Month: February 2016

Another Sort of Emendation

My Favorite Sweater That I Live In was getting … droopy around the neckline. The neck is a knitted yoke, and the pattern did not have any instructions on picking up and knitting a neckline or using a provisional cast on and knitting a neckline, etc. Sometimes it would droop so much that I was feeling like a reject from Flashdance!


(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

I knew I had to do something. I was going to weave a ribbon through the neck, but that would mean I’d have to tie it every time I put in on, which seemed too fussy for something I take off and put on so much. I was playing around with picking up and knitting a neck, but then I remembered how supportive crochet can be to a knitted garment. I got out a crochet hook a little smaller than I thought it should be and a beautifully simple three rows of slip stitch around the neck provided the solution I was looking for:


See how happy I am with this little footnote to my sweater?!

I am so glad my sweater no longer makes me feel I must sing “What a feeling!” as I walk down the street. The crochet is exactly the firmness this neckline needed, and looks inconspicuous yet nice to boot!

I can’t imagine this is the end of the story for this sweater, either. I was just thinking as I was walking to work how lovely a little embroidery around the cuffs and bottom would be. It is also so perfect a shape and fit for me, I want to make additional editions! Pine green? Pewter? Burgundy?


The Hole Story

The other day, I went to put my trusty black lacy half socks on to my sock blockers to air dry, and I noticed a huge hole in one of the socks! I gasped, because I usually make a point of reinforcing weak spots on my socks before an actual hole appears. You guys, I’m slipping.


I took a look at the other sock, and sure enough, weak spots were evident:


Time to get mending!

I usually choose a color different from my sock because I love a visible mend, but I wanted to see if I was capable of a less noticeable mend, especially with the challenge of a big gaping hole! I got out my black sock yarn and went to work.



Between the black and the mend, you can’t tell what a sorry state they were in. Notice my helper Woody 🙂

Three lessons from this story:

  1. I need to get serious about my Focused Effort concerning making 4 pairs of socks by the end of the year.
  2. At least one of those pairs need to be these little half socks since I clearly enjoy wearing them.
  3. I need to start checking all of my socks for weak spots. I usually have a big sock mending fest around spring break, and it’s almost here.

You know I can’t write “The End” to this story because there are sure to be more socks in need of mending! As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. I love giving things a new lease on life!

Blog Title Change!

Hi Everyone! I wanted to let you all know that I added a new title to my blog: Verum Factum. You might remember my post awhile ago on this very phrase. In short, the philosopher Vico states in his Verum Factum principle: “The criterion and rule of the true is to have made it.”  I am becoming more and more interested in writing about my life as a maker, and how making intersects with my so called life during wartime — the war being not only what feels like the war against the Earth, but the war against the Imagination.

Not much about the blog will change. I’ll still be tracking coupons and nattering on about what I make and why. Life During Wartime is still in the subtitle, and I’m still heavily influenced by and actively participating in this rationing project. But now there’s more to it, and I want the title to reflect that.

Thank you all so much for reading, commenting, and thinking with me.



Friendship Bread

Have you ever received a lump of Friendship Bread starter, the cinnamon-y sweet, sourdough chain letter of the baking world? First, you are overjoyed and happily feed the starter, make delicious loaves of bread, and give away starter to your nearest and dearest. Then you start to tire of the bread, and bring it to work and to gatherings because you can’t keep up with eating all of this sweet bread you have to eat every week! Then you start seeing it in your friends and coworker’s eyes — they are starting to hate the friendship bread. When they see you walk in with it, they groan inside. They do not want another morsel to pass their lips! You start to resent the friendship bread and the so-called friend that gave it to you. You imagine everyone you gave it to starting to hate you. You then let the friendship bread starter die a horrible moldy death in your refrigerator.

This is not that friendship bread.


This is a bread that you can bring to gatherings, stick in the middle of the table, and let people tear off hunks at will. It goes with soups, salads, starters, and stews, platters, and pastas. There will not be a bit left, and you’ll be asked to make it for the next gathering. You might even be asked for the recipe, as I was. Since I wrote it down for a friend, I thought I’d share it with all of my friends here, too.

I was inspired by the recipe in Love Soup by Anna Thomas but have tweaked it so much that I feel comfortable posting it as my own-ish (no recipe is really ever your own, you know?).

Friendship Bread

2 1/2 tsp yeast (I love SAF instant yeast)
1 c warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 c all purpose flour
1 c white whole wheat flour. King Arthur makes great flour!
3 tbsp olive oil, more for drizzling.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until they come together. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, add all ingredients to your mixer bowl and run the mixer slowly to combine. Start with 3 cups flour and 1 c water. You can always add more of one or the other based on how your dough is behaving. You want an ever so slightly sticky but very handleable dough.

