My Christmas cards were all full of positive hopes for the New Year and now it seems the proper New Year, the one when we start with optimism and excitement, won’t happen until Easter, or even after that.
It’s not what any of us wanted and it’s hard to keep cheerful. My strategy this time round is getting a new hobby. This time I’m going to be darning. Doesn’t sound much fun, does it? But it’s a challenge, rather like training for a marathon is a challenge. (In other words, why would anyone want to do that? – at least darning involves sitting down and possibly television or The Archers.)
I partly chose darning because I have a large bag full of odds and ends of wool. My sister had been the guardian of this for the many, many years since my mother has no longer been with us and she passed it on to me. There are all colours there, but strangely not one of the colours is even remotely like any of the many garments that need darning. (We had/have a persistent moth problem and moths only like very expensive items. I’m only darning cashmere.)
When I had given up trying to find a bog standard dark green in the bag of wool, I discussed with myself whether I should abandon the garments (no, too many, too expensive, and I’d be cold) or carry on wearing them with holes. After much thought I decided a darn at least looked as if I cared (although I’m not sure you’d spot a moth hole on a Zoom call) and so found a darning needle (a little miracle in itself) and set to.
The result wasn’t great, to be honest, but surprisingly, I quite enjoyed doing it. I probably will end up turning the darns into some sort of decorative pattern and then try to make it look as if its perfectly normal to have a daisy in your arm pit. But the process of manipulating the needle in and out through the threads I had put there made me feel calmer and oddly satisfied.
Then I remembered that many years ago, before I started writing, I used to enjoy cushion kits. I did a few and then got fed up and stopped. For years I kept a half completed kit until eventually I accepted defeat and gave it to a charity shop. This time I thought, I’ll go online, find something nice and buy it for myself.
Readers, it would have been cheaper to replace a couple of moth-holed cardigans, or at least get them professionally repaired. But it wouldn’t be as fun, I told myself. It wouldn’t keep my hands busy while I watch re runs of Escape to the Country. And given that I can afford to buy cashmere cardigans (albeit in the sale) I can probably afford a kit to make a cushion cover.
This is so out of character for me it’s almost worrying. But I hope it will be fun and I hope it will stop be worrying about the Covid situation. After all, there are now three vaccines and as the poet said, ‘If Winter’s here, an Spring be far behind?’ (Percy Bysshe Shelley.)
Let’s hope the Winter that is Covid will also become Spring fairly soon. And if it doesn’t, I’ll have to buy another kit for my needlework when I’ve finished this one. Either that, or get good at darning.
Your books have always kept me going through stormy times when my husband was in hospital and in recent months, they are my friends. Looking forward to the next one. Best wishes Christine
January 10, 2021
Renae Johnson says...
Have you seen Escape to the Chateaux, where an English couple with 2 small children, buy a derelict French Chateau and completely redo it ( install electricity, heating, hot water, plumbing, etc.). The wife, A gel is so creative. The children are adorable. And the husband, Dick, is so enthusiastic in trying to make his wife’s creative vision come to life. And they are running a wedding and food lover’s weekends, while renovating. I think it is on your Channel 4. Not sure. They have website. I know you will love it, if you are not already watching. Hope for a Better New Year for All! It’s got to be a step up from Last Year. Be Well!
Mary Craske says...
Having read the article on darning has reminded me that I have an especially nice big warm cardigan that has been discarded to the bottom of the laundry bag, waiting to either have a patch put on or sent to charity. We are now at home without visitors and as you say people on zoom cannot see the darn especially on the elbow. I think later today I will get out this cardigan and darn it whilst watching a film and hopefully I can have my lovely cardigan back again. Maybe will try a flower shape,
Sheila Kelly says...
Katie, you need a darning mushroom to darn neatly, trying to do a decent darn without one is impossible. I still have mine from when I first married [many years ago] but cannot remember seeing them recently. These days no-one darns socks etc. they just throw them away. I fear you will need to invest in new cashmere and keep them safe from the moths either with moth balls [horrible smell], or clothes bags.
Margaret Webb says...
I know what you mean by keeping your fingers busy, darning, well I am sure you could turn it into a design, it looks a little like the dancing horse on the Kent county shield. Myself I knitted a blanked for Christmas for the Suns appeal for Bliss and have decided 5hat I will make another with all the wool I have collected over the years, keeps the mind occupied whil3 watching tv. I am looking forward to your new book. I have just finished The Watchman’s Daughter by Alexandra Connor, now I have to find another out of my Christmas box. Take care and keep safe. Margaret 😊