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I recently bid on a Speedweve on an auction website. This being Lancashire’s Smallest Loom, I got very excited when I won the bid. It is a nifty devise to speed up all your darning tasks. I was lucky to get one with the original instruction leaflet, but a quick search on the internet showed that many people have one lingering in the sewing box left by Gran without one, so here’s a picture heavy post on how to use the speedweve:

Tools required: Speedweve, two rubber bands, darning needle, thread (I used embroidery floss from said sewing box), a snipping implement, a HOLE.

Here’s a close-up of the darning plate and the actual loom. Mine came with two: a coarse one for wool yarn and a fine one for linen and silk. The darning plate has a groove.

Place the hole over the darning plate and fix with the first rubber band.

Then fix the loom in place with the second rubber band.

Now set up the warp yarn: fasten the yarn at the bottom of the hole, wind yarn onto the hook above and fasten with a stitch at the bottom. Repeat until the hole is covered. How many hooks you use depends on the size of the hole.

To weave, hold the point of the needle and run the eye of the needle BETWEEN the two rows of yarn, close to the hooks. By going eye first, you won’t catch the needle on the warp yarn.

Reverse the warp yarns by sliding your finger along the top of the hooks.

Don’t forget to fasten the weft thread at the side with a stitch!

When you put the needle through the warp yarn, push it down before pulling the weft yarn through. This ensures an even weave.

Once you are as close to the hooks as you can get, disengage the loom—this can be a bit fiddly. You are left with a row of loops.

Sew down the loops, et voila, a darned tea towel!

I also tidied up the back and sewed down the edge of the hole.

As you can see, this tea towel is in herringbone weave, so my next adventure will be a hand darn, but in pattern… Wish me luck!

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I popped into my friend Alex’s shop recently, and she was wearing a vintage cardigan with roled up sleeves. We were chatting away over a nice cuppa and the conversation turned to mending and darning clothes and soon it became apparent why her sleeves were roled up:

Look at those HOLES!

A challenge I couldn’t resist. A Prime Visible Mending Programme Item. This was clearly a love-worn garment. Upon inspection it appeared the damage was mainly due to general wear and tear. The right sleeve had worn through completely and the left sleeve showed thinning in the same area. And what better to use than vintage wool? Ms. Busby’s wool in clear blue seemed to go very well with the green cardigan.

Here’s how I tackled it:

To fill the huge hole I knitted a patch on the right sleeve and ‘duplicate’ stitched thin areas (clearly, this isn’t true duplicate stitching as I used a different gauge) in order to keep the inherent stretch of knitted fabric:

The left sleeve has lots of lovely darning and loads more duplicate stitching to inforce the thin areas. Duplicate stitching is the new darning!

Both cuffs were badly frayed and Alex had made an attempt to fix that with embroidery thread. However, whip stitching around ribbing makes it flare out, so I unpicked it and folded the cuffs double, and on the inside I herringbone stitched it down. This ensures maximum stretch is maintained. I like how it gives a pinstripe effect around the cuff. Here’s the end result. What do you think?

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I have this old YMC jersey which is really rather comfortable. It has started to fray at the cuffs and I was tired of having to explain that the scorpion appliqué on the front did indeed NOT mean I was a scorpio (I’m a virgo, don’t you know). So, I’ve taken the sting out, did some darning with my fave Shetland wool, and here’s the result.

Here’s the darn:

And the needle felt patch:

And obviously, 10 years of washing has faded the colour:

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A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me her favourite red cashmere jumper. Moths had a feast and they left holes all over the place. Otherwise it was still a lovely jumper, so it was the perfect candidate to enter The Visible Mending Programme. So this is what I came up with:

After going over the jumper with a comb to make sure I didn’t leave a hole uncovered, I used some Jamieson’s Shetland Ultra 2ply to chain stitched from hole to hole. I darned each hole with some judicious weaving. Then I got my crochet hook out and crocheted a ruffle made up from double, triple and quadruple sts. I bunched up the ruffle over each darned hole.

The hole on the back is slightly different: it has been closed by needle felting.

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, so I think it makes a perfect gift!

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My friend has a lovely red cashmere jumper. But MOTHS have had a feast on it! As you can see, I have carefully gone over the jumper to find out where they had their starter, main course and pudding. I think they may have had a cheeseboard too. I marked all the holes with coilless safety pins, as I think this is a perfect candidate for the Visible Mending Programme.

I’m planning to use some Jamieson’s Ultra 2ply shetland laceweight to connect all the holes with a fine ruffle. Let’s hope the MOTHS won’t find out.

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