Nearly a year ago, a co-worker asked if I would repair a tablecloth her grandmother had made. A lifetime ago.
I didn't really want to do it. I knew it would be difficult to match the thread (and I informed her of this) and the tension. I knew the existing thread might be brittle. I knew it would take time, patience and eyesight.
I had other deadlines and obligations underway.
She said no rush.
Without my heart really in it but wanting to do something kind for another human being, I agreed to do what I could as soon as I had the time. I told my co-worker it might be a year before I could get to it. She didn't mind.
For the last ten months, that discolored tablecloth has nagged me endlessly. Yes, it has a voice, and it speaks guilt. Eloquently. It also speaks loyalty and honor.
My grandmother taught me to crochet. She was a master of thread crochet. We used to tea-stain crochet thread together. I have so few of the things she made. Because of that, I felt duty-bound to help someone else who has a treasure from her grandmother.
I had made a vest with this very same motif, a pattern in my grandmother's stash, when I was still a teen. I still have that vest and can still fit into it!
Last month, my packed schedule opened up just a tad, and I decided to get that tablecloth done and out of the way once and for all so it wouldn't nag me anymore.
I noticed for the first time three of the 144 motifs were worked with a different thread, as well as the edging. I wondered if it had been fixed once before because the cream-colored thread seemed stronger than the eggshell-colored thread.
The first step for my repairs would be tea-staining some thread in an attempt to match the eggshell color as close as possible. I believe the tablecloth has been aged by, among other thread sins, cigarette smoke. I don't have any of that on hand and don't want any, so I hoped tea might suffice.
One by one, I began making the repairs, beginning with the easiest fixes first, not because I wanted to save the most difficult for last, but to make sure I knew what I was doing before I attacked the biggest wounds.
As I suspected, each time I attempted to bind off the new thread, the old thread would break again. I can't even tell you how many times I had to rip my fixes back and work them again to make the cover more ground. Three times, I was in tears.
Patience and (spectacled) eyesight persevered until the very end, however, and the tablecloth is back home now with its rightful owner, who promises to keep it safe from any further damage.
Good thing, because I will never, ever do that again!
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.