Just mend it: Getting started

In preparation for the upcoming mending workshops, I’ve created a directory of mending tutorials.  I’ve also been beetling away creating mending kits. Friends have been handing over their spare unwanted haberdashery and tins.  I have raided local op shops.  At one of them I was offered a motherlode of  unwanted notions that were seeking a new home. Here’s a partial view.

2016-04-13 14.49.05

Such treasures.  Including a lifetime’s collection of travelling mending kits from hotels and airlines the like of which I have never seen.  Now, it is going to new homes. I’ve even sewed little covers for thread snips from lino samples I seem to somehow have acquired.

2016-04-16 10.26.28

There are pincushions and measuring tapes, thimbles and safety pins and many reels of thread.  Amazing collections of needles, pins and such.

2016-04-16 10.27.08

The creation of the needle case gallery has been ongoing. Scraps of fabric with a lovely button and all manner of little bits of ribbon, string and cord I have saved for a special occasion (or just a use) have been converted into needle books.

2016-04-16 07.08.38

Lovely little bits of hand embroidery on fabric that has gone well past original use, now adorn a few.  Beautiful Australian print remnants have been  turned to use too.  Some have buttonholes and some have loop closures. Some are plant dyed and some are tied with cord too short to form a drawstring on a bag.

2016-04-16 07.09.22

I am very fond of my own needle case, so eventually I made some just like it.  Well, sort of like it. We started here (mine on the left, and pieces of dyed blanket on the right).

2016-04-16 12.36.40

Eventually, there were about eight.  I stitched at triathlons and in front of the TV and on the train.  I finished some with fancy buttons, beads or little bells saved from Easter bunnies.  I tied some with cotton string that has also seen the dye bath, and others with some hand twined silk string, with a thankyou to India Flint for allowing me to see this was possible and that string was not only to be made from plants.  I was thinking about the fact that I had saved all these improbable things, while others had been handed on to me by relatives and friends with similar habits–

2016-04-19 22.20.55

It brought to mind my mother’s parents, two people who lived in poverty their entire lives, scaling up to indoor plumbing and heated water during my lifetime.  My grandfather left countless pieces of recycled string, pre-loved screws and straightened out nails when he died. My grandmother had a drawer where special treasures lived that I was allowed to admire as a child.   There was a special safety pin in there she used to pierce a hole in the filter of her rare cigarettes for some supposed health reason.  There was also a little black cat made of plastic.  I knew it had come from a box of Black Magic chocolates.  I had seen the boxes for sale but never had any.  Like her, I thought this little creature was a treasure worth saving when the cardboard box and the rather amazing papers surrounding each chocolate might have passed on.

2016-04-19 21.29.37

My life is utterly unlike Millie’s.  But it is good to have things in common with her. It warms me to carry these memories of her along and hold them in my mind as I craft these little books for future menders who will share some fraction of the skills she had.


Filed under Leaf prints, Sewing

15 responses to “Just mend it: Getting started

  1. Beautiful needlecases I hope tge recipients enjoy them. I keep thinking I need a new one. I will also have to put my hand up for collecting travrl nending kits – I even found some my uncle had collected when we cleared his house after he died. See it’s genetic and I can’t do anything about it! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember making a felt needle holder as a child. Still have one of them, luckily my Mother kept it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good on your Mum! You’ve brought back a memory of making a needle case at brownies (like cubs/scouts for girls–needless to say there were some needlessly gendered activities involved). I think it would have been tapestry we were doing over some kind of mesh to create the outer cover. I hated it at the time! I am glad you still have your treasure…


  3. what a wonderful collection of treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan

    I had to laugh..treasures or ???????? what a haul and what good use they are going to go to!


  5. Ahh the memories that come with treasures and textiles. My mother’s button box and the money tin too. We use to get David Jones catalogues with fabric swatches and my sister and l would spend hours choosing our favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is certainly part of the pleasure of textile work, isn’t it? That sounds a delightful memory of time spent with your sister. I remember going to the fabric store with my Mum and getting to choose a fabric (within budget) she would make my dress or skirt from. The best moment being her figuring out she could use a remnant of velvety fabric for a bodice. Velvet! I was beside myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lucky lucky participants! Such treasures they will take home from the workshop, both physical and in knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

Please feel free to join the conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s