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.
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.
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!
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.