Monday, April 17, 2023

Mending: Invisible

Mending is one of those historical skills that has made a come-back. While it was primarily utilitarian at one time, it's taken on new life and prestige as an art and craft in it's own right. Because of that, it's worth defining some terms:

  • Plain mending - utilitarian patching, darning, and repair
  • Visible mending - decorative, such as boro, sashiko, embroidery, fancy patchwork
  • Invisible mending - re-weaving or re-knitting cloth to look like the original fabric

Because mending is a desirable self-sufficiency skill, I've blogged about some of my plain mending (such as mending socks) and some of my visible mending (such as my barn jacket). Recently, I decided to try my hand at invisible mending. 

To learn on, I chose my favorite denim work skirt. I discovered the beginnings of a small hole when I hung it out to dry on the clothesline. 

The repair required finding threads that matched the colors of the fabric. Even though the blue threads are a dark blue close up, I chose a medium blue thread because it blended better with the overall impression of color.

I caught it early enough that I only had to re-weave the blue threads. 

I'm not patient enough to do fine, close work, ordinarily. But this was small enough that it didn't take long, although one of those crafter's magnifying lenses would have been helpful. A blunter needle would have been helpful, as well. The sharps needle kept catching the white threads.

I also want to note that I didn't try to replicate the twill weave; I just did the best I could at picking up threads to weave through. The goal is so that the hole isn't noticeable at a couple of feet away. Do you think I succeeded?

A fancier weave or multiple colors would certainly make it more challenging. Assuming one is up to that challenge!

All in all, I think this is a useful technique to learn. The end result of plain mending chore or play clothes probably has low expectations for most of us. But learning how to properly mend career, dress, or town clothes is both a budget and a landfill saver. What's not to like about that?

Monday, April 10, 2023

Stretchy Knit Market Bag

This was another project idea I got from Permies' SKIP program. The requirement was to crochet or knit a bag with straps, measuring at least 12-inches by 12-inches. I looked around for ideas and found a pattern for a knitted market bag from Sheep & Stitch.

For my yarn, I chose Yarn Bee's Sugarwheel cotton knitting yarn.

The pattern required two types of needles, straights for the body of the bag...

and circs for knitting the bag edging plus handles.

There's also a video that goes with this pattern, which was really helpful because I confess the pattern was a little puzzling at times. The instructions called for straight needles but the pictures only showed knitting on circular needles. I verified with the pattern maker in the video comments, that straight needles were indeed fine.

The other problem was that no knitting gauge was given. My tension must have been different because when it came to picking up for the sides of the bag, I ran out of rows before the pattern did. So I had to adapt (rather than frog it and re-do). 

Even so, I think it turned out well. It became a birthday gift for my stepmother, and she really liked it. 

Will I make it again? Uncertain. I find lace type knitting a bit fussy and I don't enjoy fussy. Still, it was good for a one time project and made a great gift. 

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