From my desk ~the great debate

Here it is ~ the great debate which is swirling round my head as I sit at my desk ~

‘A Stitch in Time saves Nine’ or ‘Mending be Darned’.

What say you?

Behind me, I have a pile of darning, occupying an armchair. The pile is many inches high. It stares at me accusingly no matter  where I place it. I try to avoid its gaze but, like Mona Lisa’s eyes, it follows me everywhere. It’s been like this for months. I hear it mocking me, in multiples of 9; “Not stitched in time, 9×9; not stitched in time, 9×10…”

Not stitched in time; more than 9 stitches required

I am not a natural mender. Darning doesn’t come easy, although it should, because I come from a line of excellent darners.  My mother was a diligent darner, and could always be relied upon to mend anything. My aunt was a skilled darner. It was a pleasure to watch her work. Her needle and thread wove magical, near invisible, lines  through the runs in my school stockings. ( Yes, stockings, with a suspender belt…..I am of the pre-pantyhose generation)

My mother’s well-worn darning mushroom, and my aunt’s darning which is barely visible from a distance.

Did they enjoy darning? Well, there is a certain satisfaction  in making something whole and complete again, but I suspect it was necessity and frugality, not pleasure, which drove their darning needles.

Frugality and necessity should drive me, too, but, in front of me, there’s a computer which begs me to use my fingers and my mind outside the domestic realm. It makes me want to say, “Mending be Darned” and “Go create something new”.

So I do, make something new; a  phone photo, for my friends, for myself, of the clematis growing vigorously near the garden gate.

New Zealand clematis by my garden gate

That makes me happy.

But, truthfully, so would a stack of neatly mended clothing. If only I could bring myself to do it.

(Oh, shush, you there behind me. I can hear your sotto voce recitations, “Stitch! stitch! stitch!….  A stitch in time saves 9, a stitch in time saves 9…”,

and don’t you dare start on the 9 times table again. Remember, I know where the nearest recycle bin is! It’s temptingly close by.)

Sigh, the debate is not over yet.

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166 thoughts on “From my desk ~the great debate

  1. Karen

    I learned to darn in school and have put it to good use a couple of times. Seeing your items, I must say that I don’t know if I could repair that sweater though. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Karen! I surprised myself. I managed to repair the huge hole in the sweater. It’s not a skilful mend but the sweater is wearable again. Hope your computer problems are repaired. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Wendy L. Macdonald

    This post makes me love you even more. Darn the darning when there’s beauty to be captured on camera. The only things that get lovingly mended around my home are hurt feelings and work clothes the men must have ready for the next morning. Otherwise torn sweaters end up in my to-be-darned basket, which often ends up being the last stop before the rag bag. Finally, during a recent cleaning spree, I put my ancient garter belt in a thrift bag. Each time I saw that thing, I was reminded of an ugly pair of green stockings and of one of my worst days at school. I’ll spare you the details except to say that shy girls often don’t put their hand up to ask permission to use the ladies room until it’s…um…err…too late.
    No doubt, Google will use this information against me, and I’ll soon be bombarded with popups regarding incontinence products. 🙂 Giggle.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Reply
  3. lisadorenfest

    In my youth, my mother and sister were very talented with a needle and thread (as well as with knitting needles and yarn) but I never managed to acquire their skills. I am delighted that you decided to put off your darning for a bit and create this lovely post (and clematis photo) instead.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lisa, are you ever called upon to mend sails? I imagine there is a great art/skill to that. http://www.amlwchhistory.co.uk/sails.html I think each member of a family exercises his/her creativity in a different way. Some will sew, some will craft, or garden, or cook, and some will be story tellers …. we can’t all be great with needles and yarn, can we? Well, that’s my excuse anyway. 😀

      Reply
      1. lisadorenfest

        😄 The Captain is the seamstress and cook aboard Amandla. My job is to love him and the sea. I definitely got the better deal, but he seems to be happy with me. It’s not easy for Captains to find a woman that love the sea as much as they do, so just wanting to be out there with him is a real selling point ⛵️

