Do you occasionally indulge in trawling auction websites? I certainly do, and today I want to share with you my latest find: the STAR Darning Machine. For those of you who follow me on instagram (of course, as @tomofholland), this is the revelation of the mystery object! When I saw it up for auction, I was intrigued by the design, which appeared to be similar to my trusted Speedweve. As you can see from the box, it is very old:
Those stamps are surely Edwardian! I cannot find any records of E.J.R. Co., but 682 Holloway Road now houses a unisex hair salon. This STAR Darning Machine was sent to a certain A Daniel, who lived in Cardigan, Wales. I learnt from a Welsh colleague that the first line of the address is most likely the house name, and we think it might be a variant spelling of “throedrhiw” which means Foot of the Hill. The road is called “Glanpwllafon” which means Bank of a River Pool.
Opening the box revealed the following:
The STAR Darning Machine; and it was still set up with a scrap of netting, and a half-finished darn. Underneath the machine I found the original instructions:
Here’s the STAR Darning Machine in full glory:
As you can see, it is based on the same principle as the Speedweve, although it has a bottom loom part with hooks, too:
Apart from the metal spring, to secure your fabric in place, it also accommodates the clips found on the two loom parts:
I haven’t had a chance yet to try this new darning machine, but it is clear I can create a larger patch than with the Speedweve, and it will probably be a bit neater, too. On the other hand, once the darn is finished and the loom has been disengaged from the woven patch, there will be two sides to sew down.
The loom parts are a bit rusty and tarnished, so they can do with a clean before I can use my STAR Darning Machine. I shall report back once I have used it.
As a parting shot, I wanted to share the following photograph, in a quest to help Dr Felicity Ford in her reappraisal of GREY: