This week's focus: mending

I’ve had the studio for a week and gotten pretty focused on fibers. I’ve moved my plan around a little—I’m still not sure whether ultimately I want to focus on fibers, or go back to doing something illustration-based like a comic I can print on the risograph, but focusing on fibers for now will either take me in a new direction, or give me a break from the focus I’ve held for years to help me see what I really want to do with it.

Some projects-in-progress keeping my studio company

Some projects-in-progress keeping my studio company

My first couple of experiments have been focused on sock darning. In general, I’m exploring mending as a way to look at time, attention, care, material/physicality, sustainability, and unconventional narrative forms (what can a garment show about a person? Or a relationship?). I started out on Tuesday with a pair of my partner’s socks that I really like, but had holes worn in the heels.

The beginning of the darn pattern

The beginning of the darn pattern

The socks are from Uniqlo, which I don’t know much about but I think mass produces clothing on machines (based on the appearance of the socks). I’m interested in what it means for these socks and their life now that I’ve put (probably) more time into mending them than it took to originally make them.

The finished darn! I had never worked with Swiss darning before, it’s a lot more like knitting than sewing.

The finished darn! I had never worked with Swiss darning before, it’s a lot more like knitting than sewing.

Today I experimented more with some socks that have a thinner weave, and suited a woven darn more than a Swiss darn. Traditional darning is more like weaving, which I have less experience with.

I didn’t have a darning egg, so I used an ink bottle

I didn’t have a darning egg, so I used an ink bottle

Beginning of the warp

Beginning of the warp

Adding the weft (wrong, I realized at this point)

Adding the weft (wrong, I realized at this point)

Finished!

Finished!

Swiss darning was definitely more intuitive to me, but I’m going to experiment more with both, and maybe using this woven darning method to patch holes in other garments instead of cutting out patches of fabric. I have a pair of my own pants that need reinforcement, and Brooks dropped off some clothing for me that is full of holes and stories.

Plan for this weekend:

  • finish darning my socks

  • finish the body of the sweater I’m knitting

  • collect stories about the clothes I own for tags I’m planning on sewing into them

Plans for next week:

  • start patching my jeans

  • start working with Brooks’ jacket as a way to experiment with different sewing and patching methods

  • hopefully get my camera in the mail so I can record videos of my mending sessions and the conversations I have with people during