        Reply
  4. anotherday2paradise

    My mom, out of necessity was a great darner and she taught me how to darn socks and even my tights. I continued this tradition for the first few years of my marriage, but haven’t darned a sock for many years. I used to be quite good at making clothes and knitting, but even that has gone by the board nowadays. I’d much rather read or play my piano. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am very glad I do know how to darn, even if I don’t darn very often, but, if I could play the piano as you do, I would much rather exercise my fingers making music. than darning. I think this quote attributed to Goethe is very apt “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” Music, poetry, pictures, and then the worldly cares like darning. 😉

      Reply
  5. Kate Johnston

    I never learned how to darn. I wish I knew how–I tend to wear holes through the big toe of my socks and it is always a shame to throw them out when the rest of the sock is in perfectly grand shape!

    Then again, even if I knew how, I wonder if I would. I am a minimalist and a recycler and conservative about buying new things unless they’re absolutely necessary–yet, I just don’t see myself opting to darn a sock over tending to my garden or writing. I like how you put it, “Go create something new.” That’s valuable thinking!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I suppose one way of looking at it is that it’s nice to have choices. I have some old socks, with worn heels. I won’t be mending them. I have made that decision thanks to all the lovely helpful comments I have received on this post. Some things just aren’t worth the effort or time.

      Reply
  6. lensandpensbysally

    Your thoughts bring back a small story from my past. My mother use to mend clothes. But she would say that if a sock has a hole, it should never be darned. It should be tossed or used as a rag and replaced. Seems it would have been perceived as one not having enough money to buy a new pair. Mending an item has a message of frugality, but it also has a practical side of continued use, something that is a worthy mission.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s an interesting story, Sally. It was not always ‘good form’ to wear mended clothes, but, then, it was also not ‘good form’ to be seen with a hole in a stocking or a hole in a sock. At school, we got into trouble if our stockings had holes in them. It was very unseemly and unladylike. Oh the social niceties of mending! 😀

      Reply
  7. Virginia Duran

    I didn’t know that saying in English so thanks for sharing. I get the feeling that it will haunt me too when I have clothes to be mended. How is New Zealand? It’s been a while that you didn’t update us. Lovely flowers by the way 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your clothes always look too beautiful, and well cared for, to need mending. 🙂 Not to put holes in your clothes in the first place is the best way to avoid the mending pile. 😀 NZ has just had an election. At one stage it looked as though a young woman, Jacinda Ardern, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacinda_Ardern might be our next Prime Minister. I was very excited about that. But the election results didn’t give an outright majority to either of the main political parties. So right now, we are in limbo, wondering who will form the new Government; the old guard, or the new and youthful. The parties are negotiating. In the meantime, life goes on as usual. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Virginia Duran

        Exciting times! The following generation would probably see more women in politics than what we are now used to. However, something tells me that governments would continue being corrupt haha. Thanks for sharing 🙂

        Reply
  8. melissabluefineart

    This post made me laugh! I have a similar pile leering at me from a nearby table. So far I’ve been saying “Mending be darned” and the recycle bin beckons… but my son did ask me to sew on a button for him and I really can’t refuse him, can I? And once I have the needle threaded…can I, still???….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am impressed your son asked you to sew on a button. When my son was a certain age (high school age, to be precise) I had to beg him to give me his shirts so I could replace missing buttons. And there were always missing buttons! Now there’s a thought; where do all those missing buttons go? I have found socks, mittens, beanies, coins, and hair ties, when I have been out and about, but I don’t believe I have ever found a button. Have you?

      Reply
      1. melissabluefineart

        That is an interesting point~no I haven’t. Hmmm. A friend of mine is steward of a nature preserve, and she often finds spoons. So many, in fact, that over the years she has collected them and made framed arrangements of them. Which for some reason reminds me of that shipment of sneakers that fell off a ship in the Pacific some years ago. Right shoes landed on one beach, and left shoes landed on another.

        Reply
        1. melissabluefineart

          Yes, and the rubber duckies was another favorite of mine. Bad bad bad, but still it tickled me to think of waves of rubber duckies bobbing along. Thanks for sharing that link~what fun!

