This mending project must be all those things to explain why I didn’t finish until more than two years after I started!
I had darning needles and cotton yarn that was a good colour match for the sweater, but I stalled because I couldn’t quite see what I was doing where the threads were thinnest. (Also, I didn’t really know what I was doing.) I tried to work on it during the sunlit hours in the winter, when the sun was shining straight in and onto my work. However, sunlit hours in the winter are few. (But not far between – they actually tend to rather clump up.) I eventually put it away and forgot about it.
Then Carolyn posted about darning with her darning mushroom. Someone commented that you could use a lightbulb in a pinch. These days, non-curly lightbulbs are becoming somewhat rare so it took me a while to procure one.
Then, on a trip to Oxford, I found a shop called Objects of Use, which is filled with retro-styled, practical items, mostly made of wood, glass, enamelled metal, horn, ceramic etc. Imagine my delight to spot what appeared to be a darning mushroom! They billed it as a sieving mushroom, but mentioned you could darn with it too. (The wood is a bit rough, unlike the proper darning mushrooms I’ve seen online.)
During a recent purge of my sewing space, I rediscovered (for about the 12th time) my sweater in need of mending on one elbow and gave it a go. The mushroom holds everything even and stable. It’s much easier to see the stitches, see where to put the needle and keep good tension. Once I got going, it probably only took me about 15 minutes to finish up. Woo! (My technique looks nothing like the darning I’ve seen by people who know what they’re doing. Rather than take sewing-type stitches, I just tried to follow the twisting path of the original knit stitches. I like how it looks and I think it will work just fine this time, so whatever. In future I might try it the right way. See Carolyn’s darning mushroom post for instructions.)