Sock Sisters: Visible Mending around the world

Sock Sisters: Visible Mending around the world

The biggest blessing of the Internet is how tidily it brings very niche communities together. Such is the story of #VisibleMending and my entire existence as a small business (but not as a mender/maker of course. That predates my Internet addiction). It's truly special, sharing this otherwise mundane maintenance work with an artsy flare, and as a bit of an optimist, it's certainly the light in the endless tunnel of this digital universe.

Enter: Socksisters.

Kate Sekules is the mother and sister and aunt and friendly neighbour of mending on the Internet, having birthed #MendMarch (entering its 8th year in 2025) and inspired many people to just dig in and stitch the thing back together. Kate got her hands on a collection of ancient cotton socks and invited us all to collaborate on mending them.

(Kate's photo)

See? The web is a beautiful place. Details from the Winterthur website:

Estella Lawall Doerr Haase (1896–1994) kept a collection of her late husband Louis Theodore George Haase’s (1892–1945) worn socks intact for forty-nine years. Kate Sekules acquired this group for her own collection. Many had holes in the left big toe and rear right ankle. Only some had partial repairs…so Kate Sekules contacted an international network of menders through Instagram and asked them, “Who wants to mend a pair?” What started as a joke became a serious project with The Socksisters, twenty-five women in eight countries* who were given free rein to extemporize and repair Louis’s socks in a unique fashion.

Accompanying image from Winterthur:

Seriously, what a cool project, and folks were SO CREATIVE with their mending. I got permission to share a very select few highlights on Instagram a while back, and of course need to drop them here too. Mended by Annabelle, Hanne, and Charlotte - everyone is tagged on at least one of these four posts.

Aren't they stellar?

Comparison is the thief of joy, but I need to tell you how nervous I was about mending mine. The fifty year old cotton was FRAGILE, and a little stiff, possibly due to the whole "it's an old sock" thing.

All that pressure got to me. Were the bold stripes a blessing or a curse? AND THAT HEEL HOLE...each pair had one. Here are Rosie's! she captured the extent of the wear more dramatically than I...keep reading to catch my "before" shot.

I just couldn't conjure a vision for how I would make this old pair of socks sparkle. And I was generally feeling stretched quite thin at the time, without breathing room left to get creative.

Of course I knew I would "have" to use my Swift Darning Loom to mend it, but was so intimidated on how to start and where to go. I love the stripes and the colours of this pair, which of course set the mood for my mending design.

In the end I went with plaid darns in colours that echo the originals, though no perfect matches as everything was selected from the cottons I had on hand at the time. I patched the heel with a piece of black jersey that I tied and bleach dyed...another very fun little project I should share here sometime!

Of course, the mends were well-received by the generous community of visible menders, and the pair fits happily alongside its kin in the museum collection.

Here's Kate, posing joyously in front of our collection that she curated at Winterthur.

(image via Kate -- cutest pic ever)

Finally, here are the socks how I received them, before mending! How did I do after all?


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