  9. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    When the weather is nasty, and there are no lovely flowers or aromas to distract you from not-so-fun tasks, then you can work on that stack. It\shard for me to paint on a pretty day when there are flowers and birds and – whatever outside the door/window… Being part of the outdoors trumps the tasks inside…. I do seem to paint best during bad weather – perhaps that’s why – there are no distractions!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Despite our run of nice weather, I have managed to get through a good amount of my mending..phew. I hope you are getting just the right amount of rain to help you get into a great painting rhythm. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Steve Gingold

    I’ve often said “Darn it” but wasn’t thinking of mending anything. As a kid though, my mother did teach me how to darn holes in socks with a big wooden egg-like thing with a sock draped over it. And I just found a business that is called “Darn it” which provides repair and warehousing services for business inventories. We don’t do much clothing repair nowadays but have some friends with a tailoring business and support them.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am guessing from your comment that you didn’t inherit the big wooden egg darner. I saw something like it in an antique shop last Friday. I was not tempted to buy it. 🙂 I wonder if parents teach their kids to darn or mend these days? I tried to teach my children but they weren’t interested. If there had been a computer game about mending and darning they would have been interested. Good to know you are supporting your friends tailoring business. I imagine that as a nature photographer your clothing must get some wear and tear.

      Reply
  11. afrenchgarden

    The darning mushroom took me back! I cannot stand to waste. The crux is whether the darned item will be loved and wanted, if no then it is off to the recycling for another life as perhaps someones roof insulation. Amelia

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Amelia, it seems to me the darned items are often the most loved things of all. My dog, for example, has one stuffed toy which he loves above all others. I have spent a lot of time darning it. Since writing this post I have darned 3 of my cardigans. I am so pleased to have them in a wearable state again.

      Reply
  12. Mrs. P

    What a wonderful post…you made good with your delightful prose! I do not darn, never have…never will. At least that is one thing that will not taunt me. 😉 but, I do often let simpler pleasures pull me away from things I should be doing, and photos for a friend would easily distract me. 😃

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mrs P, you have been spared the demands of the darning needle. Would you believe I actually have a glove darning needle in my kit? And I have used it for mending gloves!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Maybe needlework isn’t your forte, Andrea, but writing is. So here’s a question? How do characters fill their time in novels these days? I am very out of touch with modern novels! I am remembering all the novels of my young years in which the female characters diligently sewed and mended. And then there’s the romance which came from darning a gentleman’s socks (Jo in Little Women, darning the Prof’s socks “And he pointed to my work ‘Yes,’ they say to one another, these so kind ladies, ‘he is a stupid old fellow, he will see not what we do, he will never observe that his sock heels go not in holes any more, he will think his buttons grow out new when they fall, and believe that strings make theirselves.’ “Ah! But I haf an eye, and I see much. I haf a heart, and I feel thanks for this. Come, a little lesson then and now, or––no more good fairy works for me and mine.”

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Me too! There may be some cooking or drinking…. and there won’t be much church going….. I am curious to know. If you find anything intriguing, let me know please. 🙂

  13. Julie@frogpondfarm

    Oh dear I’m a recycler very unlike my Mum, who could sew beautifully, darn and knit .. but I suspect resurrecting socks and stuff was for those very same reasons. I wonder what you will do 😉 Love that clematis

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Julie, it’s been too wet to go out, so here’s what’s kept me busy indoors…..I have mended two cardigans, and made a decision not to mend T-shirts and pyjama pants. The T shirts and the pjs can be worn as is, until they are only fit for the rag bag. Have you got native clematis?

      Reply
      1. Julie@frogpondfarm

        You are gorgeous .. and yes the weather has been rotten. I’m so tired of the rain ..ah wet Auckland! And my brother arrives tonight from Melb 😃 .. No Miss, I don’t have native clematis ..think I might have to change that 😃

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Maybe you will get one. Have a lovely time with your brother. If it rains tomorrow you can sit inside, drink good wine, and eat delicious food, and watch the election coverage. Teehee.

