Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tangible Memories (or: fixing someone else's work)

Like warm fresh-baked cookies, newly cut grass, and some perfumes - we all hold memories in the tangible. When someone else's tangible memory is left with me for repair, I always get a knot in my throat and butterflies in my stomach.

I go into the work with the disclaimer "it isn't going to be exact" and "it won't be 100% like it was before" but.... there is always a but "but it won't unravel and I will do my best to get it to match.

This last job was no different other than it has been YEARS since someone asked me to repair their tangible.

I believe it was last Thursday when the gentleman who delivers mail came up to my desk and said "(insert name) needs a crocheter." I asked for what but was met with a blank stare. I had no idea it was a repair job. More specifically - I had no idea it was a repair job using thread crochet.

So, not knowing got the best of me and I ended up sending (insert the first name you inserted here) an email. She promptly replied with the common question in our building "where do you sit?" Within minutes of my reply, (insert the same name again) showed up at my desk with a small bag. She told me a bit of the back story in that her friend (or boss, or someone whose name I know)  (fear #1 - working for a person that I don't really know) asked her to fix a doily her grandmother had made (fear #2 - grandma's work needs repaired). She had packed it away and somehow, a bit of it was ripped and she was scared that it would be unraveled. She wanted to stop it from unraveling more than it already had. At some point in the past, (insert the second name) got the impression that (insert first lady's name) could crochet. As it turns out, she can crochet but she only makes rag rugs.

Rag Rugs vs. Thread Crochet

I will say, at least she knew when to throw in the towel because giving your boss back a delicate doily frankenstein-ed together would not bode well come evaluation time. Just sayin'.

So I admit, I'm not the best thread crocheter... but I knew my biggest challenge when looking at the doily later on was matching colors. It was clear that size 10 cotton was used for the main piece BUT after so many years of being washed, it had puffed up to more of a size 3.... the fact it was white was a bonus, but fear #3 quickly reared its ugly head when I realized that I'd have to match a variegated purple thread used to edge the doily.

Grandma's doily, probably crocheted 20-30 years ago.... I have a feeling that dye lot is out of commission - even if I knew what dye lot to look for.

I knew the original request was to just make it so it didn't unravel anymore, but I really wanted to deliver. I got some size 3 white thread and easily fixed the filet in the middle. It is a bit clunky looking because I had to weave in so many ends in such a small area - otherwise, before the end-weaving ceremony, it looked pretty good.

The edge proposed the biggest issue which was color matching. Of course - that thread was no where to be
found. I ended up making an executive decision in finding thread that matched at least ONE of the colors in the variegation and went that route. I did have to reverse engineer the edging (fear #4 - being faced with a pattern that is just WAY too complex) in order to make it match at least in shape.

All in all, I think it turned out pretty good but only the owner will be able to say for sure.. and honestly, I'm not even sure the owner will know that I did it (and I'm ok with that).


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