Tag Archives: gloves

Make, do, mend


I really love that sentiment. I know the original is “make do and mend,” but I like that punctuation can subtly change the meaning and modernize the sentiment. For me, the “do” here is about use. Make something, use it (wear it), and mend it.


I’ve written about mending before (and since that post I’ve darned so many other parts of those gloves that replacing them entirely is on my summer to-do list), but it seems to be in the air these days: Karen did a great post about the resurgence of mending and the corresponding shift in attitude; Ysolda linked to a Guardian piece about the popularity of mending shops; and last fall Julie posted some shots of how she made the best of her moth-eaten sweaters.

L's gloves, still in need of some mending.

L’s gloves, still in need of some mending. After the first few darns, I started darning on both the inside and the outside, to make the areas prone to holes double-thick. After the first time, I gave up on trying to make the mending invisible.

Not that it’s a new idea or anything, but it feels like there’s momentum right now. I have definitely noticed that the more I knit (and now, sew) the more particular I am about what I buy and the more interested I am in fixing what I have. I certainly would never have mended any of the store-bought wool socks I used to wear (which inevitably wore out after one winter) but last week, as I was plodding along on Grace, I took a break to darn some holes and weak spots in a couple of pairs of my hand-knit socks. Both pairs were already a couple of years old and, as some of my first hand-knit socks, had been in heavy rotation, that they only now required repair makes me think of the darns as badges of honour – they lasted well; they’re worth repairing.

The orange socks needed repairs to both heels and both toes. The purple ones wore through in a weak spot I knew would probably be trouble.

The orange socks needed repairs to both heels and both toes. The purple ones wore through in a weak spot I knew would probably be trouble.

The question I have, though, is where do you draw the line? I am happy to darn a few holes to get more use out of a pair of socks, or put a patch over the elbow of a sweater, but at some point items do need replacing, and when that time comes, I don’t want to feel guilty about it. Take L’s gloves, for example. He has worn the heck out of them, and I’ve darned them close to a dozen times, but in the last few months of cold weather it really felt like there was a new hole every week (a combination of hard wear and lofty, woollen-spun yarn). He loves his gloves, but I’m tired of fixing them and ready to just knit a new pair, which is fine, except what do I do with the old ones?

I wear through this part of all my mittens far more quickly than any other part. When he thumbs started to get threadbare, I knit myself a new pair.

I wear through this part of all my mittens far more quickly than any other part. When the thumbs on these started to get threadbare, I knit myself a new pair.

Similarly, I have a pair of socks that’s been in need of new heels for months. I know I could remove the old heels and re-knit them, but to be honest, they’re not the most comfortable socks I’ve ever knit and I don’t miss wearing them. Aside from the heels, though, they’re in good shape, so what do I do? Replace the heels and give them away? Let them sit at the bottom of the drawer for a while longer and then throw them out? I did not have these qualms with store-bought items!

What do you do? Do you say “oh darn” as you drop them in the trash (as the Yarn Harlot suggests) or do you mend them until there’s nothing original left? Do you wonder/worry about this too?

Effing magestic



The moose gloves are done. They’ve actually been done for a week, but we had to wait until the weekend for a proper photo shoot, but L wore them for the first time two weeks after his birthday and proclaimed them quite warm, but not wind proof. He is quite pleased with the moose.

I still can't believe how much they look like moose.

I still can’t believe how much they look like moose.

These gloves were basically a year in the making – it was around this time last year that L first saw the pattern and I first said I would knit them for him if he bought me the book, which he did – and in a way they cap off a lot of what I’ve learned about knitting stranded colourwork, including a decent understanding of yarn dominance (that is, that the colour stranded along the bottom will pop the most), tension, and pattern modification. Although, that being said, of all the patterns I’ve knit out of this book so far, this is the one I altered the least.


This is my first proper finished project of 2013, and I think my year is off to an auspicious start. There’s something nice about knowing my first project was a gift, and that it involved trying something new (I’d never knit fingers before). It makes me quite excited to see where the rest of the year takes me.


Pattern: The Moose at Sundown by Annemor Sundbo
Yarn: Harrisville Designs Shetland in Red and Charcoal
Needles: 2.75mm for the cuff and 3.25mm for everything else (I used a magic loop)
Modifications: Not too many, really. I knit these in a wooly fingering weight yarn instead of the sport weight the pattern called for, and also went up several needle sizes to achieve the right size (although, I probably could have gotten away with a 3mm needle for the hands, but oh well). The Harrisville Shetland was lovely to work with and I am seriously considering ordering a whole bunch more – it’s wooly and sticky, making it perfect for stranded colourwork with longish floats, but when washed it softens up and blooms, becoming more like a sport weight. I loved it.
Design-wise, I added seven rows of length to the hand (on the back of the hand: an additional plain row, three rows of alternating red/grey, like in the cuff chart, and then an additional three plain rows; on the palm I just continued in pattern). I also doubled the length of the ribbing and added an extra plain row between the cuff and the hand charts.
All the details are Ravelled here.

*If you’re wondering about the title for this post, it’s from this comic (not a moose, but it was still L’s reaction).


There’s a moose in these mittens!


Well, okay, technically they’re gloves, but since I’m not at the fingers yet it doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is that the moose is starting to appear, and he is looking very moose-y indeed.

I cast on for these mittens gloves (L does not wear mittens) on Saturday, which is a pretty late start considering that his birthday is on Thursday. Honestly, I was just so tired of working on deadline stuff that I wanted to just knit for myself for a few days. Of course, now I’m under the gun and L probably won’t get these on his birthday, which he says he’s okay with (I suspect he’s weighing an on-time birthday gift against my mental health, and I’m pleased to see he values the latter more).

Anyway, moose gloves. I cast on on Saturday and by the end of the day I was finished the cuff and feeling quite pleased with myself.

The red is proving very hard to photograph and, while it is bright, it's not quite this garish.

The red is proving very hard to photograph and, while it is bright, it’s not quite this garish.

I then had virtually no glove-knitting time on Sunday or Monday, but did manage to squeeze in a little time on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I worked on them a bit this morning and am only eight rows from the top of the hand (as charted, I might add a few extra rows for safety). I have never knit gloves before, but I’ve been trying these on L as I go, and so far I think they’re working out.

It really does look like a moose, doesn't it?

It really does look like a moose, doesn’t it?

Ideally I’d like to buckle down and get this one mostly finished this weekend, but I’m going to a baby shower on Sunday and since the sweater I’m going to knit still looks like this

The parents aren't telling whether it's a boy or a girl, but I think this can go either way. (In case you're curious, it's Indigodragonfly DK Superwash in "Fringe Over Troubled Water")

The parents aren’t telling whether it’s a boy or a girl, but I think this can go either way. (In case you’re curious, it’s Indigodragonfly DK Superwash in “Fringe Over Troubled Water”)

well, I think baby knitting might take priority. On the other hand, maybe I’ll just knit a little hat for the shower and deliver the sweater later (thus leaving time to hopefully tackle at least a few fingers)? The baby isn’t due until the end of March, so in my head this seems like a reasonable plan – what do you think?