Frances Normandin’s Crewel Work, 3: Infill and Stabilization

Continuing from our first post on crewelwork and cleaning
Frances Normandin’s beautiful crewel-worked textile circa 1930-1940,
and our second on dyes and color choices:

The process of infill and stabilization began.

Remember that there were two to three repair yarn colors around the outside, infill created at an unknown time, by Frances or other family members.  The yarns were both different colors and also the textures did not match.  Kate made a determination to only remove the extraordinarily odd infill areas, and leave the repairs which blended well.

Kate began with the two border colors, above.

In the border and the image itself,
other than the oddly colored infill mentioned above,
the decision to infill was judged based on missing yarns,
or threadbare or broken yarns (from abrasion or moths).
If the yarns were intact but threadbare, Kate might leave the historic yarn
intact and add to the piece by overlayering the new yarn.

If not, the yarns were removed, which was actually the most time consuming part of the process because it is possible to damage the piece while removing the yarns.

Three quarters of the way through Kate found the darker yarn which actually
matched the outer border, which had slipped off the back of the treatment table.
Of course she went back and redid the completed infill!

Next Kate turned to the various inner infill areas.
This was a bit more fun because Kate was able to use different crewel stitches!.

There were three colors that Kate could not match close enough to satisfy her design eye, though she had every one of the Appleton Bros of London 100% wool crewel colors!
One of the purples, one of the peaches, and one of the pinks.
In all cases it was due to the fading dyes not matching a current dye.

Turning to the border linen stabilization and repair, remember the disgusting bug that stained and also apparently caused the disintegration of the bottom hem edge?  (Above, reminders!)  This was only one of the exceptions Kate had to work around as she stabilized the linen for framing.  The goal was to allow the largest linen edge for framing.

A heavy 1 1/2-inch unbleached hemp twill tape was pinned to the edge at 1 3/8-inch wide.

A running stitch (locked every few inches) was used to place the tape for hand-stitching.

A locking backstitch circled the outer edge approximately 1/4-inch from the tape edge.

The rips were stabilized with a couching stitch.

Corners were stabilized with both running and locking backstitch in a pleasing pattern.

It was important to Kate that her hand-stitching match Frances’ lovely work.

Finally, all parts stabilized, we decided to use a zigzag machine stitch to give
Deann Holtz a strong edge with which to stretch the piece during framing.

Unseen during the assessment, Kate found several small rips in the linen fiber,
and darned holes and rewove areas as she worked the edge stabilization.

Before cleaning / after treatment, above;
The piece came quite clean without dyes running.
ONLY around the bug carcass did stains persist.

Details of the piece after treatment!

I recommend two prior posts on caring for textiles and/or other antiques:

Taking Care of
Your Antique Quilt

(applies to many textiles);

How do I Take
Care of THIS?

(about several antiquities, including textiles.)

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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3 Responses to Frances Normandin’s Crewel Work, 3: Infill and Stabilization

  1. Alicia Akers says:

    Hi! My dad had this same piece and it needs some of the loving restoration you have done for this piece. My dad passed two years ago so all I know is his aunt embroidered it. My dad was born in 1928 and the piece has been hanging up since my parents got married. Do you still restore pieces? Are you near CT?

  2. Pingback: Frances Normandin’s Beautiful Crewel Work, 2: Treatment, Colorwork | Mpfconservation's Blog

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