Monday, February 2, 2009


Not the most exciting thing in the world, mending, and I've been putting it off for a few weeks, to be honest. Taking something that's broken and fixing it - not as fun and creative as making something shiny and new. But it needs to be done all the same.

I think we waste too much in our culture anyway. We've become so consumer driven that we throw things out as soon as something breaks, even if we could fix it. My briefcase, for instance. If I still had a 9-5 job, I'd have thrown it out and bought a new one by now. I don't have a 9-5 job anymore, and I need to save my leftover money for things I really value.

The fake-leather covering on the handles had started coming off, exposing the mesh padding underneath. This more than anything made it look torn and shabby, and of course the mesh would start to go soon as well. So I rigged this up. I don't really crochet, but a basic chain-stitch is a useful thing to know. I had some leftover black wool lying around, so I crocheted it around the handles of my briefcase - a lot like you might do to a clothes hanger, or a provisional cast-on in knitting. It's not exactly chic, but it's functional, innocuous and not falling apart.

Our culture has become so consumerist that things aren't made to last - I don't think the makers of my briefcase expected me to keep it this long. I'm not sure I did, when I bought it. Shoes aren't meant to be worn more than 6 months. You're supposed to keep throwing things out and buying new things. I kind of resent that. Even if I had money to throw around, I'd like to have the option of buying something nice, well-made, lasting, of not buying trash, if I'm going to buy anything. And that's aside from the environmental implications of a culture based on producing and throwing away trash at the quickest affordable rate.

I guess you get what you pay for. I also sewed 3 buttons onto my winter coat this weekend. My coat has five buttons going up the front, three of which have come flying off since I bought it in November. I'll probably have to replace the bottom two before next winter, but for now, it fastens fine. I had a really hard time finding a coat this winter (having just moved to Wisconsin from Texas), and I finally found one at the mall for much cheaper than I'd expected. I got what I paid for, though. A nice, wool coat that's warm and fits me with buttons that fling themselves from the fabric when you look at them funny. I'm actually still quite satisfied with my purchase, all things considered.

Then there are the things you make yourself. I made myself a neck-warmer last year based on John Brinegar's "Fourteen" (pictured at top because it's the prettiest). I think the yarn stretched out somewhat with use, but I also think that the length the pattern calls for, while perfect for a man's neck, is a bit much for my skinny little girl-neck. It was loose enough to let the wind in easier than I preferred. Discarding it was, of course, not an option not only because I went to the trouble of making it but because I love it and the hat and leg-warmers that now go with it! So this weekend, I finally fixed it - frogged back until it felt tight around my neck, then re-knit the button-hole rows. Fits like a charm now. I'm currently knitting a scarf on the needles I needed for this mending, so I just shoved the scarf down to the bottom of the needles while I fixed the neck-warmer. It wound up looking like flags or banners while I worked. I dig it.

1 comment:

  1. The black handle repair is really awesome! It looks wonderful, and it beats the hell out of duct tape.