Love of handstitching, indigo, Japanese textiles and mending inevitably leads to boro, from the Japanese boroboro – something tattered or repaired. It was traditionally done with hemp. I adapted it for my merino wool jersey tights, using scraps dyed with indigo, sumac and black walnuts.
Boro is historically associated with peasant farm workers, who patched their garments out of economic necessity. Woven cloth represented precious labour, not to be wasted.
Ragged boro clothes have themselves become a precious commodity, coveted by collectors.
These pant/leggings are called momohiki. They show the wide variation of patching styles. Both women and men wore them, underneath outer layers.
Boro is the beauty of a plain stitch, on a plain textile, for a plain and purely practical purpose.
When there’s a hole that can no longer be ignored, or the need to pick up a needle and thread for a while, it’s boro time.