Sarah came to see me about her hat. She had read my post on Sashiko mending and was wondering if I would consider repairing her hatband - a plain gross-grain ribbon that had become unglued from the hat body.
What interested me was how remarkable the hat is: black all over, well enough made but neither fancy nor memorable. Our world is awash in such well-made unremarkable items: plain white t-shirts, packaged underwear, generic pants... Sarah's attachment to this one object touched me. What could I do to celebrate the hat?
We sat down to discuss a possible design.
Sarah's first idea was for me to embroider the hatband with a black on black geometrical pattern but as she and I were looking through some of my work samples, a scrap of green linen caught her attention: a circular design that had been inspired by a road sign. I had worked out a red wolf in positive and negative space. Would I do something along those lines? Perhaps with a wolf. I agreed and also encouraged her to picked colors. Sarah's wardrobe is mostly neutral so she settled on a range of grey-greens that I thought would be seen but would not overwhelm the design.
The original ribbon was too thick to embroider so I remade the hat band with a piece of light black wool, re-using the ribbon as backing. Embroidering the hatband was more challenging: than anticipated because the band itself is curved, not straight, and narrow. Also, there was no way I was going to glue this in place so I had to figure out how to sew through he coils of straws.
Oh but the final result was so worth it: a little black hat going from unremarkable to truly unique. A single object saved, for now.