Emendation

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:

image

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:

image

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.

 

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4 comments

  1. I share your love of words so it’s such fun to read this and watch you play with meanings! AND that is a perfect and very creative solution to the glove problem! I’m so impressed!

  2. I loved this post on the etymology of mend and related musings… I can’t wait for your musings on text and textile. I always love how “yarn” encapsulates materiality and storytelling too.

    Oh, and a neat improvement to your gloves too! By the way, I love how you describe these gloves. I instantly thought of my own lined leather gloves, but also of Marmee’s well worn treasured gloves in Little Women… I’d not for one minute suggest going back to the hardships of that era but the celebration of and respect for things that existed in times of restraint and scarcity, that is something to emulate.

  3. I was so inspired by this! I have a pair of hand me down pajama pants that are too long. You know how walking on the hem makes it work and dirty in back. Plus I wear them out to the coop in the morning sometimes, and I have to try to roll them up but they are slippery knit and try to fall down. I don’t want the hem dragging in hay and chicken leavings! So after I read this, I finally hemmed them and then I embroidered a feather stitch around the bottom in a pretty contrasting green! I smile every time I look down and see it!

    I also had to mend a small tear in my linen shift because it got caught on a thorn of my pink Fairy rose as I got the chickens some water from the rain barrel. Now the sleeve has a big hole under the arm. (It is about fifteen years old, maybe more.) I have removed the sleeves and a friend is going to help me decide whether to make 3/4 sleeves out of them or just add a gusset or gore under the arm and finish the armholes. I am excited about it!

    Thank you for all the inspiration. I have always mended and darned our things, but I never “celebrated” the mends like this!

  4. I’m so glad! I bet your pajama bottoms look lovely with that feather stitch! Let me know what you wind up doing with your linen shift! Yes, mending has gone out of fashion over the last few decades. Let’s bring it back — with added style!

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