Alabama Chanin · Weekending

Weekending: Embellished



Karen and Ann came to town and we gathered on Saturday to spend a full afternoon doing yard & garden clean up for Joe. It was a great day with perfect weather for such work. We filled 16 yard refuse bags! And I hauled a few more bags worth to the bottom of the ravine.

I cleaned up a lot of willow branches from the deck and wildflower garden. The wind chime that Mother's friends gave to Joe was making all kinds of noise as I made the first pass on the deck and I could hear Mom, "You're Not Doing It Right." "I'm doing it MY way, Mom!" (We had a little back-and-forth.)

As I was working in the wildflower garden (dutchmen's breeches are all but done, dogtooth violets are appearing, Virginia bluebells are full of buds), I remembered when Mom & Joe came to Oregon in May of '85 to meet Katie for the first time. Mom had just begun that project and it was the first year she could enjoy the "flowers" of her labor — she was missing some of the show because Spring (most wildflowers put on a very short show). She remarked that the garden would bloom only 18 more times before Katie graduated from high school, and didn't that seem like… not very many?? And now it's already been 30!

The kids had a blast. We had a cookout, ate a ton of good food. I even rode my bike. And got a little knitting done to round out the day. (Clue 3 of Romi's Mystery Shawl is complete!)


On Sunday, I had a hole to fix! It wasn't very big, but it was rather obvious… right at the hem of a tunic, about 2" from the side seam. It's a garment that I love and wear a lot; it could not be out of commission for long!!

From the start, I knew I would employ visible mending a la Tom of Holland, and that my experience with Alabama Chanin hand-sewing techniques would serve me well.


It was a round-ish hole, so I decided to repair it in a circular fashion. I pinned my circle to the back and blanket-stitched around the hole from the front.


Continuing with the same length of thread, I worked running stitch in circles around the button-holed repair.


Showing the back of my work! I was quite pleased with the repair, my plan, and how it looked.

But I could not stop.


I had to EMBELLISH that little patch!

"Why not?!" I chuckled to myself as I pulled out my little bins of sequins and chop beads, channeling a bit of both Natalie Chanin and Marie Kondo… loving my thread, honoring the people who made my clothes, taking good care of my things, thanking my tunic for doing its job so well and making me feel great, sewing…


Inspired… and thankful for all I've learned from people such as Natalie and Marie.

I love that little patch!!

8 thoughts on “Weekending: Embellished

  1. What a beautiful way to mend!
    I’ve been reading Marie Kondo’s book and doing some housekeeping as a result – it fits the mood of this spring perfectly. We’ve had such a long hard winter that spring fever and the urge to spring clean has been incredibly strong undeniable.
    I agree with your mom: 18 times for a garden to bloom doesn’t seem that long at all.

  2. What a wonderfully productive and beautifully embellished weekend! I really love your back and forth with your Mom and her way of expressing just how fast our kids grow up in terms of garden blooming times.

  3. gardens give back so much, don’t they? love how they mark the passing of time – getting better with age (just like us!) … and sigh. that “patch” – it’s a work of art (I might not be able to resist all the AC madness much longer)

  4. Natalie Chanin has given us so much joy with her beautiful ideas and hand sewing techniques. I love the way you took the compilation of ideas and ran with it making this mend YOUR OWN WAY! Love!

  5. Thank you SOOOO much for the great idea! I have a couple favorite t-shirts with tiny holes in them. I have darned them but never thought about putting beads over the spots. It will work well and be a great design accent.

  6. Oh, Vicki! I almost want to go tear something . . . so I can patch! You’ve inspired me once again. 🙂
    (And those boys! Just love ’em!)

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