      2. jennyredhen

        What Antique shop was that.. just curious??
        I think you wrote this blog post to get a solution about what to do with the darning and its worked haha

        Reply
  14. Art and Soul Space

    Gallivanta! I COMPLETELY relate to this. I have had an unfinished post called The Art of Unsewing sitting in my New Blog Posts box for months. I have had many many clothing items to be mended sitting in a wicker basket for more than months. The time I like to sew? When it’s for an art piece.
    I recall a series on Australian Radio National on women’s vexed relationships with sewing. xxx
    You are not alone.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      This is so much fun to hear. Please release your Art of Unsewing from its box, accompanied by some lovely sewn art pieces. Speaking of wicker; for many years my mother has kept all her mending cottons and needles etc in a lovely little wicker basket. Before the wicker basket she had a pretty tin for all her mending kit. Both the basket and the tin were great places to explore, when I was younger. Of course, the button jar always trumped the tin and the basket for exploration purposes.

      Reply
      1. Art and Soul Space

        Lovely to hear about your mother’s cottons and needles. And the button jar! Oh! There would have to be a whole blog series (or at least one post) in the Button Jar as birthplace of creative play. Will you do it or will I?!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Please, please, you do it. Because I would like to see how you use the button jar in your art therapy. A year or so ago, my mother and I opened up her button jar; she selected and sorted the buttons, and together we made button bracelets. It was such fun.

  15. Clanmother

    My grandmother tried to teach me to tat! I never did have the patience to master the intricate moves. We will be the last generation to know a time without internet, just as our grandparents knew a time before cars. Progress nudges us along, and we found our way into a new reality!!! Hugs! Always enjoy reading your insights!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      No one tried to teach me to tat; the aunts, the great aunts, and the grandmas could see I was struggling with plain knitting! My skill was swimming, which wasn’t one of theirs. 😉 Ah, yes, progress does nudge us along. I was fortunate to have family and ancestors who were interested in progress; radios, cars, new sewing machines, telephones. Because of their attitudes, I have never been afraid of change and progress.

      Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        I’m way out of my element here, but now that computers can drive 3-D printers to create objects, it seems it shouldn’t be hard to create computer-driven machines that can mend holes in clothing. In fact I just did an Internet search that turned up lots of sewing machines that can do darning.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          And not only are there many darning machines on the internet but there are also lots of fascinating tutorials on darning. Nothing should surprise me anymore but I still am surprised that a tutorial on darning a hole in a T shirt should attract 2.2 million views.

  16. Mél@nie

    @”I try to avoid its gaze but, like Mona Lisa’s eyes!” – you’re such a poet, Lady-G… 🙂
    * * *
    I’m patient, so I can sew and fix lots of things, but not… holes! 😀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Remember Lady M I was born on a tropical island…… and there’s no place like an island for generating poetry and romance. 🙂 I used to sew but, unlike you, I lost my patience with it. I haven’t done any sewing for decades.

      Reply
      1. Mél@nie

        I do recall, of course… and even though I was born on mainland, I love both poetry and romance… 🙂 otherwise, my patience does have (some) limits… 😉

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, islanders are not alone in their love of poetry and romance; it’s just one of those Tales of the South Pacific which we like to tell. 😉

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          The magnolias seem particularly good this year, too. My poor clematis was devoured by some critter last year. Possibly ants. But this year, even though I can see some ants on it, the clematis is thriving. Maybe the ants and the clematis have come to a mutually acceptable arrangement.

