‘Invisible Mending’, by C.K.Williams

“Three women old as angels,
bent as ancient apple trees,
who, in a storefront window,
with magnifying glasses,
needles fine as hair, and shining
scissors, parted woof from warp
and pruned what would in
human tissue have been sick…”

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Invisible Mending

Three women old as angels,
bent as ancient apple trees,
who, in a storefront window,
with magnifying glasses,
needles fine as hair, and shining
scissors, parted woof from warp
and pruned what would in
human tissue have been sick.

Abrasions, rents and frays,
slits and chars and acid
splashes, filaments that gave
way of their own accord
from the stress of spanning
tiny, trifling gaps, but which
in a wounded psyche
make a murderous maze.

Their hands as hard as horn,
their eyes as keen as steel,
the threads they worked with
must have seemed as thick
as ropes on ships, as cables
on a crane, but still their heads
would lower, their teeth bare
to nip away the raveled ends.

Only sometimes would they
lift their eyes to yours to show
how much lovelier than these twists
of silk and serge the garments
of the mind are, yet how much
more benign their implements
than mind’s procedures
of forgiveness and repair.

And in your loneliness you’d notice
how really very gently they’d take
the fabric to its last, with what
solicitude gather up worn edges
to be bound, with what severe
but kind detachment wield
their amputating shears:
forgiveness, and repair.

by C. K. Williams (1936–2015)

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The Art Of Invisible Mending

How to do invisible mending (and a bit of upholstery repair)

I’ve been doing a fair bit of mending for friends and family lately, and I am very honoured that they have trusted me with some pretty important textiles! I finally got a chance to try some very fine invisible mending. I thought I would describe the process for you.

Wikipedia describes invisible mending as:

Invisible mending is a sophisticated weaving method consisting in rebuilding the fabric of a garment but also of upholstery after an accident: snag, burn, accidental blade or scissor cut, etc.

Both the warp and weft of the fabric could have been damaged. Invisible mending is the reconstruction of both the warp and weft using a long needle. The mender (most often a woman until the craft started to vanish), picks all the necessary weft warn in the hem, and the warp yearn in the extra fabric on the inside of longitudinal seams.

She will reconstruct the warp and weft to exactly match the original weave. After this is done and the garment has been pressed, the mended part will be undetectable on the outside of the fabric. However, on the reverse side, the restored area will be marked by the long hanging threads where the weaving was done. The hanging threads occur because invisible mending is done without tacking, as it could deform the fabric (unlike darning work).

While mending in general is included in the industrial production process, invisible mending is a service that is still provided by high end dry cleaners. In addition, the results of invisible mending are invisible on both sides of the fabric.

Up until the 70s, mending and invisible mending were common practice. Nowadays, they have become fine crafts associated with tapestry weaving.

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Baba StringThing’s December 2016 Round-Up of All Things String.

I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell you what a colossally anxious year-end 2016 has been. And added to that, my yearly resurgence of feeling crappy has made it even worse. It seems to be dark ALL of the time…The upside? Lots of quiet middle of the night crafting. Here’s a quick round up of December’s projects.

Will this dreadful year ever end? Thank goodness for the Zen of String.

In Winnipeg, talking (aka complaining, bitching and/or ranting) about the weather is not small talk. It’s an all-important preoccupation. So please bear with me…

I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell you what a colossally anxious year-end 2016 has been. And added to that, my yearly resurgence of feeling crappy has made it even worse. It seems to be dark ALL of the time. Here’s today’s: Dec 26 – Daylight. 8:26 am – 4:33 pm 8 hours, 6 minutes.  But of that there was only 3 hours of sunlight because of cloud.

May Biewe, the Sami Goddess of the Sun, Spring, Fertility and Sanity, who restores the mental health of those who go insane because of the continual darkness of the long winter, bless us all with strength, light and sanity. I think we are going to need it! (My fervent wish for all of us)

I have trouble with my circadian clock anyway, but this month it has been spinning around wildly. The upside? Lots of quiet middle of the night crafting. Here’s a quick round up of December’s projects.

Crochet

Brenda’s Rectilinear Home-spun Scarf: This is a scarf I made for my mom out of my handspun yarn. She watched me use my new tiny lace-weight Turkish spindle to spin and ply the yarn…and then skein, soak, stretch, wind and crochet the yarn into a lovely little scarf for her. Completed 12/2016, Fibre is hand-dyed fair-trade merino from Manos Del Uruguay in the colourway ‘Wildflowers’.

Alpaca Coat Of Many Colours + Matching Scarf: Also, while my mom was here, I made a crochet alpaca coat of many colours and a matching scarf. There was no pattern, it is just an elaboration of a circle vest but I am very happy with it. It’s light but warm and I have been wearing it a lot. It took a bit more than three days to crochet and the beautiful multicoloured yarn that inspired the whole design came from a stitch’n’bitch buddy, Linda L. Thank you Linda! The scarf was made just to use up the last bits of yarn, but it turned out amazingly well. It uses arrow stitch, a cabling stitch I had never tried before, and it’s a new favourite.

Continue reading “Baba StringThing’s December 2016 Round-Up of All Things String.”

Simple Crafternoon Pleasures

I taught five beginners to crochet today!

Today was an awesome day. It didn’t start well, but it improved rapidly.

On my way to teach at my Crafternoon group, while getting on my first bus, I stepped on the hem of my brand new dress and it tore in several places. Luckily, I had my needlework chatelaine pinned to my apron and a good assortment of thread on me. So while waiting for my second bus I sat on the grass under a tree and mended the holes.

People walking by looked at me as if I were performing an arcane bit of magic.  A needle and thread! What is she doing? Two minutes later a quick and dirty repair job was done. I got a huge kick out of the teens trying to figure out if I was actually sewing or doing a bit of performance art. It was a small but real pleasure.

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A Stitch in Time, William Henry Margetson, 1915.

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Visible Mending: The Beauty Of Broken Things

It’s been a hell of a overcomsumption party, but the fun is over and the guests are puking in the bushes outside. It’s time to relearn the wisdom of Making Do and Mending.

The Japanese have a really beautiful set of aesthetic traditions that, to me, are the exact opposite of the frantic, febrile spasm of over consumerism that the world seems to be caught up in. We are literally consuming ourselves to death.

One of the most beautiful and healing of these concepts is wabi sabi.

Wikipedi says, “Wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics and a Japanese world view  centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

“the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry,  asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy.” (Wikipedia)

Those are such beautiful concepts. There is a coolness, serenity, naturalness and acceptance that feels like the exact opposite of anxiety in these concepts. Now I am no expert at all, but I think I really get this right down to my bones. These are my guiding principals as a craftswoman. Continue reading “Visible Mending: The Beauty Of Broken Things”

Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!

My Chatelaine isn’t as pretty as the Victorian ones, but it’s just as handy.

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