To begin, a riddle from Nursery Rhymes of England
Socks are not expensive. I could toss this hole-y one and buy another pair, the Reebok brand I prefer. But, you see, I’d have to figure out where I bought this pair, don a mask, go to a store, exposing myself to possible danger once again.
I remember that Viola, my husband’s mom, used a light bulb to ease the chore of darning socks, more out of necessity when her kids were little, than of finding comfort as I am doing now.
Gray sock with wee hole
I suture with long, thin thread
Whole sock, holy deed
As I pull the thread in and out, in and out, I have time to remember my Grandma Fannie Longenecker, who gave me this ancient sewing basket that stores my needles, pins, and thread. And I think how blessed I am to have the leisure to contemplate contentedly as I mend the sock, making it whole again.
The Danish have a word for feeling comfort, Hygge, which I wrote about earlier in February. However, the word that fits better here is a Greek word, Eudaimonia, suggesting a sense of well-being; a feeling of being blessed.
I felt blessed stitching the torn sock, a humble, grounding task on this blustery Tuesday afternoon.
Do you identify in any way with with darning a sock, sewing or mending a garment?
What humble task have you attempted during these past months that you may not have thought about doing during a “normal” season of life?
When have you felt eudaimonia?
Good morning, Marian! I’m not even certain where my sewing basket is. 🤣 Doug has been our designated shopper during this time, so I have to be more specific on a shopping list and/or expect not to get some things. I’m not certain about what if any humble tasks I’ve done specifically during the pandemic. My takeaway is that you have very nice hands!
Thanks, Merril! I believe you find comfort in writing poetry (every DAY!) and baking bread. Just a wild guess, of course! 🙂
Hahaha. Neither is every day, but sometimes they are comforting. The creative process can be comforting, but maybe not as much as snuggling with a cat and reading a novel. 😏
I agree with Merril, your hands look like they belong to a teenager. I need to put hand cream on my store list!
Oh, my – my hands!
How interesting what readers focus on in comments. I wonder if you find that true in what reviewers relate to in your books. Thanks so much for tuning in again this morning, Jill!
I have a really sweet and different sewing basket from Stuart’s aunt who never had children (to inherit those goodies). I will write about it sometime, I love it but don’t really use it.
But yes! I fixed a seat belt a couple months ago, in our little Nissan that we use the most. The driver’s belt had lost it’s “button” which stops the belt mechanism from sliding too far: which you hook into the other end of the seat belt [how to describe such things??]. We had been holding the plate in place with a clip. I found a very large button in my button jar, used a very strong needle that I had bought once in a special pack of unusual needles including curved, and stitched that button in place much easier than I feared. (YouTube helped with this idea). Viola, fixed and still holding, several months out. Happy camper. I love your darned sock!
Good for you, Melodie! We Menno’s find that thriftiness is still imprinted on our natures, at least that is how I explain my impulse to fix and mend whenever possible.
I wonder whether you used a darning needle. I had one once but it’s fallen by the wayside over the years. I find it hard these days to thread needles with tiny “eyes” these days.
It’s interesting that YouTube helped with the task. A few days ago I heard of a former NFL player, who turned to agriculture after he retired, admitted to learning how to farm using segments from YouTube. 🙂
Yes, Marian. Lovely hands. They have done a lot of good in the world and look like they have strength for many more acts of love. I have darned a few socks, early in our marriage, but I gave up the practice, like most Americans, preferring time over saving a little. However, we do wear them until they expire of exhaustion. One of us would never buy new clothes if he could help it. 🙂
I love sewing, but never thought of using a light bulb as an anchor. I agree pretty hand also a very nice wedding ring. I’m a jewelry girl, that’s what catches my eye first lol. Lately I have a hard time threading the needle. It has nothing to do with eye sight I see very well I don’t wear glasses except at night driving to see distance up close I’m good. I did order a gadget that will thread the needle for me.
Gloria, thanks for the compliment, both of them. The wide silver band Cliff made for me when he took a jewelry-making glass in graduate school. The skinny band is the original!