  17. Clare Pooley

    I have this same dilemma. I have a heap of mending that has grown this summer to more than a few inches – it is approaching a foot! There is darning to do in it (which I find a chore) but also there are seams to mend, buttons to replace and elastic to replace in pyjama trousers – three pairs of trousers! Once I get started I always manage to finish the heap but I have so many more urgent and many more interesting jobs to do!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Clare, I am so glad I checked my spam today because I found your comment in it. The spam filter must be going through one of its hiccup phases. Yikes, you have got a pile of mending to do. I suppose one way of looking at it is our relatively comfortable lives allow us the luxury of a pile of spare clothing. In days gone by the holey pair of socks may have been the only pair one had. Of stitching, do you know The Song of the Shirt? https://youtu.be/cYE1XYWJNzQ

      Reply
      1. Clare Pooley

        I didn’t know The Song of the Shirt; thank-you very much for introducing it to me! The only one of his poems I know is ‘November’.
        You are quite right about our comfortable lives; I know of many people who aren’t at all well-off by today’s standards but who don’t repair any clothes apart from sewing on buttons (maybe)!
        I am glad you found my comment. I had a problem with all the comments I wrote on Wednesday night in that as soon as I clicked the comment button my words just disappeared and I couldn’t find where they’d gone. I contacted WP to see if they could sort it out but haven’t heard back from them. I must look to see if other people have found my message in their spam folder!

        Reply
        1. Clare Pooley

          I agree that ‘November’ doesn’t quite work in the southern hemisphere – unless you are having an absolutely dire summer! I wondered why these dragonflies are called darners. Apparently because they look like darning needles!

  18. Su Leslie

    Your darning pile reminds me of a similar jumble of clothes I have lurking in the back bedroom awaiting various repairs. I realised long ago that I have neither the skills nor temperament for careful repair, but I do so love a few items of clothing that I can’t part with them. My solution is Tish’s — colourful patches, ribbons, bits of gratuitous embroidery which then migrate onto parts of the item. I used to just think I was being frugal, but now in our throwaway world, I wear these things with great pride (when I finally get round to fixing them) 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your ‘added value’ garments must be works of art! I am reminded of days gone by when women updated a dress by adding a new collar, or a different border, or a different coloured sash. I always thought that was such a ‘cool’ thing to do. This could be my chance to be equally creative. 😀

      Reply
      1. Su Leslie

        They are definitely fun!
        I remember buying op-shop clothes and modifying them to fit, or just to change the look. Sewing beads on sweaters was my “thing” for a while!
        I kind of miss the days when we made our clothes and we could add little touches which made our Butterick dress different from everyone else’s. And home-made meant not turning up somewhere to find someone else wearing the same bought garment. That happened to me three times with the same beautiful Thornton Hall dress I’d bought with an early wage packet from my first “proper job.” It was so out-of-character expensive (and gorgeous) that I couldn’t just stop wearing it!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Do you still have your Thornton Hall dress? It’s probably a collector’s item now. I don’t want to return to having to make my own clothes, but each of my hand made garments unique; particularly if I had not quite cut or shaped something correctly! I am trying to remember when I bought my first ready made clothes; possibly on a trip to New York in 1977 when I was already 21. Crikey. 😀

        2. Su Leslie

          I’m not sure about the dress. It may be with other stuff in my in laws’ shed! I would own very few clothes if I had to make them all myself: those days are probably best gone. And having New York-bought clothes would been very special in 1977 NZ!!!

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, I certainly thought they were special. Don’t think I ever had to mend them but I wore them for years, until they were quite threadbare. They were actually made in America too….. LOL.

        4. Su Leslie

          I have a few things that has stood the test of time like that. In 1985 I bought a red velvet coat for $10 in a vintage clothing shop. I still wear it every winter. It was made in NZ – probably in the 1950s – and is one of the most beautifully styled and tailored garments I’ve ever owned.

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          Perhaps there will be an in-law or a granddaughter one day. But since you still have life in you yet, the red jacket may be worn to shreds before you are done with it!

        6. Su Leslie

          Hehe. For me it would be navy blue; relentless navy blue. Oddly, I don’t own a single item of blue clothing these days. And it’s not just a political statement!

