The Art of Repair: The joy of mending with Molly Martin

The Art of Repair: The joy of mending with Molly Martin

Molly Martin first learned to mend when an old favourite pair of socks needed darning. Her mother taught her the technique to repair holes in the sewing room at the back of their farmhouse, where there was always a treasure trove of needles, wool, threads and fabric to play with.

Molly has now made a career of repairing textiles, as well as working as an illustrator and an author. Her new book on the philosophy, history and techniques of textile repair, The Art of Repair, is an inspirational guide to mending. The book is based on years of meticulous notes on Molly’s repair commissions: “The smell; the story of why it broke; what it means to the owner and where it came from. I wanted to preserve these garments in some way.”

The book also highlights the psychological and economical advantages of mending. Molly has seen the positive impact of learning to mend in her workshops: “Mending something yourself can create a feeling of confidence and pride in your own abilities—even if it’s just a little patch or darn on a beloved jumper”. She also sees it as an antidote to fast-paced, stressful lifestyles, noting, “the joy which comes from using our hands in this way, slowly weaving or stitching, can be very soothing and nourishing for the soul!”

We are so delighted that Molly will join us to lead two workshops in July to celebrate the release of The Art of Repair. Molly will share her expertise in Scandinavian-inspired darning and Japanese Boro repair (derived from the ancient Japanese term ‘boroboro’, meaning something tattered or repaired). Both workshops will emphasise why it is so important—psychologically and economically—to mend the things we love most. The workshops will be offered on Sunday July 25th and Tuesday July 27th, with the darning workshop in the morning and the Boro repair workshop in the afternoon on each date. The Boro repair workshop will also include a short introduction to Sashiko stitching, a decorative stitching technique similar to Boro repair. Join us for just one workshop or for both—but hurry, these will likely go fast! Students will receive a 10% discount on Molly’s book on the day of the workshop.

Darning tools

Whether you plan to join us for Molly’s workshops or you want to go through her book at home, we have a selection of lovely tools for all kinds of mending in our shop. Whether you’re after cotton thread, silk thread, or even metallic thread, we have beautiful supplies to fill out your stash. The Finca Perle Cotton Threads No 8 is available in 59 colours—enough to find a math or a cool contrast for any mending project. Au Ver A Soie Silk Thread Packs offer the opportunity to play with textures, combining a range of weights in the same colourway. And who could resist Ito Gin, the embroidery thread encased in real silver? There are even a few sweet and useful Hikaru Noguchi Handmade Darning Mushrooms available in plain and toadstool.

Just arrived

Hikaru Noguchi’s second darning book has just arrived from Tokyo! Darning Repair Make Mend Vol 2 is written in Japanese, but its visual step-by-step guides to 27 different darning techniques is easy to follow no matter what language you speak. Hikaru Noguchi has become a guru of visible darning, an increasingly popular form of slow fashion allowing for self expression that creates a more mindful relationship with clothing.

Two fabulous new colours of Spincycle Yarns Dyed In The Wool have arrived at the shop! All Spincycle Yarns are dyed before being spun, resulting in unique skeins with slow and dramatic colour transitions. Dyed In The Wool is the fruition of Spincycle’s effort to combine the beauty of handspun yarn with the efficiency of mill spun yarn. Not sure what to use it for? Why not draw some inspiration from the Hank Hat, Fever Dreams Shawl or Issa Cowl?

Looking toward late summer and autumn, we’ve just added three Dictionary of Stitches workshops with Richard McVetis. Participants will explore a combination of traditional and hand embroidery techniques to create different textures and patterns and the tie and pace of making. Richard’s workshops will take place in August, October and November.

Happy stitching from all of us at Loop!

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