Sunday, January 8, 2012

Campbell Center - rug repair

A bit of updating on processes that we covered back in Sept 2011 in the Care of Textile Collections program. In addition to wet cleaning, underlayment repairs and learning a variety of stitches and their application, I did a bit of rug repair.

Our instructor, Harold Mailand worked through the techniques with me. Then I went to work on the red and pink piece below.

The warp in this 80+ year old Dhurrie rug is jute - the weft is wool. The outside edges are starting to breakdown since jute is a fairly short lived fibre. It should be said that I did not attempt a perfect reweaving of the weft, but rather a stabilization to prevent further degradation.
 The first type of repair was a simple patch on the back, with stitching to hold the unraveled yarns in place. It would be used in the case of preparing a piece for exhibit, where too much intervention might be harmful to the piece.

The second repair, which I used in several places on rug, is a reweaving to reenforce the edges. Since this rug is in regular use - not an exhibit piece - it has to be strong and usable on both sides.

This is a picture of the first finished repair. As I went along the weaving got better each time - tighter and less visible.


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  2. HI, Micaela -- Great blog post. So glad you took the time to work on the Plum Lake rug! I have a rather large Dhurrie I bought in the 1980's that I no longer use due to some spots. Any tricks of the trade for getting them out before I give up? I have no idea what the spots are, it's been too long. I would suspect either coffee or soda.

    -- Robin

  3. Hi Robin - while I'm not a stain expert at this point, a simple washing can take care of a lot. Is it cotton or wool? Do you know? Test for colour fastness - a few drops of water with detergent on the various colour areas to see if they run. If not, then a wash with cool water and Orvus paste (if you can get it - it's for washing livestock) or else a mild detergent like Dawn should do a reasonable job. Give it a wash overall if you think spot cleaning will only make it more obvious. If it's large you can even put it out on the lawn and give it a gentle scrub. Drying as quickly as possible is also important. pat out as much water as possible with towels and lay it out to dry. If it's cotton and has pale colours, a little time (an hour) in sun while it's wet can help too. Let me know if you want more info.