About the needle-threading gadget, I had one once too, but it’s disappeared. I think I know what you are talking about: a triangular-shaped wire attached to metal. I could probably find one at JoAnn Fabrics. Thanks for checking in today! 🙂
Oh wow what a blessing that Cliff made that band for you. I would love to take a jewelry making class, but Pablo said that I’d spend a lot of money and keep all the jewelry. Lol true I would.
Shirley, I like your expression, wearing them “until they expire of exhaustion.”
Yesterday during a doctor checkup, I removed my shoes so I would weigh less. Lo, and behold, I looked down and saw my big toe sticking out of a black sock. I asked the nurse if she darns socks, and she said, “No!”
So the Showalters too hang on to the “old.” 🙂
Aside from Mennonite thriftiness, I have wondered whether the impulse to keep may be because the item is familiar, or perhaps even a favorite.
A light bulb! What a “brilliant” idea. My children used to tease me that if they ever wanted to hide something from me, they would just have to put it in my mending pile. (Funny, ha, ha.) Obviously, I didn’t go there often. I can say that I did catch up on all that during the pandemic though (and found no hidden misdeeds.)
I’m glad this post prompted a memory. Indeed, I’ve never thought of hiding anything in my sewing basket.
Personally, I have enough trouble mislaying things without purposely hiding them – ha!
Thanks, for the story, Arlene! 🙂
I agree with Merril and Jill! You have lovely hands, Marian.
I have had to mend many a garment. I’m grateful my mother taught me how to sew by hand.
Great idea about the light bulb!
JoAnn Fabrics still stands in our community, so I guess enough people are sewing to keep them in business.
Like you, I’m grateful I learned to sew & mend early in life. I hate to throw things away when they could be mended. Why not! Of course you agree. Thanks for the compliment too, L. Marie! 🙂
I darned my husband’s socks when we were first married until he finally told me to stop! He said he always got blisters from darned socks no matter how carefully his mother darned them. So I stopped. I have a special wooden darning tool from made by a family friend many years ago.
What a funny story: your husband’s “cease and desist” on darning socks – ha!
You comment about a wooden darning tool made me curious, so I googled it and found several new and used on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/916271269/wooden-darning-mushroom-mending-tool?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_a-craft_supplies_and_tools-tools_and_equipment-tools-other&utm_custom1=_k_CjwKCAiAmrOBBhA0EiwArn3mfMVxZuf1xAiL_lB4Pa8EbXSIOPUTcZsXQcGZnioTZlzhTLmplIcZPRoCZQ0QAvD_BwE_k_&utm_content=go_1730729683_66599076886_337577547594_pla-295604191622_c__916271269_12768591&utm_custom2=1730729683&gclid=CjwKCAiAmrOBBhA0EiwArn3mfMVxZuf1xAiL_lB4Pa8EbXSIOPUTcZsXQcGZnioTZlzhTLmplIcZPRoCZQ0QAvD_BwE
Marian — I lightbulb is a great idea to help with the task of mending a sock! My favorite grounding task is washing the dishes by hand. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. But (to me) there’s something soothing about it.
Laurie. ditto for me. It’s a sensual experience – the warmth and the bubbles. So different from computer thinking and logging steps into our Fitbits. Thanks for adding the thought! 🙂
Hi Marian, it is lovely to feel contented. I feel like that when I bake. I recently bought new sewing equipment because I had lost so many needles and pins.
Creativity just oozes out of you. Why, baking has yielded a “crop” of books and more. I didn’t know you have sewing “genes” too. Thanks, Robbie for stopping by today!
I like to embroider but I don’t like to knit.
That is such a light bulb idea Marian! I’m not a sewer/mender I’m afraid, unlike my sis with her sewing machine and all. I do have a sweets tin with thread, needle, buttons and what have you and have been known to sew a button or hem a pair of trousers by hand … the outcome usually slightly different lengths of trousers.
Those moments of well-being are so treasured. I messed up a painting the other day by adding 3 blue dots to a mainly orange canvas with some white streaks, on my teacher’s suggestion and I didn’t like it after all … so I’ve redone it and that gave me a sense of wellbeing after being very miffed initially ..
