I've been thinking about mending. It's a practice that's new to me.
In the past if something tore, or needed hemming, I would look to my mother. I could probably have fixed the item myself, but she is a wizard at fibre arts and owns a sewing machine or two.
(Shameless mom plug here: margiedavidson.ca)
In fact, just 6 months ago she fixed a shirt I loved and didn't want to throw out. Where my clothes come from and where they go when I no longer want them has been on my mind lately. I have kept store bought socks in my drawer long after they got holes in them thinking that if I wished hard enough they would be whole again. This never works, and into the trash they go.
But I can not throw out hand knit socks. I knit them! They are full of love! And time! And money! These aren't your Zellers 3-pack disposables we're talking about here.
So when socks that I had made for my love had holes in them (the first time) I put them aside thinking that my mom or Kalea would be able to fix them for me. And those socks sat there, on my dresser, for too many months to count. Finally I decided it was me who needed to fix them, and I needed to figure out how.
So I bought a beautiful darning egg (which I have added to my collection of knitting tools that look like sex toys) and asked for tips from the makers and menders in my life and off I went. A little bumpy at first, I'll admit, but the wool socks went back into wearing circulation just in time for winter!
Now a couple of months later the same socks have returned to me needing further mending.
Is it that I chose sock yarn without nylon? Maybe.
Is it that my love is very hard on his socks? Maybe.
Will I keep mending these socks until new, different, patchy socks rise like a phoenix from the ashes of this holey pair? Yes.
This feels like an act of defiance in the face of consumer culture. Sigrid Arnot's Sock Knitting for the Revolution (published in For the Love of Knitting) springs to mind, here's a small passage:
"And so, here I sit, happily knitting socks for the revolution. As I cast on, I am nullifying capitalistic concepts of monetary value and wage labor. Knitting and purling my way through the ribbing, I am breaking the shackles of global consumerism and international economics. Turning the heel, time and money are wasted in glorious profligacy and inefficiency is maximized, even celebrated. As I work my way down the foot, shopping as an opiate for the masses is replaced with the excitement of knitting "just a few more rows." Binding off at the toes, my own small revolution is complete."
Picking up my darning egg and needle feels like waving Sigrid's flag. I won't throw these socks away, I will make them better. I can rebuild them, I have the technology.