Making and Mending

“Everyone knows how darn after a fashion – one has, after all, to darn so often…” ~ Maureen Goldsworthy, ‘Mend It!’

“To sew is to pray. Men don’t understand this. They see the whole but they don’t see the stitches. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman’s eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.”


A couple of years ago I made a post describing a fine mending job that I did for my brother-in-law, repairing his tallis (prayer shawl). Little did I know that the post would lead to a small but significant flow of jobs mending precious, and sentimental, or just beloved textiles, for people here in Winnipeg.

Honestly, it’s been a surprise to me, how few people or businesses offer fine mending! I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work on some really interesting and challenging textiles.

This last month, I repaired some mitts for my sister and she showed pictures of the mitts and some of my other mending off in a group of local freecyclers that she is involved with. One participant asked her for my rates and the next thing I knew I got three more mending jobs; two knitting and one crochet. Between those and darning my mom’s handknit socks (knit by yours truly) I am really getting my mending groove on!

The current mending, Icelandic slipper socks and an Icelandic sweater. Both gorgeous and well loved. These are the aftershots, obviously.

Below are a few of the other mending jobs I have done this year.

First up, another prayer shawl, very old and very fragile, and a bag for carrying it in.

I repaired an extremely fragile sweater in a gorgeous chartreuse. I even painted my nails to match!

And of course I have darned lots and lots of socks!

This is hard to see clearly, but it is a patch and an invisible mend on the finest, most translucent muslin I have ever worked on. These pictures are under 5xs magnification.

My sisters favourite sweater and her mitts.

I think mending is a fine thing to do during a pandemic. It’s too easy to feel completely helpless and depressed. And it sure doesn’t help that here on the Canadian Prairies, it’s cold and oh so mid-winter dark right now.

There is nothing that gives me a better feeling of control and positivity then repairing something, fighting back against the throw-away fast fashion culture, and in general, making something anything better. Even if it’s as small as a sock with no holes in it.

I want wish everyone a Happy Holiday, warm socks, good health, well-being, and a joyous Return of the Sun!

Renata aka Baba Stringthings

Author: Baba StringThings

I am a middle-aged mother of three grown-up sons, a thrifty, creative, and dedicated born-again spinster, and I have a serious string addiction. I teach crochet, knitting, bobbin lacemaking, hand-embroidery, weaving, spinning, kumihimo, darning, mending, and how to upcycle clothing. When I'm not doing that I pretty much play with string. All. The. Time. And I have an unholy love of Pinterest.

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