Darning mushrooms help hold the shape of the item you’re mending and keep fabric taut, so you get a more natural-looking result. They’re most commonly used when darning socks (the mushroom cap replicates the curved shape of a heel or toes), but many menders like to use them for darning jumpers and other clothing, too.
You don’t need a darning mushroom to start darning (I’m a big fan of using oranges and other citrus when darning socks) but it has a few benefits:
- Having nice tools can motivate you to mend more often.
- If you tend to find your mending mojo late at night, there’s no risk of panicking when you discover you’re out of oranges and it’s too late to go to the shops. Your darning mushroom is a lifelong, dependable, 24/7 friend.
- If you like to mend while travelling, your darning mushroom won’t squish in your bag and won’t be confiscated if you travel interstate or overseas (fresh fruit is often subject to quarantine restrictions).
- Every time I order more of these darning mushrooms, I get a note that says “Thank you so mushy!” and part of me dies of happiness.
These mushrooms come in two sizes: small (6.7cm/2.6” diameter cap, 10cm/3.9” total length) and large (8.3cm/3.3” diameter cap, 12cm/4.7” total length). I’m holding the large mushroom in the second picture. The small mushroom is curvier and best for darning socks; the large is slightly flatter and better for jumpers, tea towels and other big items.
Want to see how it’s done? Modern Mending the book includes 26 pages of detailed darning instructions.
This product is made from local timber that has been sourced second-hand, then hand-turned, hand-painted and lightly waxed in Brisbane, Australia, by husband-and-wife team Kerry and Rie at Woodrock Turning. They are inspired by fungus because of its healing, supportive role for forests, ecosystems and the planet.
NOTE: for best results avoid washing your darning mushroom with water; wipe with a damp cloth if dirty.