Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thoughts on a slow wardrobe...

This morning, I noticed a hole in one of my socks.  Now, your average non-sock-knitter wouldn't give it a second thought, just toss them out, toddle off and spend a handful of bucks on a bunch of new ones.  But I fetched my darning mushroom...
And as usual when I do anything sock-related, I pondered life, the universe and everything...
 and about "things".  One really appreciates "things" one has made oneself, don't you think?  There is that first-hand experience of the time and effort that goes into making some thing.   You come to treasure that thing.  Ergo, you take care of it, and you fix it up if something happens to it.  So, that thing lives on to be useful again.


My handmade socks have really drilled this basic and yet game-changing notion in to me more than any other of my handmade things.  
I think I am less wasteful and more mindful of consumption, thanks to the hours I have spent knitting my own socks.  
Because for sure, knitting one's own socks is a very humbling endeavour.  Particularly when one walks past those racks of socks in the department stores, $10 for 3 pairs.

I am often asked "why bother?" with a handmade wardrobe.  Why bother spending hours knitting your own socks when it takes so looooong and they are so cheap and easy to buy?  
Well, I don't know.... but I do take good care of my socks now
(my tutorial on darning is here)

25 comments:

  1. When I was just a young lass this was one of my jobs - darning socks ! They weren`t home made socks either . But I have ( not so fond ) memories of being handed over the pile of socks to darn - I am pretty sure this is a lost art form.

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  4. My grandma used to darn the holes in my dads shop bought socks, I remember giving it a go as a kid and I made a right mess of it!

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  5. Fascinating tool! In France we had darning eggs. I've actually substituted hard-boiled eggs when caught short, they work just fine, with nutritional side benefits :-).

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  6. I darn our wool socks too (but I can't knit them).... we have to pay £12 per pair of decent wool "socks for hiking boots" so I take care of them too!

    clothesandsewing.blogspot.com

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  7. I'm dead impressed! I don't know how to knit a sock or darn it. I wish I did. My daughter's welly-boot socks have a huge hole in the heel. They are her favourites. I don't know where to start.

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  8. I admire your approach. Sadly I can't knit but I do darn. My 20 century dilemma is what to do with pantyhose.

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  9. I think the "why bother?" with a handmade wardrobe is a difficult question to answer. I am aware that most people work more than I do and so have less time to spend creating a wardrobe, or cooking dinner, or gardening, or listening to childrens' homework....but sometimes I find myself wondering....when I am up on a Friday night sewing..just what IS everybody else doing at the moment?

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  10. I have fewer items of clothing than any of my friends and I wonder what they do with all they have. I have more than enough, so I don't understand what you do with the excess. My mom has a large walk in closet but tends to wear the same 5 items anyway - lol

    Valuing what you have whether its sock's, clothes, friends or family is a very good thing. I suspect that your care and consideration carry's over to your personal relationships as well:)

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  11. I will definitely be darning my hand knit socks..thank you for the tutorial!

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  12. I think think there is an element of selflessness in darning, sewing, as Katherine above says cooking, listening to children's homework etc. There is thought for what you are doing and consuming and spending and how it affects the planet and what we teach/show those around us. I am happy to let me son see me fixing things and also letting him know that by the time we got into the car to the shops I have fixed up what we had. It's a choice I'm proud to make. Having said all that... I can't knit but admire those who can but especially those who knit socks! All those angles etc.

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  13. :-) I tend/have to darn even shop bought socks - otherwise I'd go broke in a hurry with my husbands 'patience shown in his upper body resulting in 'proper workout' (to keep himself calm ?) down in his socks.
    And I think, I'd rather do this job, instead of having 'to kill him' every now and then! ;-) :-D

    Love, Gerlinde

    (You've got WATER over there - how does this feel since you had a rather dry summer and even autumn?!)
    And yes, I was pushed by the experience of having to wear darned socks done by my Grandma 'lasso-style' which were rather awkward to walk on. Since Mum was way better with the job, she secretly taught me by provocation of comparison with the 'lasso-style'.
    And yes, I haven't even given up the hope to get closer to becoming a millionaire once with this job!
    ;-) :-D

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  14. I like this post! I too mend (darn) sock and even my pantyhose and tights. I never seen a darning mushroom but then I don't know the fine art of knitting. I use a recycled light bulb for my sock/pantyhose/tights mending.

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  15. Well put! I am a sock knitter and darner, too. I definitely care more about my hand made items and take better care of them than a cheap store-bought item. Even washing them in a slow fashion - they are my babies, in a way.

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  16. Wonderful! I used to darn my hand made socks, also. I love your mushroom darning tool!

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  17. I LOVE your darning mushroom! I have yet to darn any socks, but I have yet to knit myself any. I will though and I'm pretty sure I'll repair them afterward. Knowing how many hours went into something is great motivation for making it last longer. :)

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  18. A lovely post Carolyn. I have the same darning mushroom (inherited it). This post, actually makes me want to knit my own socks. I am pretty sure they are harder than the scarves that so far are the only things I have knitted, and they wouldn't hold up to close scrutiny. I am not sure if I am pleased with you or not. 8-D We will see.

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  19. I put a lot of thought and care into my wardrobe. I buy the best fabric I can afford. I will wash and dry it before I sew with it, but after that I will either hand wash the garment or wash it and hang it to dry. The amount of work I put in making a garment makes me look at RTW with a very careful eye. A lot of times the seams aren't up to snuff or the quality of the fabric doesn't justify the price. Other sewists can usually tell when you have made your own garment. Now when I'm asked "did you make that?" I can proudly say, yes!

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  20. Any rtw garments I buy are usually quickly followed by guilt. Not because I could have made it, although that is true, but because they are usually things that are bought for instant gratification and sewing is not about instant gratification. I never feel guilty about the things I have made, rather a sense of pride to have made something of better quality than the same price rtw.

    When I am sorting the mountains of socks my three kids put through the laundry, I often wonder why I don't darn because socks only last my kids a few months but I think they would be horrified more so than the fact I make pairs out of the odd good socks until they are worn out. My sons teacher is always complaining about his odd socks. If she wants him to wear matching ones, she can replace them!

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  21. Thanks! I now think I know what the black wooden egg on a stick is that I found in my great-grandmother's sewing cabinet! I'll have to try it out sometime and try your darning tutorial. I'll never have time for an all homemade wardrobe that includes socks and underwear (until maybe when my kids are grown and I'm retired!) but darning would be useful even for rtw socks - I wore out one recent pair in just 3 weeks this winter! ugh!

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  22. Even though I don't sew, I've found that being on the 6 Item challenge has made me intensely aware of the care & laundering of my clothing.

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  23. I spent my teens darning my Father's socks, hated it then but would do it on my handknitted socks today

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  24. I feel the same as you about my own handmade socks. I knit them because I enjoy the making of them...choosing the yarn and especially which stitch pattern to use, if I'm in the mood for a lacy sock, that is. I'm happy with plain, too.

    I noticed recently that I had snagged the instep on a sock I'm particularly in love with, and though there is now a huge hole in it, I just can't toss it away.

    Thanks for the darning lesson. I will darn my huge hole and, even though it won't be in the same stitch as the rest of the sock, it won't matter. It will add to the charm!

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  25. I can't knit but I do darn my socks. I like a bright colour darn - the socks feel more like my own then.

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