Folksy Ltd

Needle felting to repair moth hole in jumper - will this work?

Hi,
I was wondering any of the felters could plausibility check my idea. Dug out a knitted summer cover up from my wardrobe to find that a moth has had a bit of a go at it leaving a hole too large and uneven to darn (no I have no idea why I didn’t put it in a bag with some lavender like all the other ones to prevent this). So I was thinking could I put a disc of felting fibres on either side and then (needle) felt them together thus sandwiching the edges of the hole into the felt to stop it unravelling and filling the hole. Its a loose knit, lightweight cashmere jobbie if that matters. Any other suggestions as to how to fix the hole would be welcome.
Thanks
Sasha

I’m not a felter so have no idea if it would work (although having seen needle felting done it should in theory) The thing is though do you have anything to lose by trying? if the jumper/cardie is unwearable as it is you can’t really make it worse :slight_smile: If you do try it let us know if it works as I hate darning so would love to know an easier (and possibly prettier if you make the felting a feature flower or similar) way of repairing knitwear x

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I totally agree with @DeesDesigns! If there’s a chance you can save the garment then go ahead.

Sam x

@SamanthaStanley and @DeesDesigns The thing is I have no idea what I’m doing just an idea that it should be possible and am happy to wear it hole and all (but appreciate that doing so will probably make the hole worse) so don’t want to ruin it by getting the felting bit wrong. So follow up questions when someone confirmed (or otherwise) include which fibre would be best (I have found cashmere but would normal wool (merino? blue faced leicester?) be better for a novice), do I need specific a needle felting fibre or will any carded fibre top do, what sort of thickness wad of fibre should I start with to get a good fix (if I end up with it being a bit thin can I just add more fibre and repeat the process) and what other equipment is required (I’ve seen different gauges of needles for needle felting, some sort of special pad to drive the needle into)?
Once someone has told me vaguely what to do I’ll be more than happy to report back to save us all darning in the future.

Never tried mending something using needle felting but it may be possible. Not completely sure how I would approach it without experimenting. It depends how big the hole is - for a large hole I think in the first instance I would try needle felting a patch of roughly the right size separately from the jumper (or even cut out a patch from some wool prefelt or felt if you can find the right colour (make sure its wool) and then use additional fibres to felt the patch to the jumper. For a smaller hole you could get away with working directly on the jumper. Not sure how well this would stabilise the raw ends on the hole in the jumper but I guess if you made the patch big enough it might work. Remember wool shrinks when washed and it may shrink at a different rate to the jumper, it also shrinks during the needle felting process so may “draw” the edges of the hole inwards and pucker the jumper. I’m pretty sure there must be better methods of mending but maybe someone has actually tried it and had success! Personally I find merino wool quite difficult to needle felt and find coarser wools such as corridale or blue faced leicester easier to work with but most will work, if you can get carded batt rather than wool top it might be easier but that isn’t so readily available particularly in lots of colours. As you are not a felter I do wonder if the cost of buying wool and needles (you will need more than one as they break very easily especially when you start out!) makes it all worth while.

If you give it a go i’ll be interested to hear how you get on.

I’m inclined to say that the fibres wouldn’t bond very well to the loose cashmere knit, but I could be wrong! It’s one of those things you just need to experiment with really.

I have never needle-felted with cashmere wool so I can’t advise on this, but it may be worth a try before you go and purchase any other type! The wool type shouldn’t matter too much, just make sure you use one that’s a similar colour to your jumper! I use a 2-inch block of foam as a felting surface. Start with a thin wad of fibre and just add more as you go along. Good luck :slight_smile:

@OrchardFelts and @CatkinDesigns thanks for your input. The moth has munched on plain mid grey (Ash I think) so that shouldn’t be too hard to find a similar shade in either BFL or corridale, from my limited knitting experience cashmere is more slippy off the needles than merino which in turn is more slippy than BFL so maybe you need the rougher fibres to get them to ‘stick’ to each other when felting and as a novice I definately need a ‘stickier’ fibre. The hole is about 5p sized so not too bad, I wasn’t sure how well the felt fibres would ‘stick’ to the cashmere which is why I was thinking a sandwich arrangement so the fibres from the top could be felted to the fibres at the bottom through the loops of the cashmere knit. I shall go and see what I can find in mid grey and possibly what a replacement jumper would cost but if I experiment on this one (which is useful but not one of my favourites) then should anything happen to any of the others I would know how to fix them.

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If you struggle to find a colour match without having to spend a fortune I can happily let you have a selection of grey fibres from my stash - I don’t suppose you would need much - I’m sure I could find a suitable colour match :slight_smile:

Thank you for that kind offer however World of Wool have 100g dyed top of corriedale in granite (slightly darker grey than I need but its marginal) for the princely sum of £2.80. (mind is slightly boggled by the range of fibres they have, mink (the animal rather than the colour), rose based cellulose, seaweed, banana… not to mention a lot of strange sheep breeds)
Any thoughts on what gauge needles I might need? They have 32 gauge (‘for medium grade fibres’ apparently), 36 gauge (‘suits most work’), 38 (‘for doll making’ so I guess not those) - I’m thinking 36 based on their descriptions.
Thank you for letting me pick your brains, it is very much appreciated.

I would think a 36 would be fine - if the gauge is too thick you can sometimes see the "holes’ where the needle has been pushed in, too fine and they break very easily! Bear in mind that WOW charges £4.50 postage …! Did you look at natural grey corriedale, think its sort of between seal and granite. When you come to start felting, try messing up the fibres a bit before you start so they are not all lying in the same direction.

I have done lots of needlefelting and of course you would need the fleece and the felting needle…(and mind your fingers)
Personally , although I hope the idea works…I would be more inclined to find some sort of motif to cover the hole. Even a needlefelted flower or something made separately and sewn over the offending area…
You might even find you love needlefelting and take it up as a new hobby…
Just to add that when I was needlefelting I would work on top of one of those thick kitchen sponges.

The problem with covering the hole with a motif / pattern is the rather random position of the hole - on the back between my right kidney and shoulder blade (the moth didn’t think this through did it) - I think I’d end up having to put the pattern all over it for it to make sense and I’m not sure that would ever get done. Top tip with the kitchen sponge and I need a new one for in the kitchen.

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It should work. Great idea !

Knew I’d seen it somewhere…

I’m pleased to report it does work and is really quite easy (even for someone like me who had never needle felted before) - I didn’t spend all the time exactly colour matching shades of grey so I have polka dots but no more holes!

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