Friday, January 23, 2015

The Elbow


Maybe it's a guy thing. Photo courtesy Flickr user voteprime.
Once a garment needs one repair, it will need repeated attention in a cycle of diminishing returns. I spent a long half-hour discussing the blown out elbow of the in-house archaeologist’s uniform shirt, a plaid model from Oregon Rodeo.
A good needleworker will install an ultrasuede patch with careful stitches placed about eight to the inch on a heavy weave. Doing so will take about half an hour, not counting travel, procurement of patch and thread, and procrastination (figure three years). A six year old shirt is good for another ten or fifteen, but the time doesn’t pencil out for me. The lines of supply are reliable at the moment, and I value my attention more than the shirt.

Himself may have a go at the patch for sentimental reasons. I was happy to subtract myself from the equation. A skilled patch of an elbow or knee is no small accomplishment. I’d be inclined to trim the sleeves above the elbow, use the shirt for chores, and then fabricate rectangular patches to use in a future quilt. It’s trivial to piece together irregular units as Japanese farmers used to do. That kind of a quilt top is easily backed by a veteran sheet or tablecloth and tied over a weary blanket fill.

The short version is to skip the whole exercise and let the marketplace solve the problem. 

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