Monday Mending Ritual
Since the beginning of summer, I have been making it a practice to do at least some mending every Monday. I have not quite set the habit yet but I am getting there and am determined to increase my time on this task. My pile of mending keeps growing and I need to devote time to keeping the list of repairs in control – and the garments and home items in active use.
I have always loved mending; it is calming, practical and brings immediate results. It also helps keep my clothes in good repair and reduce the need to replace items. This appeals both to my anti-consumerism and frugal tendencies. Plus, I enjoy the way it can change the way it looks. When I started mending many years ago, the idea as usually to try to make the repair invisible, which was always more stressful for me. I happily embraced the move to more visible mending that celebrates rather than hides repairs.
Ancient Japanese philosophy, rooted in Buddhism, that values the beauty of imperfection in nature, and in man-made objects. It leads to embracing the value of crafted objects that have cracks, tears or ‘flaws’.
Translates as “golden joinery”, Kintsugi describes the Japanese art of repairing pottery with a gold lacquer. This reflects the philosopy that breaks and imperfections are part of the history of the object and, therefore, should be celebrated, not hidden. Instead, repairs become a new feature element.
Since I have my mending basket out, it is a good time to talk about two of my current favourite tools.
Small Loom (Speedweve style)
The first recommendation is a mini darning loom that I acquired this summer after looking at them for more than a year. I bought it as a special treat when I received a payment that I thought was hopeless because it has been 20 months since it was approved. It was a pleasant surprise when I received notice that it had been deposited to PayPal. Since I had given up on this money, I considered it found money and decided to spend a portion of it on one special thing that I would not normally purchase.
This is not something that I NEED. I can (and have) done these types of mends by hand and will continue to do so. However, I love the look of these as well as the associated history. I bought mine on ETSY from Alexonver in the Ukraine. It is beautiful and came with an exquisite little wooden box (part of the appeal for me as a hobbiest woodworker). There are different sizes available. The one that I bought has a 3″diameter mending surface and 21 hooks. It is not a very big work space and would definitely recommend buying the largest you can afford if you decide to make this purchase.
It is simple to use – you slide the wooden disk under the area to be mended and wrap the cloth with the damaged area with a rubber band then add the metal harp and secure it in place with a second elastic band. Once in place you put in your warp yarns on the pins to cover the width of your repair then weave the weft threads over and under to make a patch.
21 hook loom, 3″ disc, storage box.
disc under the tear, secured ith elastic; adding harp
All set to stitch
Sample of a repair – about 1.5 in/ square. It is a little wonky but my first try with the loom — as soon as I took it out of the box. I couldn’t wait to try it.
Swift Darning Loom
This was a darning loom that I found after I had purchased mine. I’m very happy with the one that I have but if had seen this before I did my order, I would probably have gone for this Swift Darning Loom. As you can see on the linked video, it is made out of repurposed wood hooks made from bicycle spokes plus it has a longer oblong base for more workspace. Check it out for a different and more sustainable option.
Another tool that I am loving is my new mending mushrooms. Mushrooms and mending eggs have a long history of use for mending, especially for sockspurpose and other small shapes – their purpose is to allow you to maintain even tension while doing repairs – you put them behind your work to give some support to your stitching. I have used other things in the past (like round beach rocks that I have collected for the purpose) but wanted to try traditional style. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to make a mending mushroom and sent him some samples for ideas about size and shapes. There are lots of makers on Etsy if you are looking for mending eggs or mushrooms. Or check ith local woodturnes.
I didn’t end up buying one on ETSY because for our anniversary in May, my husband surprised me with two custom-made mushrooms of different sizes. I’m still getting used to using them and am not too efficient yet but it is improving and I can see that I will put these to good use. It is extra-special that they were designed and made just for me. I still want to learn to turn one for myself, just to know that I can but in the meantime, I am lucky to have two beautiful options for my mending tasks.
Mending is a good opportunity to reflect and daydream while you work. These tools might help make your working time even more relaxed AND productive.
Do you have favourite mending / hand sewing tools that have made your work more enjoyable or efficient? Please share in the comments.