Sew Karen-ly Created...

If you have arrived here via a link (such as to a tutorial) click on "Sew Karen-ly Created" to return to the latest blog post. I invite you to my website to see a gallery of quilts and patterns available for purchase. Shown here is "To Be Where You Belong", presented to Sir Paul McCartney on his visit to Nova Scotia in 2009.
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Monday, 11 February 2013

The Mending Wall

As a quilter, do you mend?  I always find such division of ideals when that question is asked.  Many quilters take offense when they are asked to sew on a button, or fix a broken zipper;  menial tasks such as these are not art.  Others do it willingly...two militant camps who sit on opposing walls. Although these are not tasks I prefer, I do them as part and parcel of having sewing skills, and because my mother and grandmother - both expert needle workers - did this for me.  I do it for my sons.  I do it for my husband. (No, I will not do it for you, so don't drop off your mending!) I even admit to sewing in flapping zippers on winter jackets and stitching bottoms in sleeping bags of visiting friends when my boys were little. Elven work. It's certainly not as glory filled as feathering a quilt, but the satisfaction of knowing my tiny mother will not trip over that extra 8" on the bottom of her pyjama pants far outweighs the most glorious plume I could ever stitch. Something there is that doesn't love a wall.
Which wall do you sit on?

The Mending Wall  by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors." 


  1. Like you I don't understand why so many quilters are a wee bit precious if asked to sew on a button.....good heavens, by the time they get all hot and bothered about it the button is sewn, finished!

  2. I guess mending is part of life. I don't think much about it, I just get on with it. You know it is not romantic,but with a good piece of music playing in the background, it becomes a pretty good activity. The exception to that for me would be the repairing of a jeans zipper

  3. I do it but sometimes the children have been known to have outgrown what it was that I was supposed to mend. They are adults now and I recently hemmed 6 pairs of pants for my son. Only two were on the machine (casual pants), the other four had to be hand sewn (office work pants.)

  4. Dare I suggest the the quilters who are offended by the idea of mending might not actually know how to sew? I wonder if those of us who learned how to sew first are more willing to do the mending, because it is often a simple task, finished quickly, if you already know how.
    Just a thought (don't bring your mending over, my basket is already full.)

  5. I bought those exact same pajamas and I hoped very hard that washing them would shrink them up and do the trick. What does that say about me and mending?

    I love that poem. As always, he's saying so much on so many fronts. Thank you. It's been a long time since I read it.

  6. Just found your blog from Stashbusters Yahoo group. I'm adding you to my Google Reader.
    I do mend even though it takes time away from quilting. Earlier this week I replaced the frayed handles on a hand-quilted tote bag and the zipper on a mesh laundry bag. I probably could have replaced the mesh bag at the dollar store but I have a lot of zippers that I'm not doing anything with, so what the heck!