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Thread: Restoration - Salvaging - Fixing - Repairing

  1. #1
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    Restoration - Salvaging - Fixing - Repairing

    When - if ever - does a quilt - or any other item, for that matter - if might be your favorite dishrag that your favorite Great Grandma gave to you as a wedding gift 50 years ago that is now in shreds and gray instead of white - is it time to not try to salvage an item that seems to have sentimental value?

    No matter if the item was never finished and never passed on by the person that started it -

    or that the item had never been "promised" to someone -

    Sometimes I think we try to rescue/save/restore items that - if they were ours to begin with - would end up in the UFO pile or be trashed.

    I don't know the "correct" answer to the question - I was asking for your answers to the question -

    If the item was a blue chambray work shirt -that Grandma had made - for example - that Grandpa wore many days of his life - and is now very worn - elbows are gone - collar is frayed - pocket is torn (maybe it should be sold as a "fashion statement"?) - how much effort would one put into "making it like new"?

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    Your post brings special memories of DDaughter's "covies" and huggie. The covies were thermal b*aby b*lankets that I used when her Dad and I brought her home from the hospital. They ended up in threads and tiny pieces over the years. She kept them in a zip lock bag so she could still touch them.

    Huggie was a blue cookie monster. He had many adventures with our daughter over the years. He went everywhere with her. His leg came off and re-attached with a safety pin. His plastic eyes cracked and wore off. We used a marker to paint them back on. Huggie was finally retired on a visit home from college. Yes, Huggie went to college with her too.

    The stories he could tell. The comfort he brought to our little girl named "Sam". This "little" girl's 30th Birthday is Wednesday. I think Huggie deserves to be brought out again to attend the celebration.

    Precious memories! Thanks for the post, Bear!

  3. #3
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    Timely post. Just last night I was lamenting about my favorite flannel shirt. I bought it at Goodwill about 20 years ago so it's past its prime to say the least. One side of the front is pretty much in tatters and I was trying to decide if I should try to repair it, rip it up for rags or throw it in the trash. I'm going to try to repair it as soon as I find some fabric that's close in color. After all, it is my favorite shirt.

    Cari

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    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    There are times when one realizes that if you have a photo of Grandpa in that shirt, or your once little boy in his Cub Scout uniform, you don't need the actual 50 year old shirt or the 25 year old Cub Scout uniform anymore. It takes up space, gets damaged, etc. It is not a crime or a sin to throw things away. Most of us here, (or our parents) were raised in a different era, where things had to be repaired. I'm freeing myself from some of those old chains!
    "He who masters the grey everyday is a hero."
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    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    It takes me a long time before I give up on something sentimental. But, last year I donated many things from my linen closet to flood victims. They were old quilts, new comforter sets, embroidered sheets and pillowcases from my mom, and twin sets from when I had twin spare room beds. The stored linens didn't fit my beds , but, I had saved them anyway. I offered them to other family members and they declined. Now these weren't used, they were new. I finally just told myself it was time I didn't need to save them any more. And, most importantly, these people would love and use them.
    I had a wonderful feeling from sharing those items and cleared out other clothing, coats and household items. How liberating!
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
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  6. #6
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    Bear, this is such a great question. There are no one size fits all answers. I'm the keeper of my family, and by default my DH's family. Siblings, cousins, in-laws etc. Some items are gradually being tossed, but many, and I mean many, are still being kept. I have two shirts from my dad who passed in 2000. I swear they still have his scent. Both need minor repairs. My 38 yo son's baby quilt, made by his great-grandmother is in tatters, but I still have it! Oh the stories that quilt could tell! Not to decide is to decide...sticking with that for awhile!

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    It’s all in the eye of the beholder. A quilt or piece of needlework, which is part of a family history or a piece of folk or textile art – conservation not restoration in my view is the way to go. Restoration actually takes away from the history of the textile.

    If the maker had no intention other than utility nor particular attachment to it, well perhaps dispose of it if it is of no artistic or historic merit, or restore it and get some use out of the item, or finish it and pass it on unused for posterity. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it is worth preserving.

    From a personal perspective: the mass produced, now ratty t-shirts that my late husband wore are important and significant only to me and I have kept these. He was cremated wrapped in his favourite quilt and the quilt made for us by a dear friend for our 25th wedding anniversary (he never saw the finished quilt) is on my bed today and will remain so until it wears out or I do, whichever is first. From a critical point of view is the quilt a great example of outstanding quilting ability – no it is not, but that means nowt to me. It is a precious thing which I shall always treasure.

