Repair, Make, Mend–it’s a philosophy, and a good one, if you’re a knitter or a crafter of any kind. It’s also the subtitle of Hikaru Noguchi’s Darning book, now available in an English language edition. Published by Hawthorne Press, the book is a visual stunner, stocked with full color photographs of garments–and other fabrics–that have been given a second chance.
When I was approached to review this book, I have to admit that I did not know much about Hikaru’s work. As it turns out, she has been working in the fashion industry for over 25 years and during that time she has amassed a wealth of information, skill, and experience working with fabrics of all kinds, from denim to knitwear. Hikaru Noguchi’s Darning (which was originally published as Darning Repair Make in Japanese) covers 12 distinct darning techniques that you can put to use right away! I’m no sewist, but the techniques are so clearly explained and photographed that even I could take on some mending work!
Of particular interest to knitters are the sections on darning knitwear: socks, sweaters, mittens, scarves–all of the much loved pieces that we want to keep in our wardrobes even when they start to wear from use.
I am enamored with Hikaru’s use of bright, often contrasting colors–it’s both practical (so readers can see the mending in action) and rejuvenating: there is, after all, something special about calling attention to the care and time it takes to slow down, repair our favorite objects, and extended their lives. One could, of course, darn in more inconspicuous colors! But, for me, part of the fun is the recognition of the process itself.
Aside from sweaters, socks, and mittens, Darning demonstrates how to mend denim, upholstery, pillows, shirts, and coats. It’s playful, thoughtful, and incredibly easy to follow. Alongside the specific darning techniques, Hikaru also includes some sample projects and photo galleries of various darning techniques on different fabrics to help you choose what’s right for the task ahead of you. And, if that’s not enough, the book also includes some terrific inspiration in cases where darning might become an embroidered enhancement.
Repair, Make, Mend is a philosophy I can get behind. In fact, I have a couple of darning tools (thanks to some wonderful friends out in the blogosphere!) and this book is just the push I needed to fix my jeans, pull out those hole-filled mittens, and have some fun taking better care of the objects that have served me so well. If you have clothes that you love, you need Hikaru Noguchi’s Darning.