Turn the dough out on your counter, sprinkle more flour on top of it only if/as you need it, and knead for 7-8 minutes. If you are using a mixer, knead with dough hook for 5-6 minutes.

When the dough is smooth and elastic, form it into a ball and put it into a large, oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise for an hour, until it has doubled in size more or less.

Punch down your dough and form it into a ball once again. Flatten it into an oval shape and roll it with a rolling pin until it’s about 12 inches long by maybe 8 or 9 inches wide. Put it in a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and snip slashes all around it, gently stretching the “arms” out and apart. Drizzle a little more olive oil on it, rub or brush it to cover. You can put sesame seeds, poppy seeds, herbs, coarse salt, olives, you name it on the top! Press in gently if you do. Cover and let rise again for about 45 minutes.

While the focaccia is near the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 425.

Bake the focaccia for 25-30 minutes in the parchment lined baking sheet, middle rack, until it is golden on top and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

Enjoy, my friends!


I love when my worlds collide. Last fall, I read Tom of Holland musing about garments as stories, and how the story isn’t finished when the object is made if you consider mending as adding to or continuing the story. I didn’t think it was an accident that the words amend and emendation, which are most often used in referring to texts, contain the word mend.

mend (v.)
c. 1200, “to repair,” from a shortened form of Old French amender (see amend). Meaning “to put right, atone for, amend (one’s life), repent” is from c. 1300; that of “to regain health” is from early 15c. Related: Mended; mending.
mend (n.)
early 14c., “recompense, reparation,” from mend (v.). Meaning “act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric” is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802.

(from the Online Etymology Dictionary)

We shall save the fact of text and textiles sharing the root texere: to weave for another day!

Anyway —

I couldn’t help but thinking about continuing the story as I completed my most recent mend on my beloved cashmere lined leather gloves. I’ve had them for years and years and have worn them every cold day. They’ve been to Chicago and Indianapolis and New York and so many other places! They are soft and cozy inside, and so, so warm.

I almost didn’t get them because I was a Loser of Gloves and was afraid I’d forget one on the train or drop one as I walked, as I did for every pair of gloves I’ve had since childhood. They were expensive and I didn’t think a Loser of Gloves should have something so nice. I had an inkling that I was ready to change, though, and took a chance. I was rewarded: these gloves cured me of being a Loser of Gloves! Their beauty and fine materials taught me to Pay Attention and Take Care. They were a symbol of when I consciously started to cultivate my wardrobe for longevity and quality.

So, you can imagine that I became upset once I noticed this:


The worst, but not the only rent in the cashmere lining. I noticed four ripped places. It’s because I pull them on and off by the edges, and the cashmere isn’t as rugged as the leather.

I wanted to make a mend that was not only strong but looked nice. I want my warm, symbolic gloves to be around looking good for more years and years! I played around with the edge, stared at various supplies — should I use sewing thread? Wool? Floss? A sock darn? A patch or ribbon? Then I sneezed and grabbed one of my handkerchiefs and the solution presented itself to me — fold the edge so it’s doubly strong and do the herringbone stitch around it (all of my handmade hankies are hemmed in herringbone stitch). Yes!

I grabbed some sock yarn — I thought black on black would be most versatile — and:


This mend ticks all the boxes for me: visible, adds to the beauty of the garment, strong. Amending and emendations are not just for text(ile)s. An alteration to correct or improve? Yes, and yes 🙂  Now my gloves can continue their story.



Over the summer, my local thrift shop was having one of their fill a bag  for $10 sales, and one of the items I filled my bag with was a sleeveless ankle-length black dress. I thought that for what ended up to be $2.50, I could be set for a future fancy dress event! Fast forward to now, and I’ve been to exactly zero fancy dress events, with no prospects of a fancy dress event in the near future.

BUT! I also saw this interesting montage of one black dress mixed and matched in a zillion ways that Meg pinned:


(saved from

…and I knew I had to shorten the dress so I could wear it for everyday occasions, paired with shirts under and over, sweaters, my knitted accessories, you name it! My dress is more of a sheath/shift dress, but will work as a blank, black canvas just the same!

I also had a dress from the same thrift shop — I loved the large plaid print and colors, but it had a very scooped neck which was a little more revealing than I like to wear to work, and was also a little short. For the past year I would cover the neckline with a sweater, wear leggings, and perform other tricks to make up for the things I didn’t like, but I finally had enough and decided it was time to make a skirt of the dress by cutting it right under the arm holes and putting in an elastic waistband.

I got out my sewing machine and:


The dress now comes to a few inches below my knees, and the skirt comes right below my knees. Ah, that’s better. I was also able to save the black crepe-y fabric from the dress for another use (but the tiny bit of plaid went in the rag pile).

I’m looking forward to wearing these remakes very soon — I’ll attempt snapping photos in action to stick on Twitter!