  19. Born To Organize

    Lots of great comments following your delightful post. Some of the warm and woolly items might make a nice cozy for an animal shelter. Our shelters accept old towels, blankets, and items past their shelf life. Perhaps you can inquire, then make quick work of that pile in a very different way. I’m part way through an attempt to use up old clothes and scraps making small “beds” for cats and dogs. That might please you even more. I’m looking forward to hearing where this goes.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Alys, thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten about the animal shelter option. When our sweet old cat was alive, I used all my old woollens and blanket pieces for her beds. Beds, because she would only sleep outdoors and she had a selection of beds in different places. The small beds you are making sound wonderful. Will there be a post on them?
      The other idea I remembered (from one of your posts) was keeping out scraps of yarn etc as nesting material for little creatures. Our birds are building nests at the moment. I am sure they would like some threads from an old sweater.

      As for what I have done so for; one garment mended, ???????? mending or alternatives to go. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Born To Organize

        I’ll bet your kitty loved her warm, woolly beds. We had a stray that refused to come indoors for a year. I had to nab her for a visit to the vet, and when we got home I let he back in the garden. The following day, she decided that life indoors wasn’t so bad after all. I miss her.

        I will blog about the kitty beds. Thanks for asking!

        Reply
  20. Letizia

    I’m terrible at darning and have now found a wonderful man at my dry cleaners who will do those little jobs for me so I sheepishly bring him the pile of holed fabric and he fixes everything in no time at all, haha!

    I hope you were not affected by the earthquake? You were in my thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Letizia, thanks for your concern. The shake was barely noticeable where I am. It’s good to know people are still employed in mending work. It’s a very valuable service, which, at one time, seemed to be dying out. Do you have a cobbler as well? I hate to throw away a pair of comfortable shoes if they can still be mended and given an extension on life.

      Reply
      1. Letizia

        I have a wonderful cobbler. It’s a tiny shop that smells like shoe polish, of course, when you walk in. He has mended some of my favourite boots for me. Like you, I am pleased that mending work still exists. And that small, independently-owned shops, in general, still exist.
        Very pleased to hear that the earthquake was barely felt, after everything your town has gone through to reconstruct.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Splendid. I am so glad you have a cobbler. I felt sure you would. 😉 And whilst we are okay, I am feeling for the people of Mexico City, and all the islands which have been so devastated by hurricanes.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Also, one of the ‘sad’ aspects of disasters is that the ‘mending’ and rebuild actually can give a big boost to an economy. In the case of the US, this may mean that Trump will be able to boast about massive job creation, and thereby cement his claim that he can make American great again. In his own favorite word; ‘sad’. 😀

  21. jennyredhen

    Shirley Conran said Life is too short to stuff a mushroom,, surely its too short to mend things we dont want or that are past their use by date.. I find the clothes that need mending are the ones I wear a lot and love.. Can any be mended with the sewing machine instead of by hand.. Maybe you would feel better if you put a morning aside and dealt to the lot.. either fixed or thrown out.. I try and make it a condition that I deal with everything .. not put things back in the pile for later..its quite liberating..Could be time for a few new things as well.

    Reply
    1. jennyredhen

      I would say that grey garment in the photo is past it .. If you throw things out it makes a space for new things to come into your life.. we hold onto things out of fear.. fear that there wont be enough.. that the Universe will not provide.. Obviously there is room for error, everyone has a tale of something they threw out that they then needed the next day haha

      Reply
      1. Gallivanta Post author

        Indeed, indeed, fear that there won’t be enough looms large every time I consider throwing out something. That fear is a hangover from my mother’s childhood experience of the Depression. We didn’t throw things away, just in case…….. And I suspect you’re right about the garment in the photo. The universe provided it when I least expected it, and maybe now the universe should have it back.

        Reply
    2. Gallivanta Post author

      I try to deal with my mail (physical) in that way; no piles! So I am sure I could apply it to mending. I am now determined. This pile of mending will soon be no more. Thank you for all your input.

