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Knit Elbow Patches

It’s astounding how many sweaters my dear friend Taylor has with elbow holes. It wasn’t until I spotted her plinking away at a computer keyboard that I realized the cause… she’s a leaner, a focused leaner. The more she focuses, the more she leans, and the more she leans, the more worn her wares become. She most definitely puts her sweaters to work.

These Knit Elbow Patches were developed with Taylor in mind, out of love and necessity. To knit up these Patches I used two strands of Purl Soho’s brilliantly colored, 100% merino Line Weight, and to sew them onto the offending elbows, I used a single strand of the same. These super simple shapes feature little details that make them work: short row for a tailor-made shape and edges that perfectly hide sewn stitches.

Are you or is someone you know a leaner? Help protect those elbows. Or maybe you didn’t score that sweet sweater you asked for from Santa? Revitalize your old, holey favorites! These Knit Elbow Patches are my solution (and my New Year’s resolution). Happy mending! -Laura

Materials

To make 1 pair of Elbow Patches:

Gauge

6 1/2 stitches and 12 rows = 1 inch in garter stitch, with yarn doubled

Sizes

Small (Medium, Large)

  • 3 (3 1/2 , 4) inches wide by 4 1/2 (5 1/4 , 6) inches long

Notes

The curved ends of the patches are formed using Short Row shaping. For more information on Short Rows, see our tutorial here.

wrp-t (wrap and turn): Keeping the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn forward as if to purl. Return the stitch from the right needle back to the left needle. Turn the work. NOTE: Because the short rows are worked in garter stitch in this pattern, you do not have to pick up the wraps; simply ignore the wraps when you come to them.

Pattern

Begin

With yarn doubled, cast on 19 (23, 27) stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Rows 3 and 4: Knit.

Shape the First Curve

NOTE: If a " - " appears in place of a number for your size, omit this row.

Starting with a right side row…

Next Two Rows: Knit to last - ( - , 10) stitches, wrap and turn (wrp-t).

Next Two Rows: Knit to last - (8 , 8) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last 6 (6, 6) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last 4 (4, 4) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Row: Knit to last 2 (2, 2) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Row: Knit to end of row.

Work Body of Patch

Work in garter stitch, knitting each row, until piece measures 3 1/2 (4, 4 1/2) inches from center of rolled cast on edge (or when you have approximately 21 [24, 27] “ridges” [1 ridge = 2 rows]), ending with a wrong side row.

Shape the Second Curve

NOTE: If a " - " appears in place of a number for your size, omit this row.

Starting with a right side row…

Next Two Rows: Knit to last 2 (2, 2) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last 4 (4, 4) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last 6 (6, 6) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last - (8 , 8) stitches, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to last - ( - , 10) stitches, wrp-t.

Finish

Next Three Rows: Knit.

Next Row (wrong side): Purl

Next Row: Knit.

Bind off knitwise.

Weave in you ends and block as desired.

Sew On the Elbow Patch 

Place the patch over the hole-ridden elbow area of your sweater.

Use straight pins to secure patch in place.

With a ball point needle or tapestry needle threaded with single strand of yarn, sew the patch to your sweater. Here’s how…

Along the vertical edges, use a whip-stitch, bringing the needle from the back of the garment to the front of the patch, coming out between two garter stitch ridges. Take one stitch between each ridge.

Along the curved edges, use a running stitch. Bring the needle from the front of the patch through to the back of the garment, then bring the needle up through the garment and patch approximately 1 knit stitch from where you last went in.

Continue to bring the needle from front to back and back to front at 1-knit-stitch increments all along the stockinette stitches. Once you’ve completed the curved edge, the edge will roll back up, hiding the stitches.

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13 Responses to Knit Elbow Patches


  1. Suzanne says:

    Only you folks could make darned elbos into a fashion statement. :)

  2. Simone says:

    I love it!

  3. lwz says:

    Brilliant!

  4. How do I cast on? says:

    What does it mean by, "with yarn doubled" for the cast on?

  5. purl bee says:

    Hi How Do I Cast On-

    The yarn in this project is knit doubled, meaning that you hold two strands together and knit them as if they were one.

    Hope that answers your question! Thanks for writing in!

    Molly

  6. megan says:

    Hi! Would these patches be considered machine washable on cold?
    Thanks!

  7. mary says:

    I had been scouring the internet for nice elbow patches. The left elbow of my hoodies always wears out first for some reason :) Thanks for sharing this pattern!

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Megan,
    I think if you wash them on a gentle cycle on cold you should be fine. You might want to test one before sewing it on your garment to be sure though.
    Thanks for writing in.
    Laura

  9. april says:

    hooray, adding these to my sweatshirt sweater!

  10. Suzanne says:

    My patch came out with mirrored asymmetric curves; on the vertical edges, one edge is a couple inches longer. Any ideas what I did wrong?

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Suzanne.
    I am not sure what happened. Did you follow the short row portion of the pattern correctly? On one end you work wider and wider and the other you work narrower and narrower. It's hard to trouble shoot without seeing the patches. Do you have an hunches about what might have gone wrong? Did any portion of the pattern trip you up?
    Would love to try and figure this out with you.
    Laura

  12. Stephanie says:

    I'm trying to choose my favorite color yarn to order but I'm sure which is which in the images. Can you please share the yarn colors of the patches you photographed?

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Stephanie.
    Yes! I would love to share the colors shown here. If you look at the third image from the top…
    Ballet Pink
    Yellow Yellow
    Desert Blue
    Heirloom White.

    The gray color shown in the second and fourth image is Oyster Gray.
    The blue in the how-to photos is Dragonfly Blue.

    Hope this helps.
    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Laura

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