    As long as these things don’t become a talisman, shrine or prevent me from carrying on… well… who cares. They give me comfort. And yes, I can still smell his scent. However, I am in the position of not having any dependants or family to pass anything on to, so my solicitors get to sort it out. By then, I will be beyond caring.

    Right now, I am doing some conservation work for a historical society on thee of their samplers. Accompanying this I am doing research on the lives of these three girls. Tracing their history which gives me – a stranger, a feeling of connection. These samplers are possibly the only tangible evidence that these people existed but just by the info on these items I have a glimpse into very different lives. These are worth conserving in my opinion and from a social history perspective but on the open market, they have very little monetary value.

    It is a tough call to preserve, conserve, restore or dispose. Do what feels right to you.

    HettyB

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    That's a good question. When my DD was 8 years old, I tossed a very used pair of cut-off jeans shorts that were nothing but threads loosely hanging together. Of course they were her favorite. She is now 56 years old and still has not forgiven me. She brings those blasted shorts up still. I wished many times that I kept them and had them framed and hung them on the wall!!

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    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    If the item was a blue chambray work shirt -that Grandma had made - for example - that Grandpa wore many days of his life - and is now very worn - elbows are gone - collar is frayed - pocket is torn (maybe it should be sold as a "fashion statement"?) - how much effort would one put into "making it like new"?
    In this case I wouldn't make it like new because this shirt would tell a story about grandpa. Maybe this was his favorite shirt or he wore it out doing something he loved. Or maybe that's just how you remember grandpa, wearing this shirt.

    I think your question about restoration might have a different answer for each item and each person.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Luckily I don't keep that sort of things. If I did they would go into the trash and forgotten.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    It all seems to be ( personal) when it comes to ( saving) a rag. A few years ago I had a boss who asked me about repairing a baby quilt. She brought it to me - it was literally a rag- torn strips, just a mess. I told her it was beyond mending. She pleaded- couldn’t accept it not being saved.
    i found new backing, new batting, a muslin ( base); basted the original to the muslin, used tulle ( what would we do without tulle?) covered the quilt with the tule, quilted it all together, bound it, she was thrilled!
    All I could think was - at some point a rag is just a rag. Not that I’m not sentimental, but if you have something that means that much to you- put it away before it becomes a rag. Once it’s a rag it’s time to let it go.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Senior Member DeneK's Avatar
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    I am working on repair of a quilt I made for my DIL a number of years ago. First, taking apart a quilt you made a long time ago is certainly instructive... Second, I will never do this again. I just cant make myself work on it for more than a couple of days at the time and then it sits for sometimes months. My work was, lets say, "less than perfect" and every block needed something fixed and it is a huge oversized king. I wanted to just make her a new one, but she insisted she wanted this one fixed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeneK View Post
    I am working on repair of a quilt I made for my DIL a number of years ago. First, taking apart a quilt you made a long time ago is certainly instructive... Second, I will never do this again. I just cant make myself work on it for more than a couple of days at the time and then it sits for sometimes months. My work was, lets say, "less than perfect" and every block needed something fixed and it is a huge oversized king. I wanted to just make her a new one, but she insisted she wanted this one fixed.
    It may be that she thought she was "making it easier" for you to fix the old one than making a new one.

    Little do they know!!!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeneK View Post
    I am working on repair of a quilt I made for my DIL a number of years ago. First, taking apart a quilt you made a long time ago is certainly instructive... Second, I will never do this again. I just cant make myself work on it for more than a couple of days at the time and then it sits for sometimes months. My work was, lets say, "less than perfect" and every block needed something fixed and it is a huge oversized king. I wanted to just make her a new one, but she insisted she wanted this one fixed.
    It may be that she thought she was "making it easier" for you to fix the old one than making a new one.

    Little do they know!!!

    On the brighter side - your DIL likes it enough to want it fixed and it was used enough to need to be repaired. I would take that as a compliment. :-}

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    My granddaughter and I made a Kaleidoscope quilt for her parents at 4-H Quilt Camp more than 10 years ago. Last year her father brought it here because it needed to be "fixed". I told him that was the last fix, but this year it is back. I told him that the fabric that is left on there is all on the "verge" and I wasn't going to fix it. I gave him another quilt that was about the same size.

    That was not good enough. Their first quilt was so soft and cuddly. So since the back was still fine (probably some polyester) I said I would just re-make the top. I used the same pattern and finished it a few days ago. I think it took me less than a week. Now we need to tie the new top to the batt and back. My granddaughter will help with that again.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

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    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    I used my wedding present quilt from my grandmother until it was very worn. She was so happy that someone actually used a quilt that she made me a new one. I am cutting up the original and framing pieces for my children and me. Other than that, I pitch or recycle everything. I am even giving away all my pictures except the ones on the wall.

