fortunately, there are a few ways to fix the problem.

    Darning is the traditional method by which holes and worn spots in socks are mended, and you can do it on handknit socks or purchased socks. 

    But we wanted to try what we thought would be an easier method for mending a knit sock by knitting a flap of new knitting to cover the hole, attaching it at the sides as we went.

    This might not be a perfect method, mostly because the three-needle like bind off done at the end makes a seam that is bumpy and could be uncomfortable, but it worked to get some more wear out of the fun and cozy socks pictured here.

    To get started you'll need your holey sock, yarn to match (or not, as you like, but the same weight at least) and two knitting needles of the same size as you used to knit the rest of the sock.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Getting Started Knitting the Patch

    Starting to knit the patch on the sock
    Sarah E. White

    This patch was worked from the top down because that's how the sock was initially worked. We used one needle to pick up and knit 7 stitches. This gave a stitch or two on each side of the hole as well as the full width of the hole.

    If loose stitches are visible on the side you start on, you can pick up that stitch as yougo along. Otherwise just work into the fabric that remained after the hole.

    The number of stitches you need to pick up will vary depending on how big the hole is.

    Once you have your stitches picked up, turn the work and purl across.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Working the Sock Patch

    Working on the sock patch
    Sarah E. White

    As you begin the right side row, pick up a stitch along the side of the sock and knit it together with the first stitch. (We picked up the side stitch, knit the stitch then pulled the side stitch over.)

    Knit across, then pick up a stitch on the other side to work together with the last stitch of the row as well. This anchors the flap to the sock and eliminates the need for seaming later.

    You can work something like an ssk at the end of the row, but a k2tog will look better, even though slipping the stitches around is a bit more work this way.

    Note: We say knit on right side rows and purl on wrong side rows because this sock is Stockinette Stitch. If you're fixing part of a heel flap or another portion of a sock worked in a different stitch pattern, work in whatever matter you need to in order to make it blend in as best you can.

    Continue in this manner, anchoring the right side rows and working across the wrong side rows, until you have worked up past the edge of the hole, ending with a wrong side row.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Finishing the Flap

    Finishing up the flap
    Sarah E. White

    This sock's mending flap was finished with a sort-of three-needle bind off, where we picked up a stitch in the knit fabric, worked it together with the stitch on the needle and then bound off as we went (but there was no actual third needle involved).

    We like this method because it is easy and leaves you no finishing other than weaving in the ends when you are done, but it is bulky and might feel uncomfortable on your foot or in a shoe depending on where it lands.

    If this doesn't bother you then you're good to go. But if it does, we have a few alternatives. 

    If you don't want the bulk of that bind off in your mending flap, you could bind off in a regular way and sew the flap down in a more traditional way. You might also explore stitching it down with duplicate stitch worked over that last row of knitting, but by then you'd have three layers of stitching (the original sock, the flap, and the duplicate stitching) so you're not losing any bulk that way. 

    In the future, if you find your socks are wearing in the same place, you can work reinforcing nylon thread (often sold at yarn stores) along with your sock yarn as you knit in whatever places tend to wear for you.

    Also, make sure you're using the best yarn for socks.