Patching Meditation

02.05.2013 § Leave a comment

I don’t know when people stopped learning how to sew. I guess when ready-to-wear became a common thing, maybe after World War II? I wonder how many young people nowadays know how to do the simplest sewing?

During my childhood, when I visited my grandparents with my siblings and cousins, we would run around their house playing like wild kids. One time my grandmother held me down to show me how to sew up a split pair of pants. She showed me the step-back stitch, a stitch technique that would make a strong seam. I was fascinated and learned it with great interest. That was my only official sewing lesson, but I still use the technique whenever I need something firmly sewn.

The other day I was mumbling that I needed to buy another pair of winter trousers, the kind made of wool with a lining to keep me warm in the coldest winter. My husband went to my other closet and pulled out a whole bunch of trousers and asked me what I was planning to do with those. So I flipped them inside out to show him. The linings were so torn that it was really hard to put my leg in without getting caught in the splits. He finally understood why I needed another pair of pants.

But then, what should I do with those trousers? Throw them away? They look fine on the outside; and besides, one of them is made of merino wool. I decided to patch the lining.  All afternoon I sewed this one trouser lining until my neck started to hurt. It took me two afternoons to make the trousers wearable again.

I looked at the patched lining and thought, hum … I wonder who would want to spend time on something like this? But the secret is that I enjoyed the time very much. It was like meditation, with my mind focused only on the needle and thread. In a well-lit room, sitting on my meditation cushion, I felt time stop in that afternoon.

Now I have a new relationship with this pair of pants. I can probably wear them for another three winters, and I decided to continue to patch them whenever they tear just to see how long I can keep them. I felt I was doing a little good for the earth and paying my respects to the lambs also.


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