Yes, yes the cardigan is back.  Remember it, the one I’ve been stitching on for, um, two years now on and off (scroll down)?  Yeah, it’s back.

The fact that this gets so many holes is proof either that I’m too rough on my clothes, that it was too delicate to begin with, or that I wear it all the time and therefore just beat up on it a lot.  Possibly all three.  But at this point, I’m not sad to see the holes, so I don’t really see a problem.

More “avoiding shopping” than “mending”

So have I mentioned that I really really really hate shopping?  And how I hate clothes shopping most of all?  I work for myself, from home, in the middle of nowhere, and yes I work in my pajamas like 98% of the time.  And by pajamas, I mostly mean ‘things that were once proper clothes but got worn enough that I can’t bring myself to wear them in public anymore, but also can’t throw away because they’re soft and cozy.  And because even that is not enough shopping avoidance, I actually will mend them when they start to come apart.

This is a cotton sweater I got at TJ Maxx probably seven years ago.  I wore it as real clothes as long as I could bring myself to, but like all cotton sweaters, it eventually got too fuzzy to show its face in public.  So it became a pj sweater (it’s Maine, of course I have pj sweaters) and it’s been happily in the rotation for quite some time.  But alas, the hem got torn.  No idea how it happened, but the tear was growing, and I wanted to stop it before it got any worse.

Now you know my philosphy on mending is “it’s going to show anyway, so why not flaunt it.”  So I reached right past all the purple yarn in my stash and went for a nice pond scummy green.

Five minutes of (shockingly wobbly) stitching later, and it’s stabilized.  Not invisible. Not hugely tidy. Not at all subtle.  But stabilized, and cheerful and ready to be worn a zillion more times.  All so I can avoid shopping just a little while longer.

Alright, let’s fix them

Back in early August, The Boy got a pair of the spiffy Allbirds shoes (the ones made of wool!) to wear as slippers.  He likes them and has worn them around the house for the last few months.  However, come the end of December, it became clear there was a problem.  The lining of the shoes had worn through over his big toes, and the outer layer of fabric was starting to get thin.  If we didn’t do something, there would soon be a hole.

We didn’t really want to buy new ones (especially if they only last 5 months…), and they were in otherwise good shape, so I thought I’d see if I could fix them.

Needle felting seemed like the best bet.  I had the wool on hand (I also had some less colorful wool in the stash, but The Boy liked these…please don’t write to me and tell me I’m a monster for putting something colorful on a guy’s shoes — it will annoy me, and it won’t change the shoes).  I bought a felting needle and some foam and started experimenting.

I started by cutting the foam down to fit in the shoe so I’d have a firm backing behind the fabric to stab into.  Then I pulled off a tuft of the yellow wool, set it over the thin spot, and started stabbing.

It stuck just fine (which makes sense…wool sticks to wool).  I kept building up the yellow, making it thickest where the hole was, and then added on some orange, again making it thickest where the existing fabric had worn thin.  A little bit of purple finished it out.

When I pulled out the foam and put my hand in, I could totally feel where the wool and poked through and reinforced the whole area.  I suspect it will continue to felt down and tighten up as they’re worn over the next few weeks.  I’ll report back later in the year and let you know how its holding up.

I think this will solve the problem.  The worn spot is much thicker and sturdier now, and it seems like the patch will hold.  I won’t know for sure until they get some more wear on them, and I’m a little bugged that the shoes needed a repair after less than six months, but with any luck, this should make them last a lot longer!

UPDATE: Alas, the patch totally didn’t hold, at least not for long.  There just isn’t enough room in those shoes for those toes, and it keeps wearing through.  If Allbirds changes their shape, maybe they’d work.  But until then, they’re not a good fit for these feet.

Just a little bit more

And here’s the third patch for this go round.

This one was another hole at the edge of the pocket (and a good reminder that if I ever knit a sweater, I should maybe do something to reinforce the corners of the pockets from the get go).

And that’s probably the end.  Probably.  I need to give the whole thing one more check to see if there are any other spots that need attention before it goes back in the closet!

More Mending

So remember that sweater? The one that I spent far too much time mending already (scroll down…you’ll see it)?  Yeah…yeah so it’s due for another round.  It’s got a few holes (I wear it all the time, I climb on rocks and through prickly things more than I should, and I have kittens…holes are a given).  I’ve  got some thread, and I clearly have an excess of free time.

I should probably just find another pajama sweater…I’ve had this one since at least 2014 and I’ve worn it more than just about anything else in my closet.

But I love this one (all the more now that I’ve stitched the ever living crap out of it)…and I hate shopping.  And to buy a replacement is sort of expensive (for you see, I’d want this one…because it has pockets and comes in a zillion colors and sizes).

So I mend it.  Kind of a lot.  And I’ve decided that really is ok.  And I’ve been super pleased with how well the stitching has held up in the wash (that bottom patch there is 9 months old and still looks just fine after lots of washes).

I am in no way an expert (clearly), but I’d call myself a cheerful amateur. I’m currently eyeing this book and this book (to improve my skills…since if I’m going to keep doing this I might as well learn something).  And I’ve recommended this one and this one in the past if you want somewhere to get started.

And in the meantime, I’ll be over here starting in on holes two and three and four!