Hole Cloth

If you recognize the object pictured below, you probably hail from an older era or your hobby is related in some way to hand-crafts or antiques. This unique little object is a stunning example of an early 20th century darning egg. I love unusual objects like this one, and I must confess my amazement that this extraordinary example of bygone days was once an important tool in the sewing box of the expert seamstress. This particular darning egg looks nicely used.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/r3zmlx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/r3zmlx

I’ve never personally owned a darning egg. In my younger years, I occasionally darned a sock or two by hand, using a randomly selected hard object, whatever was close at hand. As time went by, pieces of clothing that required darning languished in my sewing box. Perhaps if I’d had a tool like this, I’d have been more adept at darning.

Eventually, I learned to maneuver my sewing machine (with a special plate attached) to perform machine darning. By machine, the stitches were better, tighter and my fingertips didn’t suffer from repeated poking by a needle. (Occasionally, I’d work without a thimble! Argh!)  If I’d ever wished for a darning egg, I dismissed it in favor of my machine-applied repairs.

But again, the effort to repair clothing by darning fell out of favor. Like many of my peers, I decided it was cheaper to replace clothing items and preferable to repairing them. Don’t get me wrong. I continued to hoard items in a so-called “mending basket” fully intending to repair them at some future date … a time that has (to date) never arrived. (Talk about delusional, huh?)

If memory serves me correctly, I must also admit my failure to teach my daughters (or my sons) how to wield needle and thread for darning. I taught my girls to sew (by hand and by machine) and taught my boys to sew on buttons, etc. The boys ran a few seams on the sewing machine, but quickly declared their distaste for further instructions in “girls’ work.Continue reading “Hole Cloth”