Carol's Tip Corner
with Carol Harrington
This tip is not about how to do it right but instead, about what to do and think when you find a mistake or have a problem with a well-loved item.
Our friend and mentor, Anita Luvera Mayer, has a favorite expression when discussing mistakes -- "Put a bead on it!" Interpreting her more broadly, look at a mistake as an opportunity to be creative (assuming it can't be easily fixed). Add some embellishment; maybe sew on some pretty buttons; embroider a simple flower; or sew on a pretty patch. The Japanese have a tradition of Boro Stitching where patches are decoratively sewn over holes to make a garment last longer. While this started a long time ago when cloth was rare and precious, it became a way to make the commonplace more beautiful and to show respect for what is yours.
Examples? Recently Emily told me of a beloved skirt she had "ruined" by accidentally dropping glue on it during an art class. I offered to embroider a design over the spots and what turned out was a wonderful new garment. I have a simple black (what else) cashmere tee that became dinner for a moth or two. Naturally, they decided to eat at the most visible place -- front and center. So I bought a piece of antique black lace at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner and stitched it over the holes. Then I cut away the damaged fabric. I now have a unique and much more fashionable top and gratitude toward those darn moths that made me find a way to make it more beautiful than before. Lastly, you may have noticed that the more expensive jeans in stores now have embroidery or patches over deliberately created holes. They are fascinating to study and fun to wear.
My vote is to make the best of a bad deal by playing with it and making it yours. We knitters often strive for perfection (not a bad goal) but sometimes it's also satisfying to take up a creative challenge and surprise yourself with something that's never been done before.