I had to make a quick trip to Chicagoland, and just had time to make my favorite detour to the Eileen Fisher Company Store in Schaumberg (home of Stitches Midwest). On the damaged goods rack I found a beautiful navy blue lace and stockinette stitch pullover that I had admired on the mannequin in the front of the shop. And marked down to only $29 from an original $158! The damage tag clearly stated 'small hole', but neither I nor the sales clerk could find it, so I confidently strode off to the dressing room.
Well, in putting on the sweater, I did my usual 'horizontal stretch'. This is a maneuver I learned from Trinny and Susanna, of the originally British What Not to Wear tv show. Whenever I put on a knit top, I use my lower arms to pull it horizontally. This fights gravity to create a little extra width, allowing the top to flow over my wobbly midsection, rather than cling to - and highlight - its excess. Once the sweater was on, I found that my maneuver had revealed the hole and made the stitch drop down a couple inches.
Arriving home, I pulled out a tiny steel crochet hook and threaded a sewing needle with navy blue yarn. Small hooks are not too hard to find, for although not many crocheters work with thread these days, may knitters use them for attaching beads. I removed the safety pin and with the right side facing, inserted the crochet hook through the stitch from front to back. *I grabbed the ladder from the next row up, and pulled it through the loop on the hook; repeat from * to top. Take your time, work in a well lit space and lay out your piece so that you make sure you pick up the ladders in order.
When you reach the top, use your sewing needle and matching thread to sew the last live loop to the seam. My seam has enough bulk to provide a secure anchor and hide the funny business.
The completed fix was not in any way invisible. Against the plain stockinette stitches, it was decidedly wonky.
I gave it a little steam and tugged the surrounding stitches first horizontally and then vertically. This improved the appearance of the fix somewhat, but a few wearings and a trip through the laundry and I predict it will be invisible.
(And for those of you who say that I wasn't actually saving money because I spent $29 - well, I say everyone occasionally needs a little retail therapy.)