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I was excited to visit the Katrinkles booth at this winter’s Vogue Knitting Live event in New York City. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy: their lovely Darning Loom kit.

These devices are wonderful, to help with repairing both handknit and machine knit fabrics of all types of gauges, and even other fabrics like jeans.

They’re called looms because they are indeed that: tools for weaving. They allow you to make a patch to cover up a hole in a fabric, attaching it to the fabric as you go. Using a tool like this helps you keep the patch tidy and even—and adds a dash of fun along the way.

Here’s what you get in one of these kits:

The loom base

A heddle (the thing that looks like a comb)

An elastic

A tapestry needle

And instructions. You’ll want to scrap some scraps of yarn, too.

Katrinkles makes three versions: Tiny, Smaller, and Larger.

The larger the loom, the larger the patch you can make. The Tiny is a versatile point of entry to darning; it’s handy for pesky small holes on all kinds of knitwear—even machine knits.

The Smaller is great for more substantial sock mends—that’s the one I bought.

The Larger is good for making patches in garments and commercial woven fabrics.


If you’re not a weaver, there are a few key terms to know: the vertical strands that match the patch are called the warp; the horizontal strands are the weft.

The heddles are the combs that you wrap the yarn around at the top to make the warp: you need wider-spaced teeth for thicker yarns.

The Tiny and Smaller looms come with one heddle, 7 stitches to the inch, which is perfect for socks. The Larger kit comes with three larger heddles, each with a number that corresponds to the knit gauge of the yarn you’re using—5, 6, or 7 stitches per inch.

You can also buy these as a Heddle Expansion Kit to use with the Smaller loom.

To Make a Patch:

Hold the loom base with the flat edge at the top, and stretch the fabric over it with the hole centered. Position the appropriate size heddle against the flat top and secure everything in place with the elastic. Make sure the fabric is aligned as straight as possible.

You don’t need to use the same color of yarn for the patch, but do choose something that has a similar structure—tightness of spin, number of plies. Also pay attention to washing instructions: if you’re going to be machine-washing the thing, use a machine-washable yarn.

Thread your yarn onto the needle and create the warp, as follows.

Leave yourself a bit of a tail to weave in. Just like a horizontal seam, use the darning needle to go under and catch the upwards-facing V of a full stitch below the lower edge of the hole. Bring the yarn up and around the tooth of the heddle that’s directly above it.

Bring the yarn back down and catch the next stitch over at the lower edge of the patch. Don’t skip a stitch. In order to stop the hole underneath unravelling any further, you want to hook every single stitch below the hole.

Keep going up and around the next tooth of the heddle and down to catch a stitch.

If the yarn (and heddle) are finer than the gauge of the fabric you’re working onto, it’s OK to catch a single stitch more than once. In fact, this will create an even denser and stronger patch!

Try to keep the lower edge neatly horizontal, working into the same row. And don’t pull too much—you don’t want to pucker the base fabric.

Once you’ve covered the hole with vertical strands, it’s time to get weaving!

Catch the side leg of a stitch at the outside edge of the woven area, and then work across, feeding the needle under and over alternate warp threads. When you hit the other side, catch the leg of a stitch in the knit fabric.

Catch a leg of the stitch the next row up, then turn around and work back, working over the ones you’d just gone under, and under the ones you’d previously gone over.

Catch a stitch in the fabric on each side (at the start and end of each weft row) as you work back and forth. Make sure you catch every single row at the edges, more than once if necessary. And as with the warp, don’t pull too tight: the objective is to keep the side edges of the patch as straight as possible.

After you’ve woven a row, use the eye end of the darning needle to push the weft threads down, and make the fabric good and dense.

When you’ve worked up enough to cover the hole, and you’re near the top of the loom, carefully remove the elastic and take the heddle off. Leave the fabric in place on the loom and work across one final time, catching a loop at the top of the patch and then catching a stitch in the base fabric, making sure not to skip any.

If there’s still looseness in the loops when that pass is done, you can work across a second time. Then pull the yarn to the wrong side and weave the ends in.

About The Author

Kate Atherley is a teacher, designer, author and technical editor. She’s also the publisher of Digits & Threads, a magazine all about Canadian fibre and textile arts.


  • Thanks for the detailed step by step with photos. I have one, not yet used it, now I’m ready to go!

  • I have one too, but my patches sure don’t look so nice! Thanks so much for this, Kate. The clear photos and your explanations will make my future patches much better.

  • I got one at Vogue Knitting also and it took a bit of practice until my patches looked square and even. I love using it on socks, especially with a contrast color. And I have an old knit sweater, one of the first I ever made, that is more mends than sweater at this point. I’ve used the darning loom on that several times.

  • I have two pairs of socks with holes that have been waiting for a tool like this!

  • Love this

  • Wonderful! I’ve used my loom several times, but have struggled with how to navigate the sides of the patch, so your detailed photographs are a complete wonder. Thank you, always, Kate, for your great articles!

  • Wow that is very clever, thank you

  • I want one. I have several socks waiting to be darned and this will be perfect. I going to order order one right now!

  • Many, many (multiple many’s) years ago I would occasionally watch my mom when she darned my dad’s socks; but this looks like so much more a fun way to patch knit items!

  • What a clever invention. Thanks for introducing it to me.

  • This is so cool!

  • As to be expected from Kate: clear explanation accompanied by photos!
    Thanks muchly.

    Here’s to creative mending (sometimes with embroidery….).

  • Now I want something to mend! This looks like fun, and the directions are wonderful! Thank you!

  • Awesome! Thank you

  • Excellent! I too purchased the kit at Vogue Knitting NYC this year. My favorite sweater needs repair, but I have been hesitant to use the kit until someone demonstrated with tips & tricks. This is exactly what I needed!

  • Wow, who knew??? Great info and instructions. Thanks!

  • Here’s a mnemonic to remember which is woof and which is weft: The weft strands go from WEFT to right. 😉 (Credit: Sharon G, needlepoint designer)

  • Wow!! THANK YOU!!! I have one of these but was intimidated to even try it!!! Now I can fix my sock!!!

  • Many thanks for this! I have been wanting to try a mending loom, but could not find one in a LYS, and needed instructions like these.

  • I’ve been waiting for something like this for ages — since the sweater I made for my husband (that took about 2 years) turned up with a huge moth hole when we moved to humid Texas.

    Not having darned anything since my 8th grade home ec class, I was loath to experiment on my precious handiwork.

    Now I can. Thanks!

  • I have a similar loom and tried it on an old shirt, It was wonderful,

    when I was kid in the dark ages I would use a jelly jar to mend holes,
    then I graduated to a darning egg. Now I have a loom for mending and your wonderful tutorial to guide me,
    thanks so much,

  • This item is new to me.
    Looks very interesting and useful
    But I might not get to the practice makes perfect (or even decent) stage.
    Appreciate the article!

  • Going to get the medium. Patching a knitted cap that was my dad’s when he was a baby. He was born in 1921.

  • Genius!!

  • And just why are all patches supposed to be square, which is all this makes? Holes in knits are usually round and holes in wovens are usually oblong. This is an idea looking for a problem it can say it solved. Not better than flexible classic darning techniques. Sorry….

  • I think I need one of these. Thank you!!

  • So cool! I have a favorite sweater that I can’t let go even though it has moth holes. I am going to patch it just as you taught. I believe that I can do it. Thank you for sharing

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