Ketchup ruins lives. It’s the most stupid condiment ever, not because of taste (which is almost as universally beloved as Funfetti frosting), but because its sole mission in life is to drip off whatever food you’re eating and land directly on to white. Any white. It is a sniper, and the color or lack thereof is its target.
One would think that I’d have learned by now to not wear anything brand new on ketchup-abundance day, but when danger is your middle name and responsible for the right-side initial of your monogram, you really have no choice but to make reckless decisions — like eating a burger, hands free, as a joke, while wearing a favorite winter purchase.
Is that what happened to my prized Être Cécile sweatshirt? Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t like to put labels on things or point the blame. The fact of the matter is, however, that despite three washings and spot treating with bleach, the sweatshirt was marked just enough that I couldn’t wear it again.
But I couldn’t throw it out either — I’d spent too much money and only wore it on Instagram once. I’m also partially a hoarder. So after finding myself inspired by Charlotte’s patchwork DIY and the general attitude on Pinterest that anything is possible with a glue gun and a smile, I decided to take a stab at repurposing the ketchuped knit.
The first step was to consult Google: “What to do with stain sweatshirt,” typed my caveman alter ego. Various things came up, like adding a pattern over the offending spot, plus tie dying, screen printing, french braiding, freeze papering (?) — the Internet needs to calm down. I settled on what I thought was the easiest option and decided I’d make a pillow from the sweatshirt’s repurposed fabric. Oh Amelia, you stupid fool.
“I make stuff,” author David Rakoff once wrote about the meditative peace he experienced while crafting. “It’s an itch, a compulsion that comes over me when I pass by a sidewalk piled with particulary good garbage…the inability to to look at something without wanting to somehow make it into something else.” It’s how he explains the divide between two types of people in this world: those who craft, and those who don’t.
I realized which type of person I am halfway through begrudgingly gathering old socks to act as the stuffing for my pillow.
First and foremost, I am the type who thinks staples are a good alternative to a sewing machine. The only scissors I could find were the ones I trim my eyebrows with (…). The reason I was opting for old socks in the first place is because the craft store that carried actual pillow stuffing required a subway transfer, and I am definitely not the kind of person who will wait for the crosstown shuttle just to get “supplies.” I’d say my overall effort took 15 minutes of complaining and about 5 minutes of self-doing before deciding that actually, I could probably just live with the stain.
Pinterest, despite its sunny disposition and lovely fonts, is really just pickled self-doubt in a mason jar. Sealed with a grosgrain ribbon.
I am not a craftsman. In my side of the world, a pillow is made in a pillow factory and ruined sweatshirts get repurposed no further than to the exercise drawer. Patches appear on jeans because a designer put them on there for me. The thrill of doing it yourself is just that — self accomplishment — but I’m the type of person who’s more entertained by eating a burger sans hands, regardless of any casualties imparted by that stupid, stupid condiment.