Sunday 7 May 2017

...plodding on

The going has been tough lately. A spasm in my neck has left me sleepless and miserable for just over a week, compounding the stiffness in my shoulder and the niggling aches and pains in the rest of my body that seem to have become the norm since I hit my fifties. I struggle to maintain a positive outlook when I'm tired and "everything hurts!"

Still, I pulled myself together this morning and carried on regardless. I went into the back garden to hang the washing on the line and got completely distracted by the clematis, which is currently flowering fit to burst with a lavish abundance of blossoms. Its delicate tendrils are so graceful and elegant I'm almost tempted to allow their audacious advance along the washing line.

I'm really not a fan of regimented, clipped and manicured gardens, and my aversion to ruthless pruning and 'cutting back'  (even if it doesn't usually do lasting damage) means that my garden does have a tendency to get a little wild and overgrown. Like a prudent hairdresser I  feel it's better to take off a little bit at a time rather than cut too much at once, but Spring having sprung everything was in need of a good trim. An hour or so of judicious snipping, strimming, and raking later and things were looking less like a jungle a little tidier and my mood had liftedIt's hard to stay gloomy when there are visual treats everywhere.

I decided to quit while I was ahead, rather than cripple myself by over-doing it, so came inside and set about the task of repairing an 'old faithful' jacket. It's possibly not the best-looking garment in the world, but it's a nice, neutral, faded browny-khaki thing that magically expands to fit me when I'm at my biggest and doesn't swamp me when I'm at my slimmest. The side of one pocket gave way several years ago, and I got as far as buying the thread to repair it, but never actually did because as has already been established I'm prone to procrastination the button flap at the top kept it in place and it really wasn't very noticeable. Recently the right cuff started to fray badly, threads unravelling further every time I put it on.  

Perhaps serendipitously, on my way home from work on Tuesday I tuned in to a radio discussion about sustainable clothing and the way in which clothes used to be 'made to last'. The presenter was also talking about the emotional attachments we form to certain garments, through repeated wear. I remembered this blog post about 'visible mending', and decided to make repairing the jacket a creative project.

I thought it would be a good idea to use denim for the repair as I live in jeans nearly all the year round - thus the jacket could still 'go' with anything I might be wearing. Being a compulsive hoarder frugal, I naturally had the thread I originally bought for the pocket repair plus a piece of denim (salvaged from the leg of my husband's old jeans) set aside for just such a patching emergency as this. I cut a strip on the bias and used it to bind the fraying cuff. Although I was pleased with the repair, I wasn't sure whether to use denim for the other (somewhat less worn) cuff. After consulting with my resident style guru  daughter I decided instead to use an ancient remnant of cotton fabric left over from a summer skirt I made around thirty years ago - did I mention I was a hoarder? The pocket repair took literally seconds (if you don't count the years it took to get round to it). With the addition of the embroidered felt brooch I got for Christmas the jacket is now good to go again, imbued with even more sentimental value than it had before.

My weeknight project at the moment is this 'Weald' poncho, by Sandra Nesbitt from The Knitter magazine, Issue 110.

An antidote to the 4ply nightmare of seaming and picking up stitches that was 'Betsy's Poncho'. A seamless, circular, one-piece wonder, worked from hem to collar with strategically placed decreases for shaping. With chunky yarn. On big needles. Fabulous.

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