Darn it!

About ten years ago, there was an exhibit at the New York Historical Society called something like "Sewing in New York". A challa cover I had made in honor of my daughter's bat-mitzvah was included in the exhibit.

One of the pieces in the exhibit was a workman's jacket from the late 1800's. It was made out of a floral damask denim. There were holes in the jacket that were beautifully and painstakingly darned and patched. Seeing that level of skill on a repair job  for such a lowly garment was somehow touching.

Darning is not something I normally choose to do. My husband purchased a pair of black cotton shorts soon after we started going out. Four years later he was wearing those shorts when he asked me to marry him. For years afte,r he would hand me the shorts and ask me to darn them. I did, over and ove,r until the shorts were constructed out of an alarmingly high percentage of black sewing thread. Eventually, ( After about fifteen years, in case you think that I'm one of those women who won't let their husbands wear what they want.) I refused to do any more work on those threadbare shorts. I did appreciate my husband's sentimental attachment to those shorts though, but enough was enough.

My older son earned his black belt in karate when he was 15. We purchased  a fancy gi and had the name of the dojo embroidered on the front to honor the occasion. My son is now nineteen. He leaves in a few weeks to volunteer to serve in the Israeli army.

The gi gets lots of hard and sweaty use. My son goes to karate several times a week. Last night my son asked me to darn the jacket of the gi. As I began to work, I saw lots of previous darns on the jacket. I repaired the new holes and reinforced some of my previous darns.

I still don't love darning. But I do like how one is creating fabric out of thread. My darning skills have improved over the years. It's a skill that was far more valued, say, 100 years ago than it is today.  I suppose, that when my son returns from his army stint, we will get him a new gi. Meanwhile, his old gi tells a bit of the story of my son's growth as a young man doing karate.

I'm not doing a Food Friday posting because my gi wearing son prepared the meal. He made chicken with lots of fresh lemon and Moroccan spices, and roasted potato wedges. My daughter is making a salad. The rosewater/lemon ices my son made last week, unfortunately were made with out sugar. The ices were fragrant but soapy tasting. My son melted the ices and added sugar and more lemon. Hard milled soap is no longer the first thing you think of as you take a bite. A dear friend is joining us at the table. Shabbat Shalom.


  1. It's interstesting to hear someone talk about darning...something that doesn't happen much anymore. I think we've just gotten used to how easy it is to get something new. And somehow the darning isn't as much fun as sewing.


  2. Enjoyed this post. My husband has a similar loving sentiment to a pair of cloth shoes I was wearing the first time we met. I was ready to give them away a few years ago; he carefully handed them back to me. On a 'darning vein', we're camping right now and a few repairs have made our seven-yr. old tents like new. I've sewed up this and that edge, purchased some fray block and my husband's enjoyed a grommet kit that's replaced metal ones that wore out. What's old given new life.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts