Visible Mending

Visible Mending

It is 6am and the dark morning is imbued with a quiet stillness that, since the rains began, I was unknowingly longing. Sleepily, I make for the stairs and stumble over one of the many overflowing laundry baskets that are scattered around the room. I had a system in place for laundry, but the baskets are now piled high, multiplying daily, and all are filled with clothes that have dampened overnight. I can no longer recall which baskets are filled with clean, and which are filled with dirty clothes. In addition, indeed, I was unaware that we own 6 laundry baskets, and now all are insufferably over-burdened. There is movement above, and I drift toward the familiar sound of my husband preparing coffee in the kitchen upstairs. I will deal with the laundry later (and by later, I mean possibly never).  

Daniel hands me a coffee, smiles lovingly, and calls me darling. I spy the little box with the travelling loom in it waiting for me by the grey wing-backed chair; the chair is a relic and comforting reminder of quiet moments spent breastfeeding my youngest in his infancy. I received the travelling loom a week ago, and I was so excited to squish all the yarn that I accidentally ripped one of those flappy bits away from the mailer. I flipped the dis-membered cardboard limb over, and there was a sweet message that ended with a little love heart in place of a full stop. It read:

“Please keep + reuse this box to send onto the next fibre artist ❤️”…Oops.

woven by Stacie Sims

A cardboard rectangle sits on a wool blanket with a pin cushion next to it. 

6:06am, Daniel has left for work and my little eldest gentleman emerges from slumber. He navigates the floofy obstacles I am nestled within to greet me good morning with a hug and kiss, and in this lovely unguarded moment, I am foreboding joy as I suddenly notice a deep roaring creek that is somewhere nearby. The sound is constant, ferocious, and decidedly different in nature to the usual soothing rhythm of the ocean. Heavy downpours have re-animated the escarpment in ways that are long forgotten. A Waterfall tumbles over the cliff far above the foothills, and below it there is a torrent on every corner. A landslip came down along with a tree on a neighbouring street, and a woman was hospitalised.

I take a deep breath in, and out, and focus my attention back to the travelling loom. Every minute grows brighter as the subtle shift from darkness to light reveals orange and pink tinted sky between the trees. Gulping the last mouthful of coffee, I stretch briefly and close my eyes for a moment to take in my surroundings. I am sat on the rug on the floor, accompanied by delicious yarns. There is an interesting botanically dyed bundle from Retritus that catches my attention. The tag on the bundle shows an image of clothe that has been contact-dyed with crisp prints of bright red eucalyptus leaves; the same red appears in small flecks throughout the little twisted thread landscape of the ball of yarn in my hand. Naturally dyed yarns can sometimes smell like wet-dog and eucalyptus. Here, I am fondly taken with the smell of this yarn – it smells like a winter spice mix. I decide to get on and start with warping the loom.

hand spun yarn by retritus

A collection of  neutral yarns, from dark brown with red flecks, to a vanilla ice-cream colour, sit atop a plaid woollen blanket with blue, pink, yellow, orange, purple and green hues. 

 It has been raining for weeks, perhaps months, and the white noise of the constant earthly cleansing envelops me in worried thinking. Our suburb is known for landslips, and despite this I have returned to walking to seek the healing power of nature. Everything looks greener when it rains and falling water catches me in the depths of despair. I walk and look to the sky as if I expect the water to cleanse away this sadness and longing. I walk a path with determined momentum, but I have not planned the route well. As I weave the warp and weft, a homely plaid weave begins to emerge on the loom. I think of the people who are connected in some way to this constant rainfall. People are drowning, dying, and losing everything whilst I sit here wallowing - over nothing. I am grateful that we are not experiencing the level of catastrophic damage seen in other parts of the state due to flooding. Working with my hands, as well as walking outside, gives me time to think; reflect; to build a practice of hope and gratitude; but I am in constant battle with my inner voice, and it is an effort to divert rumination into healthier thought patterns. I do not daydream anymore, but with time and continued workings of the hand I hope this practice will return. 

fixing a box

A post box is in the process of being mended, a hand is visible and is holding an awl, working along the box edge to create holes for thread to pass through, and re-attach a missing section of the box. The box is surround by a rainbow assortment of The Unusual Pear yarns.  

A pause occurs on quiet mornings like this one, when the stillness of the hours before sunrise reminds me of travel. When I was a child, Mum would whisk us away in darkness to the airport to board the earliest flight out of Sydney, without her. It felt like I was inhaling and holding in the calmness of the night that is almost at an end. I would take that deep breath when she woke us, and hold it, then another, and another, in preparation for the world of Dad, and a change in daily routine and settings. We travelled often as unaccompanied minors to a procession of capital cities and foreign countries where Dad lived. The need to take that deep breath in and hold it grew exponentially the longer we went between visits – almost like it was a necessary reset or routine. With time, the vast space between us has become heavier and seems even farther away than it did pre-covid. The white noise of a fresh downpour engages suddenly, and it washes away the reminder that I miss the experience of travel, because travel leads to family. 

hand woven mending

A brown, neutral, orange and purple woven plaid rectangle sits atop a wool blanket. The blanket acts a a grid background with pink, yellow, blue, purple, orange and green hues.  

I return to the loom and yarns again, after busily working over my thoughts with my hands. I am in dire need of mending, and the realisation brings me back to my contribution to the travelling loom. I have admired Rainie and her beautiful looms and yarns since almost the beginning of The Unusual Pear. My most recent purchase is an E-spinner Super Jumbo and it is one of the best investments I have ever made. I have included a small ball of core-spun eucalyptus and avocado dyed yarn, spun on my super-jumbo-super-sexy-E-Spinner. The colours are a more accurate representation of the orange and pinks of the morning sky that I described earlier- I considered reworking the plaid weave I have finished to incorporate this yarn, but I am happy with the piece I have made, so I left it alone.

handspun yarn

A ball of softly coloured orange and pink hand-spun yarn sits atop an old woollen blanket with a plaid pattern in yellow, blue and pink hues. Where the colours intersection, new ones are formed revealing orange, purple and green hues. 

After the travelling loom package arrived, I felt guilty for breaking the box as I opened it, because it was intended to continue to the next participant.

mended box

A cardboard box with a mended edge sits on a dark tabletop.

So, I decided to borrow from the visible mending and slow stitch movement, and I have repaired the box using a woven bandage of sorts that I made on Rainie’s sweet little loom, busying my thoughts with every movement and act of making. 

If only I could visibly mend myself with as much success.

Stacie Sims x

box mending
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