      Reply
  22. utesmile

    What a debate…. I would choose sitting in the sunshine admiring the Clematis. Well my mum used to stitch and mend socks on Monday evenings, when the whole family sat together listening to a radio play, mostly crime stories. Oh memories. I loved it because when my mum darned, she forgot the time and we could stay up longer…. every minute counted then, that was in the 70’s.
    Now I can’t get to bed early enough ( in my 50’s haha) . My mum did a good job of mending everything and saving money, instead of buying new socks for example.
    I am not that way, I do not like darning, it looks awful when I do it. So I recycle socks and get new ones. Everything else I think, will I still wear it when it is fixed??? if it is a no, recycle it. Easy!
    It really depends on the value of the things. Go through the pile and decide for each if it is worth it… no dithering, just quick decisions…. and you will see the pile gets smaller.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your mother’s Monday evening mending sessions sound like a wonderful way to begin the week. I would have enjoyed being part of them. Was Monday also laundry day? I like your advice about not dithering. Dithering is one of my weaknesses. I will attempt to be more decisive. 😀 Thank you for your words of wisdom, Ute, and for sharing such a lovely memory.

      Reply
  23. Cynthia Reyes

    What a coincidence. Just mintues ago, I looked at the three items that need darning and shook my head. One of them is actually a tear that needs patching. I remember years ago when I used to iron on the adhesive patch, then trim the ragged edges of the tear, but I don’t know if they even sell those things anymore.
    Here’s a deal: let’s be darning buddies. We hold each other accountable, one piece at a time.
    Because those items have been looking at me for so long, they seem to have developed frowns and scowls.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s a deal, Cynthia. Thanks to all the comments from everyone, I have knocked off the scowl from one piece in the mending pile. The garment has now been relegated to the washing pile. It won’t have to sulk there for very long because I don’t mind washing; that’s just a matter of pressing buttons. 😀

      Reply
      1. womanseyeview

        Great to be here😊A mixed summer but leaning more to the side of good things. If I ever get myself blogging again I may do a quick review…perhaps I can use your example as my inspiration. Enjoyed this post of yours but especially liked hearing your great spoken word voice.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I smiled at “a quick review”….I was looking at some of my older posts and noticing how much shorter most of my posts are now. A quick review would be lovely for all your followers; hope it’s possible. 🙂

  24. shoreacres

    Darn it! Now you’ve reminded me of those darned chores stacked in my closet: two shirts needing buttons, one pair of courduroy pants requiring a patch, and one shaker-stitch sweater requiring me to sit and pull all of the stick-tights out of its loops. None requires darning (although I still have my mother’s darning egg, should it ever prove necessary). But all of them set up that same conflict you’ve written about here.

    On the other hand, my dallying is a way of preserving some souvenirs from my travels. The missing buttons remind me of the day I tripped on a gravestone and the day a friend’s dog became a little too enthusiastic about playing. The three-cornered tear in the pants evokes a certain barbed wire fence, and the stick-tights? Who hasn’t changed clothes in the middle of a parking lot? (It was Pawnee Rock, actually.)

    Now, every time I see those items, I remember some very special trips. Why would I mend such evocative items?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You are preserving history in your clothes. I like that approach. Unfortunately, my clothing hasn’t had such exciting adventures. Probably their greatest excitement is being whirled around in the washing machine.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s usually the way. In fact, today, encouraged by all the comments, I threaded up my needle and mended one of the garments in the pile. The mending only took about 15 minutes. The job was done in a flash compared to the amount of time I spent procrastinating.

      Reply
  25. Diane Taylor

    Great memory from yester year and how the nudges linger on. My mother, too, used a darning ‘mushroom’, although she called it something else – and can’t quite recall what at the moment. Congratulations on your own mending and weighing the dilemma.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, the nudges! They border on pestilential. 😉 My mother also used another word for the darning mushroom, and I can’t remember what is was either. These days I doubt my mother would remember. I may show the mushroom to her over Skype and see if it brings back any stories.

      Reply
  26. paulliverstravels

    I used to try fixing my own clothes, but then I moved to China and there was an elderly woman who fixed clothes for a small fee for the university students were I was teaching. She always did a better job than I did.

