Client approached us with request to wash and remount the Silk Needlepoint made by her father in early 60`. She requested that the new mounting would fit into the original frame. We agreed to wash it, remount it and get it to framing company we use.
We took the Needlepoint to the framers, where we detached the needlepoint from the frame for them to be able to provide the quote for reframing with protective glass for the client.
We took apart, we noticed that the needlepoint was overall in very good condition. There was no damage on stitching, no loose thread ends but it was in desperate need of deep clean and wash as it had been in frame without glass in smokers’ home for at least 30 years. Before we proceed with any cleaning, we tested the threads for colour run to be sure that we won’t damage the piece. We did cold and hot water test on the threads. In the meantime, we removed the stitched piece from the old wooden frame held by staples. On some of the places the staples over the time turned rusty and become fragile, what complicated their removal as the broke during the process. After we removed the staples, we vacuum the whole piece several times from each side to lift the loose dirt. The vacuum had to be done before the wash as the smoke residue could cause dust particles to turn into glue and stick to the thread. We covered the vacuum nozzle with the piece of fabric to see the amount of the dirt.
Once we finished the vacuuming, we heated the demineralised water temperature over 30 degrees Celsius to break up the smoke residue. During the first wash we used gentle Horse shampoo to prevent the protein breakage in the threads. The water after first wash resembled dark Ale. After the second wash the water still was coming up dirty and this time it resembled the cloudy cider. The water after the third was looked like weak tea. After the 3 washes we gave it good rinse to remove residue as much as possible. To brighten the piece and break the yellowing of threads we give it purple shampoo wash. During the whole washing process, we noticed that the piece relaxed and skewed diagonally, what told us that the piece was stitched without being on the embroidery frame. We left it to dry flat for few days until completely dry.
Next step to get the piece ready for mounting was to stretch it onto the calico. It was bit longer process than usual due to the unexpected skewing. Once stretched we re-tighten the tension of the frame for 24h to make the final mounting easier. We mount it on cut to size Dibond and took it to framers to put it back to frame.