I come from a family of borderline Level 2 Hoarders who are not only magpies, but are fortunate enough to be able to buy things of reasonable quality, and who have also been raised to look after our possessions.
This kind of behaviour results in remarkable things like having basic manchester as old as I am in my linen cupboard, 6-hole Doc Martens worn almost daily (it was the 90s) which lasted more than 10 years, were beautifully soft by the time the uppers started to separate from the soles, and soft toys still with tags on which I could probably eBay for a small mint as vintage.
Unfortunately, this mindset also results in little caches of items awaiting repair or mending scattered about the house, contributing to the Hoarding Level. Simple sewing gets dealt with relatively quickly, but everything else tends to fall by the wayside, usually after extensive Evernoting and Pinteresting of how-tos and guides.
Inspired by local initiatives such as Repair Lab, I’ve gotten my butt in gear, and am starting to whittle down this pile, starting with darning and mending clothes and nappy bits, usually in the middle of the night after bub starts her night sleeps, provided she isn’t up every 5 minutes, like she has been of late.
Task 1: Bub’s Cardigan
I have a few knits that need repair, and even though I know how to knit, I’ve been intimidated by the idea of mending them. Some of the holes are too big, and require the trickier methods of repair. And then there’s having to find yarn in a similar ply and fibre to what I need to repair. Excuses, excuses.
Bub’s cardigan was bumped to the top of the pile because baby ply yarn is more accessible than the super fine stuff I need for our other items. Yet, I still had to pick up some baby ply yarn, and the local Spotlight is out of the way, and having to make a trip specifically for it with bub in tow is just Too Much Effort(TM). More excuses.
After a lunch appointment with hubby that would have taken me near another yarn store took me away from said yarn store, I gave up and decided to dig up some old French knitting to frog and salvage the yarn from. Because damn it, I was going to get this task out of the way before bub outgrew the cardigan.
Segue here, French knitting (or spool knitting) is probably the fidget spinner of every generation before now. That spool? It’s wooden and as old, if not older than I am. I probably started it about 20 years ago, and it’s where leftover yarn went whenever I finished a craft. There was never any specific intention for the resulting product, just a ridiculously long bit of knitted cord.
But, back to the task at hand.
Grafting is sewing the stitches together following the flow of yarn as if it was knitted. This is something you’d come across in regular knitting for joining work.
Anchoring uses thread to hold the stitches in place so that you can run a length of yarn for each missing row through it. You can then crochet the loops up into a state where you can graft the stitches together. You might encounter this if you need to fix a ladder caused by dropped stitches.
The first two holes in bub’s cardigan fall under the basic grafting method being only one row deep. That was actually pretty easy to do, by just stitching over the top of existing stitches on either side, and grafting the hole shut. The third one though, is two rows deep and I probably should have done the anchoring method.
On close inspection, it’s clear I shouldn’t have taken a shortcut. I used another needle to hold the stitches in place as I made them sort of as I would have done with cables, then grafted at the end. It would likely have been neater had I used the anchoring method, but not bad for a first try. So, cardigan mended in time for a sweltering Perth summer. Also, the yellow in the yarn isn’t from discolouration, the yarn I frogged was patterned, alternating between white and pale yellow. Bit unfortunate, probably should have used the bit that was patterned with light blue so that it doesn’t look like a dirt stain…
Task 2: Nappy Inserts
These are a work in progress.
I purchased my Bambooty BASICS second hand from someone with a good wash routine. They had a couple holes in them to begin with, which I didn’t think anything of because they’d been through one bub from birth to potty. Had I been a little more diligent and mended them at the start, they probably wouldn’t look as bad as they do now.
The Bambooty bamboo inserts are apparently known to get holey, allegedly from acidic wee, so the recommendation has been to use a machine to zigzag the holes, or to darn them by hand.
Given the thickness of the insert, and that I didn’t want the zig zags to be visible over the suede tops (silly, I know) I didn’t want to machine them, so by hand it is.
I’m using the above method of darning, sort of. With a thicker thread and a tighter weave it would look pretty good, but with regular weight cotton on white bamboo, not so much. Hopefully though, it should hold together, but I’m now constantly on the lookout for smaller holes so that I can catch it early.
It’s time consuming, but it feels wasteful not to try to extend the life of the things we have if it’s still functional.
Somewhere further down the list of mending is a pile of threadbare toe-socks, my only (and second favourite) pair of gloves which were moth munched, and an equally moth munched wool skirt. And probably other stuff. I haven’t checked the pile recently. It’s now kind of going to be done in order of need-to-use, which means the gloves will probably be done at the end of next winter…
Extra Note: A Call Out
I’ve been following Knitty since the year it started, and I used to love reading their publications and seeing what neat new patterns they had. I don’t knit as much as I used to anymore, but Knitty is still a great publication with quality articles and free patterns. If you enjoy knitting, yarn crafts or just makery in general, I encourage you to donate to them so they can stay running, and keep their staff reasonably compensated. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just think it would be shame if they weren’t able to keep the lights on.
 Due to clutter, not the other stuff (hopefully).
 My favourite were stolen with my handbag when we were burgled a couple years ago. Grr.