Darn it.

The “mending is better than ending”course at Jika Jika Community House is coming along well. This week I got the opportunity to pass on the practice of darning. My Grandfather showed me how to darn as he was the darner and button sewer in his family. It looks complicated but it isn’t. One of the students made the comment”this is easy.””It is easy”I replied “and isn’t it interesting how easy something is when we know how to do it?”

Choice of thread is important with darning. I prefer ordinary sewing cotton over wool as I believe it is more comfortable for the wearer. I try to match and use the same colored thread.

We started with a small knitted square of wool with a hole in it. We discussed the principles of weaving and I demonstrated on my new mini whiteboard this very simple process.  We used large eyed needles and basic spools of contrasting cotton to monitor our progress.  We wove in and out from left to right and then wove in and out from top to bottom. The results were amazing and my students made perfect samplers very quickly We discussed the two bag principle and how we were only going to mend something if we loved it . If it were torn and we didn’t love it we were going to give it to charity. There it would either be bought by someone who chose to mend it or it might be bagged up and sold as cloths if it were beyond repair.  








Just the finish one hopes for.

We discussed the mindset associated with mending and I encouraged people to feel empowered rather than impoverished. Yes mending does save money  but there is more to it than that. You get to keep (for longer) a garment or item you love, you save time and you help our beautiful planet. Wow! All that from a small spool of thread.

A mistress of kitsch I gave out amazing! ladybird erasers to acknowledge the efforts the students made and then of course it was time for a cup of tea and something nice to eat.                             More next time.

Author: gentlestitches

the future is in our hands.

10 thoughts on “Darn it.”

  1. Well done having go at the jumpers. The trick with jumpers is to darn with cotton thread not wool.
    My grandfather had a wooden darning “egg” with a stick attached. It is the handmade “good socks” that deserve darning.


  2. I remember my mum used to have a wooden darning mushroom in her sewing box and would darn holey socks. I have had a go at darning jumpers but have to admit that the holey socks get thrown away. My boys seem to excel at hole making!


  3. I was one of the participants in this class and I learned such a lot! I’m looking forward to show-and-tell this coming Thursday so I can show you what I made with my darned scrap (that sounds rude – I love the darned scrap!)


  4. I agree Chris and Sharon, that neatness is secondary to the act of mending. My latest repair job looks wonky but I’m pleased to have my sheets for longer. Go Jessica!


  5. Well done Chris. In my patching or embellishment class, which is held on Thursday evening
    I encourage artistic expression and we don’t care about neatness either. Those harlequin
    pants sound wonderful.


  6. In the Flower Power days of the 1960s it was the height of youth fashion to darn and patch your clothes. Almost everyone I knew, including myself, would darn and patch their clothes till we all looked like harlequins. We loved our jeans so much we wore them even after almost every inch of the original fabric had been replaced by patches. But (sorry “gentlestitches”) our repairs weren’t required by popular opinion to be neat. My mother, a seamstress, could never get me to sew – but she should have been pleased that I at least patched – even it was with rather wild abandon regarding the niceties of colour co-ordination.


  7. Oh thank you for commenting. it is all a mindset. Those “shocks” have been begging to be given a new life and now they are going to get it. Chuck any perfectionism and “give it a go”You won’t be disappointed.


  8. You just made me realise I may not have to throw away my shoe socks, or shocks as I affectionately call them. They’re like super thick, long socks with a sort of sole on the bottom. I love love love them, but they have holes in the join of foot to heel.
    Didn’t even think about just sewing them back up. They’ve been sitting near the door waiting to be thrown out for 3 days but I couldn’t chuck them yet. Now I see what I was waiting for!



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