What a month it has been! Who knew February was going to be so packed full of creativity, learning, community and mending!
Thank you to all 250 of you who signed up to take part in the Month of Mending event #monthofmendingfeb21. It's been a joy and an honour to lead you through this event, I've learnt so much about mending the mending that has taken place all over the world has been truly inspiring.
So far we've raised nearly £200 for #mendformedics. All donations received go towards Deliveroo Gift Vouchers for exhausted medics working in the Covid and ICU wards at Barts Hospital, London.
Donation link closes at 1.30pm UK time on Sunday 28th Feb, 2021.
Make a donation HERE.
To view the Mending Masterclass videos and the Special Guest Stitcher Interviews head to my IGTV channel on Instagram HERE.
To view the weekly Mend Together live events on Facebook, head to the Still Point Stitchers group HERE.
To read about the history of mending tools, fabric and yarn, head to my feed on Instagram HERE.
Special Guest Stitcher Interview
And here is our final Special Guest Stitcher Interview with Katrina Rodabaugh, fibre artist, sustainability champion, slow fashion pioneer and author of the international best selling book, Mending Matters. www.katrinarodabaugh.com.
Tell us a little bit about your "stitching story".
My mother was a crafter and a gardener and my father was a hobbyist—always fixing things in the garage on the weekends. So, I grew up thinking it was normal and important to make or repair things by hand. I also grew up on the edge of a forest with a small orchard and large vegetable garden—so my love of the natural world was formed at a very young age. My mother taught me to sew, stitch, quilt, and love fiber arts. But it wasn’t until my late twenties, in graduate school, that I took my craft seriously.
I was studying poetry in an MFA Creative Writing program and the college’s book arts studio allowed me to take stitching, printmaking, and book binding for college credit. From there, I exhibited work in galleries and worked collaboratively with performing artists—making costumes and sets—before beginning my Make Thrift Mend project in August 2013. Mine was a long, meandering journey towards working full-time in fiber arts. But every step was so pivotal to where I am right now.
I'm interested in your idea that you highlight in your book Mending Matters, that mending is not just a practical skill but a metaphor for "appreciating our own naturally flawed selves". Can you tell us more about this concept?
I think mending is a metaphor for so many things—mending our clothes, our relationships to our selves and each other, our connection with the planet, and prioritizing what needs repair. But I also think mending has taught me to more deeply love imperfections—to see how a torn garment shows that it was loved, appreciated, and enjoyed. I like to think of mending stitches like laugh lines—proof of a life well-loved.
Textiles and the environment are intrinsically woven into the very core of your being - in the way you have crafted your life, your studies, your writing, your kits - all avenues of your work, life and craft. Where did this passion for the environment begin for you? And if you were to offer one piece of advice to my readers on one simple action they can take to reduce their impact on the environment with regards to fashion, clothing and textiles - what would it be?
When I was seventeen I declared myself an environmentalist. This was in the mid 90s in a tiny town in rural NY and I’m not sure I really knew what the term even meant. But I knew that my connection to the natural world felt essential. It felt so deeply meaningful. It was grounding, healing, mesmerizing, and meditative. I was an Environmental Studies major in college and this gave me more of the tools and historical context I was craving. I left college and went to work for arts organizations like community galleries and theaters. My environmental work felt personal and my art life felt public. But in 2013 when I launched my slow fashion project, Make Thrift Mend, I realized that these two worlds could collide and because these passions had been with me for as long as I could remember, I just had to find ways to share these wonders with the people around me. Fortunately, sustainable fashion was that mechanism for me.
You have a new book coming out in April this year - Make, Thrift, Mend - is now available for pre-order. Tell us about it - what have we to look forward to?
I’m so excited to share this book! Make Thrift Mend is my written journey from the project of the same name that has been my ongoing art practice since August 2013. The book shares three how-to sections: How to “make” our wardrobes more sustainable when sewing, stitching, or designing with patchwork; how to redesign or “thrift” garments to be remade with plant dyes; and how to “mend” the clothes we already own on woven and knitted fibers. It also has 15 artist contributors from various countries, three original essays, and a large resource section. It launches on April 20 and I cannot wait to share these projects.
What advice can you offer to people who have never mended anything before? Where would be a good starting point for them?
In my book, Mending Matters, I share several mending techniques including how to properly add a patch to cover a tear or stain. It’s a very basic repair but there are endless options for creativity. I think starting with the most basic projects can add confidence and skill that can ultimately allow for so many options in later repairs.
And for people wanting to take their mending one step further by experimenting and expressing their creativity through mending their clothes, can you offer any advice on where to start with this?
I like to look at the basic elements of design. How can we use line, texture, color, scale, or composition to push our creative work further? What happens if I work with a limited color palette and focus on lines? What happens if work with a large color palette and focus on scale? There are so many ways to keep advancing our artistry—but sometimes just taking risks and exploring can be the most meaningful and the most fun.
And of course, it was Valentine's Day! Here is a recipe I developed for some simple Valentine Biscuits:
I was in the mood for baking and fancied something quick, easy and lemony. Biscuits, I thought, they won’t take long... but no - do not be deceived! Biscuits, I discovered, are like humans: they need lots of time to chill.
After much trial and error and research this is what worked for me:
Make the dough, then chill the dough for at least an hour, then roll the dough, cut the dough, then chill again for at least half an hour before baking. That is the secret. Double chilling time. Otherwise the biscuits spread in the oven and look very disappointing because the butter isn’t cold enough. And if you're like me, you'll end up scoffing the unshapely ones to "tidy up the edges"...
So no rushing these babies, they need double CHILL time before baking.
Makes 30 biscuits - plenty for the tin! You’ll probably need to do 3 batches of 12. If you don’t have a heart cookie cutter you can roll the dough into 30 balls, squash them slightly, chill then bake. Or you could roll into a sausage and cut into 30 disks (I haven't tried this - let me know if it works!).
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
125g caster sugar
125g soft brown sugar
170g unsalted butter, melted
Zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, salt, sugars) until well combined.
2. Add the wet ingredients (melted butter, lemon juice) and mix to form a dough.
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
4. If using a cookie cutter, roll the dough out until it’s the thickness of a £1 coin then cut the biscuits and place on a lightly (very lightly - because you don’t want too much butter getting hot too quickly) greased baking tray. Allow plenty of space between the biscuits - I put 6 on each tray.
5. Place the trays with the biscuits on back in the fridge to chill again for at least half an hour.
6. While they’re chilling, preheat the oven to gas mark 3.
7. Bake the chilled biscuits for approx 15-20 mins (depends on your oven so keep an eye on them) until they turn lightly golden.
8. Leave to cool on the trays until they harden then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Then make another batch! I did 3 batches of 12 - 6 biscuits on each tray.
10. Dust with icing sugar when they're all completely cool and store in an air tight container to keep that crunch.
SUBSCRIBER SPECIAL OFFER!
20% off Heart Card Kits
£12.50 reduced to £10!
Valentine's Day may be over but there're still plenty of reasons to send loved ones a beautiful, hand stitched card.
Perfect for beginners looking for a small, cute embroidery project. The Heart Card Kit is the ideal size to slow you down, give you some much needed Still Point Stitching time and finish a complete project in less than an hour!
It comes with full instructions, illustrated stitch guides and all the materials you'll need to make a very special card for a loved one. There're four designs to choose from all involving some of my favourite soothing repetitive stitches such as Seed Stitch and Fly Stitch and it's on special offer to all my subscribers until March 29th, 2021.
Click HERE to purchase your discounted Heart Card Kit!