Ad was telling me the other day about someone he met professionally who threw away his socks after wearing them. Seriously. Wore a pair of socks, then threw them away, did not see the point of washing them when he could buy them so cheaply.

My first thought was, man that is some bad karma. 

But it's kind of all about our cultural standard. 

I mean, our great grandmothers would say to us: you BUY all of your socks? Have you not heard of a knitting needle, child? What in heaven's name are you doing with your time?

I love our cultural standard that cringes at the disposable. That strives for sustainability and repurposing and handmadeness. 

I have a few favourite blogs that are super excellent at this, if they're not already on your blog roll: Little Eco Footprints, Soulemama, Foxslane, Apron Stringz, Green Change

And so, to mending. 

It's not really bloggable, it's just hemming stuff, repairing a torn pocket, sewing on missing buttons, shortening this, lengthening that. 

But every time something goes from the mending basket back into a drawer (and not into the bin or the rag bag) I can hear my grandma saying "good girl, don't waste anything."

My grandma had a small wardrobe, and by that I mean the wooden thing, not the 'wardrobe' of clothes, although actually both were small. She had a couple of good dresses for church and for shopping and special occasions, and she had a few house dresses. It all fitted into a small and lovely wooden wardrobe. 

And when something needed mending, she fixed it. 

I'm embarrassed to think about my sprawling built-in wardrobe with too many clothes, extra chests of drawers, and only a handful of things I even like. 

How refreshing to pare it down. 

So once this pile is mended, that's next on the list. A wardrobe like my grandma's. 

And I'd really like to learn how to knit a sock.



12 Comments on “mending

June 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I have a mending pile that just sits there forever. I usually get stuck into it once a year but by then the child has usually outgrown the item. We moved house 6 months ago from a large house with walk in robes to an older 50’s cottage with no robes! What a shock…but honestly having 1 nanna robe each (kids have none) has forced us to really assess our clothing needs. I can find things quickly and easy, unless it is in that monster pile of folding or ironing and we have a rule of passing old clothing onto charity or friends when something new (or 2nd hand!) comes along.

June 30, 2011 at 10:45 pm

My mending pile is like a teetering mountain, waiting to be climbed on a clear day. Either that or we just wear lots of really holey stuff everywhere. The idea of throwing away a pair of socks is just so distasteful. If someone told me they did that I would have to walk away! x

June 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I’ve recently picked up a book that’s all about our disposable fashion taste – To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle. Not finished it but so far really good – shockingly on the ball when she describes the standard female wardrobe. I have a pile of to mend/adapt/recreate something with clothes, and love these blogs that encourage us to giveit a go – since reading about the little skirt you made, my daughter has gained a skirt, trousers and several dresses!

June 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Me too. Ad was abjectly horrified. The man in question, I believe, was ‘managed out of the business.’ xx

July 1, 2011 at 2:09 am

i’d love to learn to knit more than a scarf!
but knitting with 3 needles totally intimidates me 🙂

Linda Woodrow
July 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

I crocheted a pair of socks for my Yule gift this year, and it was very therapeutic to do. There is actually something about those kind of “mindful” tasks like darning and knitting and mending that allows my creative mind to really run. It seems counterintuitive, that repetitive tasks should be the key to creativity, but an hour of sitting in the sun of a morning, or in front of the fire at night, mending or knitting, and I have 20 ideas to go on with. So different to the mind-switch-off of TV.

July 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hi Fi,
I had a lab coat at uni which had so many holes in it (from wiping acid on it from my gloved fingers) and so became a very ‘patched up’ lab coat. I used the bottoms of my jeans that I was always cutting off (I’m not so tall remember). I made flower-shaped patches and other shapes not really caring because it was only a lab coat. A few years later a friend got into uni as a mature aged student and so I gave her my lab coat. She was so worried about all the younger students thinking she was a boring oldie but suddenly, with my gorgeous lab coat, she was the ‘It’ girl.. and everyone started copying her and putting patches on their coats just to look ‘cool’ like her! Crazy hey! Ness xoxo
ps Happy Birthday for Ivy 🙂 (I know it’s sometime around now)

July 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Knitting socks is highly addictive so beware, and once you have worn handknit wool socks you will never want to wear shop bought socks again .

July 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hi Just found your blog via Soule mama and wanted to say I really like it – and I think your blog name is great. Cringing a little at the thought of my own mending basket not to mention my exploding wardrobe which has so much in it that I can hardly shut the doors – might try to have a good clean out this weekend.

July 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Oh, that sock man is so sad! So selfish.

My mending pile is HUGE. I have good intentions of mending, but then don’t make the time to actually do the mending. You (and Gina of Clutterpunk who worte about mending this week also) have motivated me to tackle my to-mend pile. I’m going to mend one thing a week until the pile is gone.

Thanks for the link love 🙂

July 2, 2011 at 1:08 am

Knitting socks is SO addicting! It took me six months to knit the first sock, because there was nobody to teach me and I couldn’t seem to figure out the directions of the pattern just by looking at it (“What do you mean, pick up ten stitches?? It looks like there are at least thirty there to pick up!”). But finally the first sock emerged. It was pretty terrible and did not fit anybody, but after that the socks have been slowly growing on my needles one after the other, each with more ease than the last. Don’t worry, it’s much easier after the first sock, so as long as you can make it through the beginning then you’re set to go!

July 3, 2011 at 4:59 am

Hello! I think it’s precisely these small things that make for great blog posts. Everyone has things that should be mended, and most of us need a reminder to do the mending.

I have only just found your blog and it’s delightful. Love your banner and the photos, now I’m off to read further back.


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