Friday, 21 February 2014

Visible mending

You might think that I haven't written a post in nearly a month, but it only seems like almost a month because February is short.  Yep, that's why.  No other reason.

Ok but seriously folks, what the heck happened to February?  There's only a week of it left!  We're down to only four (technical) weeks of winter!  I'm not sure why, but the passing of February always seems to take me by surprise.  I'm trying not to get too optimistic yet though, because that only leads to disappointment.  I try to go through life with a healthy but slightly pessimistic attitude.  It means that more often than not, I'm pleasantly surprised instead of disappointed.  The Enabler bugs me about this sometimes but it works for me so I'm not planning to change it anytime soon.

In this post from June last year I briefly mentioned a pillow that I had made in memory of a dear friend's cat.  This pillow became a permanent fixture on her couch and I was always a little proud to see it being well used and well loved when visiting her house.

The love she had for the pillow was obvious and apparently contagious, because a month or so after adopting a new dog, the dog decided to show how much she loved the pillow too.  Unfortunately, the dog expressed this love in the form of trying to eat the pillow.

It was a couple of weeks before my friend gathered up the courage to tell me that the pillow now had several "love bites" taken out of it, and would I please take a look at it to see if I could fix it?  Of course I told her that I'd be happy to take a look at it.

And look at it I did.  It sat, with its four little mouths gaping sadly at me for a couple of weeks after she gave it to me, before I worked up the nerve to try and make it better.  I am not a great sewer or mender of things.  My skills with a needle involve little tasks like sewing buttons back on when they fall off, or reinforcing a hem that's threatening to unravel, but it doesn't go much beyond that.  I recently had a few small forays into the world of mending knitted things, when my mom's Forbidden Forest mittens started to unravel in several places, and a pair of the Enabler's socks started wearing out on the ball of his foot.  If I hadn't recently had those experiences, I'm not sure I would have been able to take this one on.  I might have said to my friend, "It's fine, I'll just make you a new one… out of phentex."

Thankfully for everyone, that didn't happen.

I grabbed my darning needle, the leftover grey yarn, a stiff drink, and dove in.

Before I started, I realized that I didn't have to make it look perfect.  Trying to make it look perfect would just make me crazy because it would never happen.  My only goal was to keep it from unravelling further and to close up the holes.

Thinking back on it now, I probably should have read up on how to fix holes in knitting but then I thought to myself that when my grandmother had to fix something, she didn't have the internet, she just had to get by on moxie (and possibly a mother or grandmother showing HER how to do it, but never mind).  Also, if I had stopped to read methods of fixing holes in knitting I probably would have just slipped into an internet knitting spiral that undoubtedly would have ended with me either scaring myself out of even trying, or browsing patterns on ravelry for several hours.

Truthfully, I dove right in because sometimes that's the only way I can do something that I've been putting off.  When the thought "I should really do ___" flits through my mind, most of the time I ignore it, but once in awhile I seize onto that thought and jump right in before I can think myself out of it.  That's what happened this time.

So, I started mending each hole by doing a running stitch all the way around a little ways back from the perimeter of the hole, and then worked inwards.  On some of them I mostly did a whip stitch, and then some back and forth for good measure.

On others I tried to imitate woven fabric by doing a bunch of strands going back and forth all in one direction, and then weaving strands up and down perpendicularly through the first strands.

None of them are pretty, but from a distance you can barely tell.

I've noticed a movement among other crafters touting the virtues of visible mending.  The idea that it doesn't matter if an item doesn't look perfect is really appealing in a world that seems to demand perfection at every turn.  If you can clearly see that an item has been used so well that it had to be fixed, it speaks to the quality of that item.  Someone clearly cared enough about it to fix it, and it's okay if the scars show.  The idea of visible mending could even be seen as a metaphor for life.  Sometimes things hurt us, and although we may not ever heal completely, the love people show us can -...

Hold on a second, that's getting way too sappy, and that's not my style.  This post actually isn't about "love heals all wounds" or any of that sentimental crap.

It's about dog shaming.

Bad dog.  

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