Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Colour Collaborative: July: Mend





It took me a while to decide on my post for this month's Colour Collaborative. At first I looked at the ever-present selection of Joe's broken toys (we even bought a 'My Grandad Can Fix Owt' mug for said grandad's 65th birthday). They're certainly colourful: his red Mini with a Union Jack roof is currently missing its front wheels. The blue one's lost its headlights. The scarlet 'Jinty' steam engine is frequently out of service.


But they're more 'fix' than 'mend'. To me, 'mending' is syonymous with my mum's sewing basket. She'd always have a pile of mending on the go when I was little. I do too. No, I don't darn socks (and I wouldn't know how). But there's usually a holey jumper to be dealt with or a button to be replaced, a tear to be repaired. 


I won't start about the whole 'throwaway society' thing we're a part of these days. Replacing rather than repairing, buying cheap then discarding things and buying the exact same thing again. We all know about that. I try my best to avoid it where possible. But there's definitely something about a mending basket which harks back to more innocent times. 'Nurse' in all those Enid Blyton books was often so absorbed with her mending that she failed to notice toys coming to life and running riot in the nursery.

And 'mending' evokes images of women sitting by the wireless, a mug of Ovaltine close to hand, darning away and listening to the World Service. 



So where does colour come into all this? That's an interesting one. I'm a bit of a magpie and do love to pick up old buttons and sewing paraphernalia. It's usually the packaging which is colourful; the products themselves tend to be sensible and serviceable - like the garments they were used to repair. Bottle green, navy blue, grey, black, brown. You can just imagine those socks and mufflers and schoolboy sweaters requiring mending.



These days, it's perfectly acceptable - desirable, even - to insert contrasting zips and to patch with brightly-hued fabrics. To use conspicuously-coloured buttons as replacements. 


To be honest, I prefer the subtle approach. My sewing skills are acceptable but certainly not great, and I'd rather try to disguise my attempts at mending than draw attention to them. Even though I allowed myself to be talked into buying a bright red zip for a dark denim dress I want to make... Needless to say, the fabric and zip are still (two years later) in my Projects Yet To Start pile.


Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below.


What is The Colour Collaborative?

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.










15 comments:

  1. I love all of those vintage mending supplies too! I try and resist them though as I would have another collection of things before I knew it otherwise. Granddad sounds as though he is a very useful fellow for Joe to have in his life for his mending needs! xx

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  2. I loved this post Sarah. I've mended two items this week both belonging to boys who prefer unobtrusive mending, and I have a hole in a grey sock that I will darn with grey darning wool.

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  3. I mend clothing often but almost never socks. The ones we buy are just so cheap that it isn't worth it, and they never tear anywhere near a seam, it's always across an area where the mending stitches would rub and cause a blister. I wish I did have more chances to mend them, though. But shirts, sweaters, even underwear, it seems I'm always sewing up a hole.

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  4. Mending is certainly better than throwing away. I do it too whenever necessary.

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  5. You have a fabulous collection of 'notions' in your mending box.

    I love the modern trend towards mending textiles visibly, but I also think it's important that we don't lose the invisible mending skillls that were once valued so highly. A while back I think the last invisible mender's in Paris closed, for a city that's all about clothes that's a huge deal.

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  6. I remember my mum having the same kind of sewing/mending basket and how little she enjoyed the task of going through it. My "proper" mending (as opposed to my "ooh, lets paint this chest of drawers!" type of mending) hangs over my head like a chore and I whizz through it until I can get onto some sewing or crochet of my choice. Maybe I should savour it more. Trouble is, I'm usually mending something polyester in an attractive school uniform shade or purple of grey. I'm sure if it was organic cotton, wool or linen, and in a beautiful colour or fabric, I'd be far more excited.

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  7. You have similar mending memories to me I think! There was always a mending basket in the house, and it always had plenty in it. I've got a jar of old buttons as well, and like you I favour the subtle approach to sewing. The old needlecraft book looks beautiful, I bet it's full of treasures. CJ xx

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  8. what I wonder is 'graduated leg'?
    Sounds painful.

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  9. I love your old buttons. I remember sorting through my mum's button box when I was little :)

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  10. I too have always had the urge to make mending invisible rather than visible but you know, I think I've started to change my mind. Annie's beautiful post about the Japanese pots and the idea of contrasting zips and buttons I find all rather appealing!

    S x

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  11. Such a lovely post full of gentle colour.

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  12. A book I read recently featured rather a lot of mending of the very skilful kind. The only sewing my mother did (she didn't knit, either) was darning which was okay as long as what needed mending was green.

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  13. Great blog, it brought back memories of both my Grannies who sewed and mended. The wee metal pin tin was a constant in their sewing baskets and I haven't seen one like it for years until your photo. It instantly brought back the memory of the sound and feel and we prised the tin open and the metal grated against itself.

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  14. Mending goes well with Ovaltine. I used to life next to the small town were Ovaltine was produced (it is called Ovomaltine in Switzerland). Double fond memories, thank you. My mending memories are mainly patches for trousers. We used to have so many cool patches on our trousers. I use back pockets of trousers too damaged to fix. There is one back pockets that has been used for three pairs of trousers already. xx

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  15. My mother in law used to do truly invisible mending which had me in awe. I try to like mending. Philosophically I approve of it but I can't manage to like it, to find it exciting or engaging in the way I feel about making something, knitted or sewn, from scratch. It always seems to involve boring clothes being mended in boring colours. I must try harder to find the satisfaction and maybe even romance in it!

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