This technique is especially useful for mending holes in hand knitted socks. It is an alternative to darning.
It can also be used to fix other knitted items that have holes in them.
You can make the patch with the original yarn or make the patch a feature by using a contrasting yarn.
With a little planning you can also make the knitted on patch in other shapes such as a diamond or triangle rather than a square or rectangle.
Pick up stitches below the hole
Work back & forth to desired length & attaching the knitting at the end of each row
Pick up stitches above the hole and graft to the live stitches
Step 1: Assess the Damage.
Take a good look and check how damaged the surrounding stitches are. You want your patch to be anchored onto sound fabric.
If you want to you can put any live stitches onto safety pins to prevent ladders forming.
To work the knitted on patch you will need some yarn of the same weight as the original and a set of double pointed needles the same size as you used originally.
Tip: If you don't know the original needle size just make an educated guess and try it. You'll soon see if it will work.
Tip: Good lighting will make this job much easier.
Step 2: Pick Up Stitches.
A few rows below the hole, pick up a row of stitches. Each stitch looks like a V, pick up the right hand strand of each V.
Start a few stitches to the right of the hole and finish a few stitches to the left.
You want to make sure the 4 edges of your patch will be anchored in undamaged stitches.
TIP: This is a little easier if you use a slightly smaller needle size. Putting one hand inside the sock and stretching the knitting a little also makes it easier to pick up stitches.
Step 3: Knit the first row.
Simply knit the first row using the same needle size that was used for the original knitting.
Step 4: Work in Stocking Stitch. Work the last stitch of each row together with a picked up stitch.
When you reach the last stitch of each row, pick up a stitch from the underlying knitting. Pick up the right hand strand of the V.
On knit rows, knit the picked up stitch and the last stitch of the row together. On purl rows, purl the picked up stitch and the last stitch of the row together.
Slip any live stitches around the edge of the hole onto your working needle as you come level with them. Knit/purl them together with the corresponding stitch of the patch. This will help hold the old knitting snugly against the new patch.
Work to a few rows above the hole.
End with a purl row.
Step 5: Pick Up Stitches. Graft Together.
Picking up the right hand strand of each V, pick up a corresponding row of stitches from the original knitting.
Graft / Kitchener stitch the 2 rows together.
Weave in ends.