    I am not very sentimental about things. I had my deceased mother's class ring. In the 80s when gold was so high, I had it in my hand to sell to buy my daughter's ring when I put it in my purse. I took it to my brother who cried to have it. Obviously, he should have had it in the first place.
    Last edited by Irishrose2; 05-05-2018 at 07:41 PM.

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    My upcoming salvage is to re-make my husband's navy blue wool dress uniform from 55 years ago. It's in perfect condition. I'm going to make hopefully 5 memory bears for our 5 grandchildren from it. From my wedding dress, 2 wedding dresses for our 2 granddaughters American Girl dolls. Already got the wedding dress cut down to workable size pieces. I don't want our 2 kids to think they have to "save" them forever in a box. Whereas creating something new may interest them more and if they want to get rid of it down the road, so be it - I gave it my best.

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    I have quilts from 3 previous generations. We have one son and he doesn't have children. I have great pleasure seeing two of the very worn quilts residing on armchairs in the LR to protect the chairs from the cat who loves to scratch. Somehow she figures the quilts are not to be scratched. Looking at the quilts gives me comfort in remembering the great grandmother who was a widow from the late 1940's until she died in the 1970s. She took over running the farm and raised 4 foster children to help make ends meet. She still had time to make quilts with her community. I like all that these quilts represent. No harm in that. When the quilts fall apart or when I'm gone, well, the quilts will have served their purpose. "To every thing there is a season."
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Senior Member DeneK's Avatar
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    I agree with all the comments... I am glad she values it enough to want it fixed. And yes, she knew it would be lots more work. I told her I would do it, but would not promise any completion date and that it would be a long wait. This one is like one her grandmother made and she really wanted it back. Still, after all the problem I have working on it (my problem, not hers. I just hate doing it) next time I think I would say no.

  20. #20
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Depends on how much sentimental value the item holds for you, and how much is necessary to repair it. Nothing has to be made "like new", but rather just enough fixing to stop further deterioration.
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  21. #21
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    Great question which stirs memories! I'm having a problem with an afghan that my mother started to make for my brother. They are both deceased. A part of me would like to finish it, but it is crochet which I could do but don't really enjoy and would involve embroidery over the crochet. I'll probably never finish it, but don't get rid of it either.

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    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    I recently spent at least 20 hours rebuilding a jacket for a young friend. I'm not sentimental, but he is. The jacket was his grandfather's. The GF gave J the coat while GF was still alive. It had been worn to the point of no return by both of them. Why did I do it? Because J means something to me and the jacket means something to him. Add on; "While you have the jacket apart, can you add some extra lining?" No, but I did. I also added leather to the worn off cuff and pocket edges. What does the song say? 'The things we do for love.'

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    It depends on my attachment. I had a crocheted dresser scarf that my great grandmother made. I kept it until it crumbled every time I touched it. I decided that my memory of it was good enough.

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    When my 4 grandchildren were born, I made each of them 2 small flannel quilts. I gave one to my daughter for my grandchildren. Those ended up in tatters, but I kept one for them to use when they stayed at our house. Now my oldest granddaughter has a baby and he has my copy of her quilt which seems brand new. When the other kids have kids, they will still have a "brand new" looking quilt. Eventually, they will still get their quilt whether they have kids or not.

    In the meantime , I have been trying to re quilt my mother's wedding ring quilt. (For years, she was begging me to take some of the batting out as it was too thick.). I washed both the top and the backing and mended a tear, but the backing no longer fits the top. So, I am going to have to spread out the top, cut new batting and add a new backing to fit. It is still waiting.......
    Last edited by VernaL; 05-06-2018 at 01:45 PM.
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    This is a very good thought provoking question. I know that some things like my late husband's favorite Hawaiian shirts will stay in my closet. However, why am I still holding onto his old stained and well-worn work jeans and jean shorts? The reason is simple: I plan to make something out of them for his siblings and our sons. It's been 8 years and every once in a while I will go through the tub hiding in my closet. My niece wanted some of his shirts to make pillows for my youngest son's wedding 2 years ago but I think they are packed away somewhere in her home now. LOL! I am going through a stage of 'getting rid' of things now so that tub may be cleaned out soon.

    On the other hand, I know that all of the boxes of pictures, paperwork, memories from the 4 of us, etc is keeping me from feeling totally free because I know it should be done, but no interest in doing it. (I hope that makes sense.)

    I just went through some quilting books, magazines, and patterns and will be donating them to our church garage sale. Baby steps.

    The quilt that I made in high school (late 60's) is in need of repair in places but it just rides now in my car in case of an emergency. It only has significance to me,
    Connie

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