Make Do and Mend, part 1

When I was little I loved watching old news reel footage on the TV (they were edited into programs, often with a theme), especially the ones from the early forties which were sometimes about how to care for one’s things and clothes in order for them to last longer. This was of course during World War II, and even though Sweden wasn’t actually in the war, rationing was severe and buying new things was often not possible.

My interest in how to get by in times of austerity has increased over the years. Most people in the western world live in relative luxuary today, and we do not need to be moderate in our consumer habits, but at the same time most of us are aware of that this is not a sustainable way of life.

Sustainability and quality is someting we all need to consider and how we can contribute to a more sustainable world.

One way is of course by consuming less. Taking care of one’s things and clothes in order for them to last longer. Mending what can be mended. Questioning whether you actually need that thing that you want.

I try to think about these things and I want to contribute to a more sustainable society to the best of my ability. It’s not easy, of course. One way is by mending what you already have.

I have a pair of woolen gloves I knitted in 2007. I have mended these several times before, but last week they neeeded some TLC again.

Stitches worn thin

I reinforced the stitches:

mending 2
Mended finger

I reinforced some other stitches that weren’t as badly off to prevent them from getting worse.

mending 1
Preventing new holes

They looked much worse a few years ago:

Almost worn out

The tips of the fingers were so badly worn, I simply cut them off:

unravelled yarn
Unravelled yarn and cut off fingertips

And then knit new ones:

new finger on mitten
Knitting new fingertips


mended mitten and cat
Almost brand new!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on making do and mending. Do you mend your knits? If not, why?

Brenda, who produces my favourite knitting pod cast, Cast On, dedicated a whole series to the Make Do and Mend concept back in 2009. I recommend that you check out her audio archive and download series 8 if you haven’t listened to it already.

Happy knitting!


8 thoughts on “Make Do and Mend, part 1

  1. Jag gillar lagade plagg. Hemstickat är så värt att laga men det där att klippa bort och sticka nytt har jag aldrig testat. Snyggt blev det! Färgen på vantarna är fantastisk.

  2. I’m impressed. I’ve given away hand knits to family over the years. From time to time I hear that something ripped and got tossed. I tell them to give them to me so I can fix them but they’re too far away. You did a nice job. Like new!

  3. I have cut off and re-knit parts of socks and I would do that if I had some ‘special’ socks or mittens. I have a significant stash of leftover scraps that I plan to turn into a blanket,- so matching up and hiding the repair works while I have matchy yarn. It will be a trickier affair once I use up the scraps for other things though. Especially when something happens to the special things made of luxury or handdyed yarn.

    One thing I cannot do is darn socks. I could do the ‘follow the stitch and reinforce with a thread thing to prevent further damage, but once there is a hole, I cannot make it pretty unless I cut off and re-knit. All the times I’ve tried to darn/sew/repair, I end up with something that is more bumpy than the fabric around it, and it doesn’t feel good on the foot. I’m stuck with reknitting.

    1. I haven’t tried darning socks yet. I really want to give it a go, but I’ll probably end up with some “bumps” too. I remember wearing darned socks when I was little and how uncomfortable it could be 😉 I still want to try it, though.

  4. Hello. I found this blog post via the Foyle’s War forum on Ravelry. Congratulations on repairing the gloves. They’re very pretty.

    I can’t darn either and I’ve never learned the technique to over-sew knitted stitches to mimic the knitting (blind darning? Can’t remember what it’s called – brain has gone blank). However, last year, I worked out a way to over-knit patches on the soles of my husband’s socks (details and photos here: ). Hope this helps.

    – Pam

  5. Jag har börjat laga gamla grejor jag med. Sambons halvvantar har jag nog varit på vid tre eller fyra tillfällen (de senaste fyra åren, han använder dem jämt) och morfars gamla ulltröja fick sig en lappning för inte så länge sedan. Och så stoppar jag ju strumporna när det behövs. Har en gammal bok (tidigt 1900-tal) med detaljerade beskrivningar på hur man lagar en rad olika hål på olika plagg. Gillar den starkt! Länge leve lagandet!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s