    Reply
  27. KerryCan

    I think Pauline got it just right–what we have left of time is too precious to spend it on tasks that we dread and “I shoulds.” Like you said, mend an item that you love (I will mend my dear old flannel robe) but let the others go!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I try to banish ‘shoulds’ from my vocabulary but one managed to wriggle its way into this post….darn it. 😉 I would probably mend an old flannel robe, too, if I had one. But, in the pile, I do have a favorite black, wool cardigan. I’ll probably start with that one, though I need a good sunny day, and lots of light, to work on a black garment.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am impressed by your primary school, Alex. We were taught basic sewing skills at primary school but not darning. Did you learn how to sew on buttons, as well? I really liked learning how to sew on buttons ( I was about 7) but these days I am not so keen on that job either.

      Reply
      1. Alexander Lautsyus

        I remember the school with great love. e gave us not only knowledge in various fields, but also taught us to acquire knowledge in the most sensible way. But most importantly, it instilled a love of work and gave many different skills. I am very grateful to all my teachers and I remember this time with great warmth.
        Yes, we were taught to sew buttons and even embroider. I still have one

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Such lovely memories Alex, and it’s wonderful you still have some embroidery from that time. I have many good memories of my primary school, mostly because I was given a lot of freedom to read, and be creative. I was also given a chance to help in the junior classes which I enjoyed very much.

        2. Alexander Lautsyus

          Originally, I am from Belarus. This lovely school was there. It wasn’t special school it was just usual public school. The only difference is the very good developed education system.
          It was long time ago about 60 years. Nowadays there are a lot of school changes there and not in a good way.

        3. Alexander Lautsyus

          Everything dramatically changed since my childhood. However it doesn’t mean the modern kids are not happy. They have their own experience, fun, and happy memories. I am positive about that because of my children and grandchildren. They are different of me but they are better. Young people is our future! I hope they’ll make the World better and happier place for living!

        4. jennyredhen

          Same here in New Zealand.. Whilst the neo Liberals have control everything is sliding backwards.. I keep rmembering that line in a Leonard Coohen song. “I have seen the future , brother it is murder.” Election day today.. its knd of neck and neck.. heres hoping the coin falls the right way!!!

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          I really hope I won’t be singing Cohen’s song by the end of the day. It’s a lovely day, here, which may encourage people to get out and vote. I did my voting last week, though.

  28. Tish Farrell

    I’m a very poor darner, and clearly you do not want to do it either, so what about doing something more creative – mending the hole by covering it with something else – some appliqued something or other. Big buttons. Patchwork. It might be whacky or it could lift the garment to a whole new dimension. Besides, it would be fun to think of in the way that darning is not 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I could try some bold coloured thread! My mind is rushing through my thread stash, zeroing in on a recollection of bright gold thread which would look great on that big hole in the photo! Good idea, Tish.

      Reply
  29. thecontentedcrafter

    Here’s my thoughts Ms G on your conundrum. I’ve just celebrated my birthday – I am now in my 69th year. There’s a life time behind me of doing what I should, what I must and what is expected. There is way more of my life gone than lies ahead. I no longer choose to do anything because of should, must or expectations. I do things that please me, that bring me joy – or good health…… I do things that I want to do because doing things that I don’t want to do isn’t worth my valuable time or effort or the emotion I would exude cussing it out. Darn if you like to, other wise darn the darning! 🙂 Happy dance!! ❤ ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      First of all, Happy Birthday. I am tapping my toes and dancing out birthday wishes for you. Can you hear? 😀 And you are very wise to point out that most of our lives are behind us. I think I may compromise on the darning; I will only darn the garments I love. That way the task will be small and pleasurable.

      Reply
  30. restlessjo

    Perhaps the recycling bin would be a kindness all round? 🙂 🙂 I remember those oh so carefully crosshatched heels on woollen socks. The patience! I never got near to emulating it. Sewing buttons back on is about my limit. 🙂 Give pleasure! Why not?

    Reply
  31. Juliet

    Oh what a dilemma! I love darning. It’s magic to me, creating something out of nothing, and weaving in the threads. But for tasks that are a drag, and even for darning, I like to give myself the treat of beautiful music. The sewing/darning/sorting then becomes a way of sitting and listening.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s a great approach, Juliet. I have had some enjoyable darning experiences but those were many years ago when time chased me less. 😉 I am sure your darning is beautiful.

      Reply

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