Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy, 4, Beading

I started on the easier side,
“B” from the previous post
but now I move to the side that is
far more damaged, side “A”.

Note: These images are not in chronological order in this post.
We will cover some huge repairs in the next post.

Above, teasers of the before and after treatment in the body of the motif.

As with Side “B”, strategies were created to reproduce even grid lines when the linen underneath the beaded areas resist the process due to rust from the “melted” beads, disintegration or warp and weft, or broken fibers.  One strategy is using several beading needles to line up rows as I bead.  Replacing needles frequently so that you are using sharp needles is important, but I keep dulled needles in a bag for just this purpose.
In the left image an example of lining beads up on older needles;
on the right, notice the areas where the beads simply would not line up due to
the uneven surface.  In those instances, I do my best.


From an earlier post, I discussed “burned”
metal beads.  
Throughout each side, many beads are “burned” or “melted” (heat and water/steam damage), but as we tackle side “A”
there are extreme burned areas. Sometimes the melted beads are stuck — that is, I cannot get them to release, and to force the issue might cause more damage to the overall structure.

Oddly, the metal beads are also magnetized!

There were so many missing beads a protocol (strategy)
of use was determined.
The larger crystal beads
were missing in many areas around the perimeter, as
were many metal beads.
These were also needed throughout the flowers, tassels and rope braid motifs.  I decided to remove the
inner layer of original crystal rimming beads (right),
using them elsewhere within the piece. The metal beads were replaced by a well-matched 9/0 sized bead.

“New” crystal beads were also utilized for some infill where needed, especially in tight places, but the problem with the new beads is it made the older crystal beads look
dingy by comparison.  Tiny scratches over time dull the beads slightly.
I was careful where I used the new beads… Betcha can’t find them!

An entirely new grey bead became the inside rim, which you will see later.  I like making the new beads obvious when the design is a departure, not a matching of older beads.  They can then be clearly identified as a new beads within the report back to our client.

I surmise there were two “metal” beads: one which was metal — that is the one that
melted most and was highly magnetized; a second that was glass with a metal lining. The metal disintegrated rusting bead can be lifted easily by a magnet, while the glass bead can be picked up only sporadically with a very strong magnet. The first is the one that so badly disintegrated, and this is being replaced by a
similarly looking antique gold glass bead to the second glass/metal bead.

A third bead was needed for the tassel and the braids, above; I chose a grey glass bead with a silver lining, which allowed for the variety that was once present in the tea cosy.

I wish we knew the exact appearance of the historic design; a best guess
based on the current design and missing bead patterns is the best we can do.
It in interesting to me that all of certain beads are gone,
and I can tell by the pattern of missing beads.
They must have been quite fragile.

The other oddity is the varying sizes.  A 9/0 size is the norm for the bulk of the beaded options, but the original crystal beads are 8/0 sized — which causes problems with the texture of the weaving, though it is no problem around the edging nor in the braided rope holding the tassels.  I don’t think they are newer beads now that I’ve lived with the piece for a long time — but I don’t know why they didn’t keep to uniformity.

Our final new beads were as follows:

Beads to the left are new beads, working within the overall design.
Beads to the right are beads that try to match the existing beads.

Problems associated with these extremely
damaged beads and the linen grid beneath?

They distort the linen in ways that can make it difficult to bead using
the linen as a guide.  Sometimes they distort it so much that it is impossible to
even get the linen to lay flat, so there is a bit of a lumpy under-layer and
getting a smooth grid of beads over the top can be difficult.


The original yarn colors
were bright green and
bright red! (Note the
back side of the cosy, left.)
I am beginning to think
this might have been a Holiday Tea Cosy!

However, I want to
match the yarn colors as
they are now. Not a
totally easy feat as
they change a bit
over the entire piece,
so I am looking for
a dark red and dark olive
that blends well overall.

Above, stabilizing a small rip with a Gutermann thread, then beading over the top..

Discussing infill yarns
versus stabilizing with embroidery or other threads…

I use two threads to stabilize the ground for beading and strength.  One are Gutermann sewing threads in various colors, shown above.

I also use embroidery threads to stabilize areas which are not yet broken, right.  I reach out into the yarn needlepoint in those areas and add a bit pf stability in a matching color before I bead over an area.

Above, I stabilized an area (which I will document in depth next post)
first in an embroidery thread for strength, but embroidery thread is quite shiny.
I overcast the yarn over the area to give it visual unity.

Of course, there are also many areas where the needlepoint must be infilled.
These dot the entire cosy, both sides, and I reproduce the stitches exactly in those areas.

My client will receive extra yarns and beads to save in the event she needs them in future, thought it is likely the colors may continue to fade over time.

Finally, procedurally, I take notes throughout, above, including how long it
takes me to bead areas.  The latter I do because it gives me more information
with which to do estimates in future.  The former because I can forget what
I did in an area, and this is important for the reports.  When I am in the
“beading zone” I pretty much lose touch with reality around me!

Next post, difficult repairs!

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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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2 Responses to Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy, 4, Beading

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