Monday, April 28, 2014

Can this sampler be saved?


This family sampler was framed under glass, and subjected to a humid climate in storage limbo while my parents moved and built their dream house a few years ago.

When I found it in the storage building, I really thought it was beyond saving.

I decided that it was a lost cause, which made me want to try and save it.  I decided that I couldn't make it any worse...



It had spots of mildew and many yellow areas, I suspect due to exposure to lignin, a chemical in paper from wood pulp (the same stuff that turns newspaper clippings brown).  It was mounted years and years ago on a cardboard mount, long before people realized that textiles should only be exposed to acid-free paper.



It was worked on linen and trimmed WAY to close for the framing.



See the residual paper/cardboard around the edges?  It was glued to the cardboard mounting.  What a freaking mess!




I had this little sample of Vintage Textile Soak I had picked up somewhere and thought I would give it a try...



I soaked it in tepid water with the dissolved wonder product.  I soaked it overnight...afraid to soak it any longer because I didn't want to damage the dye in the old embroidery thread.

The water was disgusting before I started rinsing out the  cleaning agent.



I soaked and rinsed until the water was crystal clear...you can see below that I wasn't quite "there" yet...

I gently squeezed out as much water as possible before rolling in a clean towel and squeezing further.

Using a pencil, I traced a rectangle of the right dimensions on a piece of foam board to use as a guide, then I stretched out the damp piece and pinned generously before allowing to air dry.

It's not perfect, and I think it looks cleaner than my poor photography demonstrates.  I will remove the pins and press it well before choosing some neutral fabric that closely matches to "make" a fabric mat for it using overlapping folded strips.  I will show that part later.

There is some very slight staining in places, but I choose to call that patina.  We'll see how it looks when the whole restoration is done.


In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

22 comments:

  1. I think it looks A LOT better . . . I had heard about the product you used, happy to see it in action!

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  2. It’s such a sweet little piece. So glad you have been able to save it.

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  3. I agree it looks better. good for you for trying to save it, and thanks for sharing the results.

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  4. I am amazed at how clean you got this - such a lovely piece, it would be a shame to lose it to time.

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  5. Many times old textiles are left in wooden boxes or around cardboard as your was. The tanic acid is an enemy also. Your efforts will be appreciated. Chris

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  6. It looks fabulous! You did a fabulous restoration job! The bits that are left give it character without overwhelming it.

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  7. Wonderful save! Almost as good as new. I'll be buying some of that soak!

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  8. It looks so much brighter! I've heard that prayer so many times throughout my life but I've never heard or seen that last stanza. It's a much more hopeful prayer than I'd ever thought.

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  9. HI!!!! It looks sooo much better!!!! Glad you saved it!!!!!

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  10. It looks great and was definitely worth saving. I had a similar one over my bed when I was little and I have no idea what happened to it.

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  11. Great job! The thread colors are still bright. The "patina" gives it authenticity!

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  12. This is definitely a treasure worth saving... good job!

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  13. That is a darling sampler and it looks fine. There are always spots on vintage linens....gives them character. I would have suggested that Vintage Linen Soak too. I need to get some to use on some of my old things.....great job!

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  14. Teresa it looks so much better. I have one of those to save in my house too. I will watch closely. That product looks very clever.

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  15. I think you did an amazing job of restoring that prayer. It looks fabulous. I have heard that prayer many times over my life, but didn't know the last part of it. It makes me want to find one pre-printed to embroidery for a new baby coming in our family. Thanks for showing what you did and how it looks.

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  16. Looks great! It's so nice to have a keepsake like that. You were lucky you could take it out of the frame & save it. We were doing a quilt history day and a lady took a sampler out of the frame & it fell apart. You did an amazing job and I'm sure it'll look great when you re-frame it.

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  17. Such a sweet sweet sampler! That is the prayer my Mama and I said every night, only our prayer ended, "I pray thee Lord, my soul to take. God bless..." followed by a list of family. I really like the last verse! I am going to remember it to teach my someday grandbabies!

    I have an embroidered sampler stitched by my hubby's grandfather. He gave it to us when we married 30 years ago. It says, "Bless this house, oh Lord, I pray. Keep it safe by night and day. With an outline of praying hands. It appears to be glued to a cardboard backing, cardboard matting and cardboard frame. It must have been a kit.

    Grandpa has been gone twenty eight years now and I have been worried about the sampler's survival for the future generations.

    Should I soak it in plain water to release it from the backing before using the Vintage Textile Soak?

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  18. I am so glad you were able to save this little treasure , I have said that prayer since a small child and still do .

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  19. Wow! When you said you were generous with the pins, you really meant it. A member of my guild, who is a former quilt shop owner, says those packets are the same as Oxyclean. I had a container of Restoration and it had the same ingredients as Oxyclean, too. My sister used Oxyclean on her wedding dress so she could refashion it for her daughter's wedding.

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  20. I have been into cross stitching for years and would be tickled pink to see a relation take the time to restore something I made. Im sure itll be great!

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