which means we only have
one set of sheets at a time.
and on laundry day
they must go
off the bed,
into the washer,
onto the line,
and back onto the bed
and wears out our sheets
at what seems a prodigious rate
so over the decades
we've been through
quite a few.
And of course this makes me sad
as, being a textile person,
I get attached.
Happily however, though the cloth gives way
in the middle of a sheet
there are still many useful bits
around the edges.
I've sewn many into bags
for shipping tapestries,
and storing clean fleeces.
that I sewed them back together every which way
with bits of themselves or others
layer upon layer,
like so much flannel Boro
which can be used as an extra thick sheet
a funky quilt,
or even an indoor sleeping bag.
my favorite bathrobe
(my only bathrobe, actually),
which grows thicker by the year
as the yummy old cotton wears away,
like sand on a coastline,
and is subsequently replaced
with the rich edges
of the most recent sheets
whose centers have bitten the dust.
if actual linen linens
might last a little longer than cotton,
so splurged on two huge flat linen sheets,
on the theory that constant shifting
of bottom to top
and top to bottom
and this side to that
might distribute the wear.
It seemed to work, for a while.
Certainly faithfully turning them
has given me lots of good practice
making tight hospital corners
on whichever was acting as the bottom sheet.
But alas, even as they have grown
softer and more delicious,
the usual wear patterns still showed up
and the day before yesterday
as I hung them to dry from the beams of my studio,
I saw actual holes.
I have scissors
I have hands
and some bits of other linen
Dammit -- I LOVE these sheets.
I can REBUILD THEM
I've only read about in novels --
usually used as an adjective
to describe genteel poverty
or excessive thriftiness
as in "she has sides-to-middle sheets."
It's not generally seen as a compliment.
But somehow it always intrigued me.
And it seems straightforward enough.
So yesterday I cut the sheet down the center,
(the one with actual holes),
began hemming and patching the new (worn) edges,
and later today (I hope)
will stitch the previously unworn sides
together to become the new middle.
It won't be fancy,
But I hope it can go back on the bed.
There is no special thread
or elegant Sashiko stitching in this work.
Not that I'd mind if there were.
the mending would not happen,
so I rely on plain old running stitch,
the occasional backstitch to anchor it,
whatever thread that is at hand,
(quilting thread, embroidery floss, all purpose in some color).
and sometimes a patch
(fat quarters are fun)
on the inside or out
(or both for the butt of my jeans).
since for me the point
is to extend the life of beloved
or particularly useful clothing
so they (and I) can get back to work.
Indeed, without me really noticing
I find that it has become
an elemental component of my practice --
not only to extend the life of a handspun sweater
or expensive sheets,
some perfectly replaceable leggings
that just happen to have come in to my life
and fit just right
as whatever spindle spun
backstrap woven cloth
I make while wearing them.
hand spun and knit by my dear friend Rochelle,
no longer look much like they did when she gave them to me,
but golly, it would have been hard
to deal with all the snow this winter
without the layers of yellow yarn
I hurriedly apply over the holes,
amidst the falling snow.
It's not snowing now.
And I've already showed you
way too many photos
of the underside
of my textile rich life.
So back we go to whatever it is we were doing.
My needle awaits.
As does the bed.