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.
Bev Brown says...
Just wanted you to know your books have kept me going throughout this awful year. Im not sure how many times ive read and re-read them. I have every single one. The only trouble is whenever I finish one, I feel ive lost a friend.
I hope there are many more to come.
Keep safe. xx
February 15, 2021
Gillian MacKay says...
Happy New Year!
Great minds think alike! I’ve taken up a new hobby too – jewellery making and I love it. It’s a great distraction and very relaxing.
I have a couple of tips for you. With your cashmere, pop it in a ziplock bag with a cedarwood ball. This keeps it moth free. My second tip is Gemporia (channel 44) https://www.gemporia.com/en-gb/jewellery/?q=Cashmere-
It’s primarily a jewellery channel but they also sell beautiful cashmere at really reasonable prices – wraps; gloves, scarfs etc. It’s definitely worth a look.
Good luck with your new hobby 🤞
January 19, 2021
People laugh when I say I’m going to darn something – why bother!
It’s so relaxing and the feeling of keeping something old and loved (even old socks) is very gratifying-I miss placed my darning mushroom whilst moving, but found one in an antiques shop last year, my granddaughters laughed but were curious.
Well done Katie keep it up you’ll only get better 🙂
Can’t wait for next book
Wild designs is my go to book when I am feeling low. It is always a bit of inspiration and comfort. Stay strong.
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