A couple of years ago, a man stopped by my stall at the farmers' market with a sheepish look on his face. He asked if it was possible to repair an old sweater that had "visited the wash". I asked what had happened, and he replied, "well basically it could fit a toddler, but it's about an inch thick!"
That kind of damage can't be fixed, but I can make a copy of the original. Above is a cardigan my mom made for my dad shortly after they were married. The wear & tear isn't visible in the photo, but the cuffs have been worn out and re-knitted several times, and there is a huge hole at the left elbow where my dad would rest his arm.
To the left is the copy. I was fortunate enough to find a near-perfect yarn, with the addition of some really beautiful hand-lathed wooden buttons.
This sweater, below, was handmade in Ireland in the 1960s and purchased in a shop in New Zealand - a real world traveler, and a beautiful tribute to the seafaring Celts. The original has some mistakes in the cables. I was tempted to reproduce these mistakes but chose not to in this case - but I'm certain I will include them if I make this sweater again. My mom's cardigan has a couple of mistakes too, and I love them as a reminder of this handmade treasure.