Mend-It Monday #18

OK, I know it’s not Monday, but I was really busy yesterday and didn’t have time to write, so today it’s Mend-It Monday on Tuesday. In recent months my mending has been ticking over, with objects repaired as necessary, but it’s a subject that I have been thinking about more and more. The culture of consumerism is so bad for the planet – the more we buy, the more we end up throwing away, or simply not using, and it can’t go on… our resources are not limitless. Every time any item is manufactured, it uses some sort of materials, and even if those are repurposed or recycled, there is still energy involved. And what about the hidden resources? How much water does it take to make an item? And what about the waste during manufacturing? And all this before we even start to think about the conditions of the workers, which can be abysmal, especially when it comes to the cheap goods we have come to expect to see in our shops.

Mending box

So, mending is a big step in the right direction – extend the useful life of an object and you buy new stuff less often, so there is an easing of demand for the world’s resources. But this does sound like a bit of a chore and I think that it is also important to see mending in a positive light rather than simply as something “worthy”. I particularly like mending items that I have made… this is how I have come round from my dislike of darning to loving it: because I can keep wearing all those socks that I put so many hours into making in the first place. Indeed, extending the life of something I really love wearing or using is a particular source of happiness for me. I know that eventually I will have to give up on certain much-loved garments, but it’s so good to be able to keep using them for long after “normal” people would have sent them to landfill.

A skillful invisible mend is an amazing thing and something that I do not excel at, but visible mends are great fun and also highlight to others the possibilities. Fortunately, visible mending is acceptable, and even trendy, these days. Over the years I’ve got good at darning socks and have had a bash at boro, but I’ve been looking to extend my range of skills and have, therefore recently invested in some new books and equipment. I’m particularly excited by the arrival just this morning of a “Speedweve”: a tiny loom to assist with mending all sorts of fabric, including (I hope) some of the things that I’ve struggled with in the past. I’ve also treated myself to a Japanese leather palm thimble, some sashiko needles, long darning needles and sashiko thread (which I want to compare to the embroidery thread I have been using for boro).

So, today I don’t have any completed mends to display, but hopefully I’ll soon be showing off the results of playing with my tiny loom and practising my Japanese stitching.

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21 Comments

  1. I am intrigued by the ‘Speedweave’ loom, and its price! Is this a vintage item? How does it work?

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  2. Lookig forward to seeing your first results 🙂

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  3. the mini mending loom – I had one of those, no instructions and had no idea, let alone anyone else in my network. I say “had” because I don’t think I have it now…

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  4. Intrigued by the loom. I have just used cardboard with holes as a loom recently. But not for mending, in my stitchbook and now my #52hannemadetags.

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  5. Mending is a nice philosophy and great to save resources and unnecessary wasting. I do mend from time to time, although nothing fancy.
    That Speedweve looks a very nice piece of kit – I look forward to read your post about it 🙂

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  6. I’m so glad it’s possible to buy reproductions; the original English-made ones can still be bought on eBay, but they’re SO expensive! I’m looking forward to some really exquisite darning!

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    • Yes, I started with ebay, but they were more expensive than the reproductions and I wanted to be really sure I got a working model since this is a tool not an ornament. Nice to have a copy of the original instructions, though.

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  7. I’m excited by this. particularly the thimble (now looking it up on online!)

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  8. I tried sashiko for the first time recently and am ever so pleased to be able to wear my favourite jeans again. I didn’t know you could get specific needle and thread before your post, though.

    I’ll have to investigate boro, as this is new to me. As is ‘Speedweeve’.

    Any ideas how I might mend the edge of a cuff (cotton) that is starting to fray?

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  9. I’ll be very interesting to hear where you got all these items from – I don’t use Amazon on principle, and am nervous now post Brexit about ordering things from overseas. I’ve been mulling over the Speedweave idea for a while. I have a zillion holey socks, so it’s time may have come…

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    • None of these items came from Amazon; I try to buy from small retailers online, all of these British. The Speedweve and embroidery hoop came from the Ministry of Mending; Susan Briscoe’s books and the Japanese mending supplies came from her web site (she signed the books); and the Modern Mending book was ordered via Hive, who support small independent booksellers. Hope this helps.

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  1. Mend-It Monday #19 | The Snail of Happiness

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