Last Friday I made my way up to Retford, Nottinghamshire, to stay with Louise Presley, owner of Hope & Elvis. Louise and her husband Nigel were very welcoming and made me feel right at home, making sure I was fed and watered and had a good night’s sleep in preparation for the darning and mending workshop I ran at her beautiful studio on Saturday.
Hope & Elvis studio, darning examples and reference books on display
By 10am everybody had turned up, and after an introduction to my Visible Mending Programme, I used some of my darned garments to discuss a variety of techniques. I explained why I had chosen them, and what the advantages and disadvantages of each technique was. Then, whilst having a cuppa and a biccie, each student showed what they had brought to repair and we discussed ideas together.
Repair in progress at Hope & Elvis
Throughout the day I demonstrated stocking darning, Swiss darning, Scotch darning* and giving hints and tips on what materials to use, make people think about whether their darns would be practical or an embellishment. Needless to say, I also showed my Speedweve, and I was so pleased to see that Louise not only had one herself, but that she also had a Star darning machine!
A darn in contrasting thread
Louise’s studio is crammed from floor to ceiling with vintage haberdashery, blankets, fabrics, needlework gadgets, threads, yarns, old and new books, and it was fantastic to have all of this to our disposal. Although we had a break for lunch, most people were keen to continue stitching, and I think that when you see the following pictures you’ll agree that everybody made something amazing on Saturday. With apologies in advance: I haven’t remembered everybody’s name – I must be getting on a bit…
Marks made on a blanket
Pattern darning sampler
Buttonhole filling stitch by Mister Finch
Sock stitch sampler
Sturdy sock embellished with damask darning
Delicate darning by Dawn
Patched up ripped underarm seam by Sarah
Meta-darning of a tear in a paisley scarf
It feels good to know that there are a few cardigans, tops and scarves back in the wardrobe, rather than lurking in the mending basket!
I hope my next darning class will be just as successful. It’s coming Friday, 10 May, and there are still a few places left if you’d like to sign up.
*) On Scotch darning: for months now I have been trying to find a copy of a particular edition of Weldon’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework, which explains the Scotch darning technique. I have discussed variations on it in this post, but Saturday was my lucky day. Louise had two copies of said edition, so she gifted one to me! Here is The Page:
Scotch darning explained