Thank you for this lovely post 🙂
I admire your creativity, Susan. I haven’t attempted painting, but from observation I’ve noticed that husband Cliff can alter acrylics or watercolors.
You moved from miffed to happy, even if it was slow rather than swift. Thanks for the story! 🙂
Marian, I just discovered a hole in one of my favourite socks, the special warm ones my sister gave me for Christmas, and I actually contemplated darning it, but I have two pairs, so I didn’t. However, I didn’t throw it out. Instead, I put it in the hassock my gifted sister made. It has a zipper and needed a little more stuffing! I’m a true Menno, but not the sewing kind!
I love your brand of thriftiness. It seems like something I would do too. Yes, Elfrieda, you are a true Menno! 🙂
I think I inherited (or learned) to be practical and “make do” rather than toss and start over. To a point. 😉 My parents grew up on farms with parents who had humble backgrounds and lived through the depression. I mend, repurpose or just “use it up” before starting over. I’m currently re-covering old throw pillows, repairing Hubby’s pant pockets, and looking for ideas for fabric scraps! lol
Jenn, you combine “old-fashioned” and modern very well. I see your creativity on your blog, photos and all, including mask-making. Thanks for checking in today, friend! 🙂
My mom always used a light bulb when darning our socks. I never liked darned socks as I could feel the lump on my foot so when I had my own home, I never darned socks again. We have been forced to go back to some of the old ways this past year and that is not a bad thing. I have always baked but I have been doing more of it, including bread. I am about to try pretzels! I love the feeling of Eudaimonia, a great word. Thanks!
Ha! I wonder if you have read Sarah’s comment above, who said her husband didn’t like darned socks because they gave him blisters. I am cooking more, but I didn’t pick up the baking craze like many in the world have done, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. I remember baking aisles in grocery stores bereft of flour and sugar.
Good for you, trying pretzels, a treat I will always connect to my PA Mennonite roots.
I know you too like words, especially ones like “eudaimonia” with such positive connotations, Darlene! 🙂
I love your tidy basket with all your sewing essentials in it, including lightbulb. I have done plenty of darning and clothes mending in my lifetime, but never used a lightbulb: what a clever idea! Just moved to a new house and I now have my very own sewing room for the first time ever and I’m really looking forward to many hours of peaceful sewing in future.
Fatima, I KNOW you are very handy with the needle, beholding your crocheted creations online, especially when you and Peter were traveling. I’m happy to hear you have a special sewing room. It sounds as though you’ve found your happy place, “eudaimonia” of your unique brand. Thanks for stopping in today, friend! 🙂
Darning, mending, repairing, repurposing, recycling… it’s all in a day’s work! We turned these ordinary chores into games when our grandchildren were young and over visiting. Sweet memories!
Clever Gramsy! Your grandkids must think you are a genius at turning work into play – after the job’s done of course. Thanks, Bette!
Brilliant, Marian! The play on words in the title, fixing something that is “broken” and making it new again, reusing materials, being self-sufficient, using tricks from the past (love that lightbulb idea :-)), utilizing the gifted basket, and those hands! Like others have commented, your beautiful hands, fingers, and nails take center stage! You’re not only young at heart but also young at hands. 🙂
Liesbet, thanks for the heap of compliments here, a boost for the day! I know you and Mark are very much into recycling, repurposing and what-not. It’s the best way to live to preserve our planet.
I wonder if you are still able to hang clothes on a line. I miss my triple lines in our old neighborhood. Wind-powered drying smells so good.
Happy Thursday! . 🙂
Repairing is always better than buying new! I do all my shopping online these days.
I’m not surprised you are so resourceful. Thanks once again for appearing here, Lady Fi! 🙂
Love the light bulb! I’ll remember that next time I need to darn a sock which I’ve never done :-)!!
It’s kinda fun to darn even if it’s not a necessity. My sock darning is usually accompanied by music, TV watching, or silence. I’ve done it lately because it’s calming with the added benefit of feeling virtuous – ha!
Good to hear from you, Joan!
I have experienced eudaimonia, but never while using a needle and thread. As for a humble task, I’m finding that I’m taking more pleasure in organizing the foodstuffs on the pantry shelves now, than I did a year ago. I find it soothing to take keep track of something I previously, more or less, took for granted. It is gratitude for the win.
Well, phooey. I left a comment earlier and it’s never appeared. I’ll try again with this one to say yes I’ve experienced Eudaimonia but never with a needle and thread in hand. Happy weekend, Marian
This brings back memories of my mother darning socks the entire time I was growing up. I darned them as well the first few years I was married when we had so little money. I still have my mother’s and my grandmother’s darning eggs.
I have seen darning done by my mum but I’ve never actually done it . We are a throw away society now which is so sad . I’ll be honest with you ,way back in the seventies , if anything needed sewing , out would come a safety pin , save mending it . There I’ve said 😂 . My mum would be ashamed I’m sure .
Good morning, Cherry! I didn’t realize the Welsh were a tthrow-away society too, which we Americans are known for. I confess to safety pinning too, so there is no shame in that. For a while, there was “iron-on” mending tape, but lasts only so long.
We are watching a series now called “Escape to the Country” featuring urban families who want to move to the British countryside. So calming and beautiful, some houses with thatched roofs!
I hope you are staying safe and cozy warm. oxo
So glad you watch ‘Escape to the Country ‘ we love it. We are safe and cosy ,hope you are too 👍💕🌷
Yes, we ARE, Cherry.
So, we can be together-ish when we watch “Escape to the Country”! 🙂
Ummm, do you darn “take out” socks? 🙂 I don’t know how to darn. My mom was quite proud that she didn’t sew, and she made sure to not teach me. (Truly) I wear out my LL Bean thick wool socks every other month, it seems. I wear them daily in the house, instead of slippers or shoes, and in the NE weather, they’re the only thing that keep my feet warm. But then, drat, a big hole in the heal appears after a few months.
My guy (who also does not know how to darn) thinks that if I even try to mend the hole, it will just be uncomfortable for my foot – I’ll feel the “sewed up knot of thread” every time I take a step. Does that happen to you? So, sorry, I haven’t actually answered your questions but you hit a tender topic!! 🙂
So funny that you are concerned about not answering my questions when you entertained me royally with the story of your LL Bean wool socks. No, I don’t feel a “sewn-up-knot” because the stitching is on the toes, not heels.
Right now I am wearing a Land’s End “hoodie” sweater made of lamb’s wool and mohair. I’ve had it for ages. When the elbows got ratty, I tried charcoal iron-on tape which has since “relaxed.” Even my husband, who is no fashionista, thinks I need to recycle the sweater, but I’m loathe to part with it since it’s just the perfect warmth for in-house chill.
(Picture an Oxford professor’s sweater with leather-supported elbows – not me – but what I need!)
Thanks, Pam! ((( )))
Now that is a great vision. You in duck-taped-at-the-elbow lambswool. Very sweet. 🥰 Actually you just gave me an idea. Maybe I should duck tape the heel holes of my favorite 🧦 socks!🙀
Lovely and practical. And you help me laugh at myself. As a younger woman, I made clothing for myself, my children, and my husband. I was a skilled seamstress and knitter and good with embroidery. Since Vic’s death, I find it hard to mend anything or cook anything other than the simplest meal. Before covid, I cooked with my sons. But now that stack of wool mittens and socks sits there staring at me while I read a book or throw a ball for a puppy. I tried some iron-on patches for other things, but they didn’t hold well to the fabric. Disco loves to chew cloth, so for a while I stuffed the old socks with newspaper and let her go for it–but they were only good for baby teeth. I will mend those gloves…I will mend those gloves… I will mend those nice wool gloves…. I doubt I will actually. This part of me seems to have died along with Vic.
I was just looking at my worn-out socks and thinking I wish I knew how to darn them. Never thought of using a light bulb – that’s clever!