Spurred on by the darning masterclass with Tom of Holland, last weeks rummage for darning mushrooms came up trumps and it would seem I have acquired more than I thought I had.
First out of the box was this well-loved wooden mushroom which is so worn down you have to work your way around all the grooves in the wood.
And this beauty is one of my favourites:
It has a metal clip for holding your sock in place, although Tom advised against using the clip as they tend to pull the fabric a little too tight.
I have a couple of tortoiseshell effect bakelite mushroms which are the most beautiful colours.
And one of them has a hollow handle that screws off for storing your darning needles in…
But I think this green one is my favourite and it has been put to use over the past week:
Sadly I can’t find the one from my Great-Grandma. It’s around here somewhere but doesn’t want to be found at the moment. However, in the same box as the mushrooms were my vintage yarn holders. I love the colour of this pink one in the shape of a Patons Beehive holder but by a different company.
There’s a hole at the top to thread your yarn through…
And a handy needle gauge in the bottom.
I also have this beautiful red cannonball shaped holder.
As for the darning, well I was truly inspired after last weeks class and have mended one pair of socks. In fact I mended them twice, but the first time I darned them on the right side of the fabric rather than the wrong side! It’s all good practice!
I have also just started swiss darning a second pair where the yarn is thinning but not quite worn through all the way.
These will become my ‘arty’ socks I think, which no doubt will translate as ‘technicolour’ by the time I’ve finished with them!
Do you have any vintage knitting ephemera around the house? I’d love to hear about it if so.
I was rummging through a couple of storage boxes last night in search of a darning mushroom (as you do), and found my old Filofax. Tucked in the back pocket is one of my favourite letters sent to me from Grandma in 1996 whilst I was studying at Central Saint Martins.
We corresponded on a weekly basis and I loved receiving letters from her and Grandad. They are written just as they would talk, and relayed details about daily comings and goings and any news they felt I should know about. This one is a perfect example and contains a newspaper clipping about an old school friend. Grandad was a sign writer for a number of years and studied calligraphy, so he was always tasked with writing the envelope even if he had not written the letter.
In full as written:
Monday 23rd Nov
I have enclosed a picture of Dawn, it was in this week’s Selby Star. your Mum said she was going to send you a copy. but as you know she doesn’t have a lot of spare time, so I thought I would send one, if she doe’s send one
you don’t tell her you already have one.
Joanne is excited about the prospect of going to America in January.
We stayed overnight at Davids on Saturday and during Sunday morning we said we would get ready for home. David said stay and have lunch first, but I said no we will get off, because they were going to the afternoon performance of Disney on Ice. at Sheffield Arena, and I didn’t want to delay them, any way it was just starting to drizzle when we left, but about half hour after we were home, David phoned to say they hadn’t been able to get to the show, because the slight fine rain had turned into heavy snow. and they were unable to get out of Matlock. apparenly Matlock had been cut off. owing to the heavy snow, and drifting snow.
making Blocking the rowads, so it was a good thing we left, when we did.
Well Cheerio For Now.
See you soon
Lots of Love
Grandma + Grandad. xx
I popped down to Brighton yesterday for the Unwind festival and to attend a Darning Masterclass by Tom of Holland who specialises in darning techniques, and has developed what he describes as a ‘visible mending programme’ celebrating the beauty of darned fabric.
Tom is an inspiration…
…and his work is both fascinating and breathtaking.
He is one of those amazing people you meet in life who is so focussed on what they do that their enthusiasm for the job in hand infectiously rubs off on you. The darning techniques themselves, whilst a little frustrating at times, are very meditative to work on and and you soon find yourself drifting away as the needle and yarn work their mending magic.
We started with Swiss Darning which is a technique I know about but have never actually tried. This is useful for mending thinning patches of fabric before the hole acually appears and the pattern possibilities are endless.
You can see how Tom has used Swiss Darning to mend the sole of a sock and has reflected the colourwork pattern from the leg into the visible mendng patch:
Next up is the Stocking Darn. This is the most widely used method for mending holes in all types of garments and the one you need that darning mushroom found in Granny’s mending tin for.
The great thing about taking classes is that you pick up lots of tips from the tutor along the way along with reassurance that what you are doing is correct and whilst a little uneven and slightly too loose, I am reassured that my first ever darned patch is looking good!
Finally Tom showed us Scotch Darning which he has combined with a similar Finnish Darning technique. I think I may need to practice this one a little more as I have holes in my darning!
I leave the class with my lumpy bumpy sampler and feeling very inspired about where my darning journey could take me. Thank you Tom for such a great morning.
You can read more about Tom’s work and projects over on his blog where he also keeps a list of forthcoming class dates. If you get the opportunity to take his class I highly recommend you do.
Now back to my pile of holey socks!
I seem to have more than my fair share of interesting and eclectic books, and know how you all enjoy the occasional rummage through my bookshelves, so thought I’d share my latest acquisition with you.
The Diamond Dictionary was found in a box of ‘things’ at my Dads and I’m completely in love with it. Described as a ‘Dictionary of the English Language’, its 640 pages contain a dictionary, almanac and a small amount of of Debrett’s etiquette which is a lot to fit into a 7 x 10 cm volume.
An inscription inside reads, ‘W.A.A.F 2130636, I. Atkinson’ who was my Great Aunt Renee, a member of the Womens’ Auxiliary Air Force during World War II.
The edges are worn and tattered.
At some point it has been stained with ink; maybe in the bottom of a bag or drawer?
There are a smattering of line drawings showing important things such as various designs of Dirigibles (airships), points of a horse, knots and ‘the evolution of the bicycle’:
Random dog breeds appear opposite the definition of ‘dominion’:
In amongst the tables of weights and measures, a ‘foreign time table’ and punctuation symbols, you will find information on ‘moneys of the world’:
A list of ‘stamp duties and taxes (correct when going to press)’, however I’m not sure when this little book was published:
And in case you are unsure how to address a Baron…
Isn’t it wonderful! I could probably get good odds on betting that you have something similar on your bookshelf? I’d love to hear about it if you do.
I promise there will be knitting activity next week as I’m heading to the Unwind festival in Brighton on Sunday. Hope to see some of you there and do say hello if you spot me!