Preserving the past - what I did...
In my last blog, I talked about undertaking the task of repairing the blanket made by Roy’s Nana Florence Levey. In this one, I will tell you about my approach.
The process is so rewarding and, with each stitch, I feel a growing kinship with this woman who was crafting long before I was born.
To share the process with you, I have photographed this square.
Sometimes a square looks intact but, as I start to remove the broken threads, I realise the threads around it are weak.
Finding a colour match.
Before I start to work on a square, I go through my stash of yarn to find the best match. As this blanket was made over 50 years ago and from an assortment of yarns, it is impossible to match perfectly and colour can be very deceiving, changing with what it is adjacent to. I thought this wool looked maroon, when I lay maroon wool across it, it almost looked pink. A deep red cotton yarn that I had seemed to be a good match
Although I am concerned that my repairs don’t match invisibly with the original blanket, I received interesting feedback from one of my locals about the repair of heritage items. Jennifer pops in for a coffee and a chat now and then. Jennifer works tirelessly to protect heritage buildings in the local area and, when I showed her the blanket and lamented that you could see my repairs, she observed that – when you repair heritage buildings, you must make the repairs slightly different to the original so as not to pretend that the repairs are part of the original. You can do this via materials, texture, and colour. What a lovely idea! It will be better if the family can identify the repairs so that they know which of the craftwork belongs to their beloved relative.
The Burra Charter 2013 addresses this in more detail and is a very interesting read.
With that in mind, I am endeavouring to repair rather than replace squares as much as I can. Besides, replaced squares stand out more than I would like them to (it’s the grey and white one)
The next step involves identifying the extent of the damage and clearing away any broken yarn. I then unravel enough yarn to sew back into the work and secure the original stitches.
Then I make treble stitches into the round before the one I am working on, taking care to replicate the number of stitches making up the rest of that square.
Once the square is completed and loose ends are secured, I use black yarn to join it back to the blanket. Here is a photo of this particular square completed.
Well, not perfect – but remember the Burra Charter! I am sure that perhaps someone else could do a better job, but these are skills that are fading away and I am so lucky to have this opportunity to preserve this beautiful piece of craft. I will continue to work on it with the most care and craftmanship that I can muster. Keep an eye out for my next blog to see the progress, I can’t wait to see the final product! If you would like to get started on repairing your family heirloom, check out my Tutorials on YouTube. You can also download the PDF and purchase equipment in my store.