More darned feathers

Black cardigan with just embroidered feathers (embroidered by Mary Addison)

Black cardigan with just embroidered feathers (embroidered by Mary Addison)

Tuesday morning saw me full of the joys of whatsit and happy as a doodah with the creative juices flowing like the 8.29 am Goring & Streetley to Paddington (fast, straight and almost uninterrupted). By 4 pm I was taciturn to the point of silent, useless and immobile to the extent that you couldn’t have put a feather between me and Lot’s wife. The vicar was worried and I was a little disconcerted too, so we were both rather relieved when the shivering began and I ordered blankets, log fires, hot sweet tea and … bed. (I think I may get a bit imperious when unwell.)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Friday, two days of bed occupation later, I delighted in being more vertical than horizontal and possibly a few pounds lighter than before but the better I got the more irritated I was at all that wasted time when I could have been working on the ideas I’d sketched out on Tuesday. Isn’t it always just as you think you might be pulling ahead of the backlog that something unpredictable happens?

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

So yesterday, having cancelled the London babysitting stint, I found myself upright but not dynamic, and in this state a bit of darning seemed about right. Yes, it is another bit of moth damage, but this is more of a piece of forensic archaeology – a cold case rather than an addition to current crime statistics.

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Once again I turned to the usefulness of the feather, which being of decorative and shifting form lends itself easily to the concealment of the planks and joists of the not so neat darn shoehorned into the hole beneath. This time though my feathers have eyes in the manner of a miniature peacock. Once again I have been unable to resist using colours with a bit of acid about them – lime green, indigo, petrol blue, a dirty scarlet and magenta – gorgeous. This cashmere cardigan will rise from the ashes and go the ball once more.

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Having done three feathers, I couldn’t make up my mind how many more to do – there was only one hole at the front and another tiny one at the back. Should I leave the other front without any and enjoy the asymmetry ? Hmm. What about the top of the sleeves?

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

As of now, I have added another 4 feathers: one to each shoulder and one on the back an inch or so from the neckband. I have started another on the back to balance the one already done. I may add a few more.

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feather (by Mary Addison)

The pictures are not very good and inconsistent as to size – all feathers are 4-5 cm long, give or take a curl or two. I shall replace these pictures when I have the energy and patience to take better ones but just to reassure you, the cardigan does look better than the photos suggest. Now back to those monogram designs.

Hand embroidered feathers (by Mary Addison)

Hand embroidered feathers (by Mary Addison)

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  1. Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Good to know you are on the way back to normality!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Rachel.

  2. Hilary
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Glad you’re on the mend. I love the feathers, just wish I had a black cashmere cardigan with such beautiful adornments.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I like the idea of cashmere but often find it too warm – the feathers would work on cotton too. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

  3. Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Horrible being so ill, hopefully you are feeling better now…..however, illness does breed its own creativity. I love your feathers floating across the cashmere – I think the more feathers the better!

    Speaking of darning, I have put a rather guilty bid on E-Bay for a Speedweve Darner…. they look fascinating. A tiny loom made in Lancashire during the Second World War as part of the Make Do And Mend movement. There are thousands of them nestled in long forgotten sewing boxes and I am hoping to become the owner of one. You may well have this little treasure already. I will then be able to weave a tiny patch over the many moth holes in some of my cardigans and socks! Further updates to follow if I win it!

    Stay warm and drink lots of tea…

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Lydia, I think you’ve got everybody curious about the Speedweve Darner. I hope you were lucky in your bid for one because we’re all dying to know more.

      • Posted April 21, 2015 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        I won! Now to wait for its arrival…. and then I will update you all…

        • Mary Addison
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

          Well done!

  4. Penny Cross
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’m certain that, sometimes, illness can produce even more creativity, bringing to the surface all those sub-conscious projects bubbling along continuously as we race to complete our day-to-day tasks to begin them. I think the answer is 24-hour staff. Lots of them, so we can disappear and burrow into our textiles and threads.

    Mary, I’m pleased you’re feeling better, and your beautifully darned cardigan – that wouldn’t look out of place on a Liberty’s coat hanger in their Designers’ department – must have soothed you while you were healing. ‘Darning’ is a soothingly vintage word that reminds me of my Granny Smith, mother of ten from the 1920s. She was an accomplished dressmaker and embroiderer but, when darning, she used a wooden mushroom that I still occasionally take up with pleasure to mend the heels of Terry’s socks, using brightly coloured self-striping yarn against grey wool. I also have a charity-shop buy, a duck-sized wooden darning egg, that the assistants were puzzling over until I pointed out all the needle scratches around the surface.

    Now I must investigate Lydia’s darning machine…

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I quite like darning – although black is probably the most difficult colour as you can’t see the strands of darning thread very well.
      Lydia’s machine sounds great for mending holes in countrymen’s thick wool socks after days tramping through briar patches.

  5. Posted April 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful way to give renewed life to a cardigan in need of mending!

    I’d love to have you come link up this post to my new Stitchery Link Party and share it with my readers. I’m sure they’d love this idea.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you liked the feather darned cardigan.
      Do link it to your blog if you’d like too.
      with best wishes, Mary

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