Trying to Save a Damaged Piece of Stitching

This piece is one I did in high school and framed while working in Roderick’s Arts & Crafts, so around 1983-1984. I gave it to my parents, and it hung in their family room for 20 years or so. At some point, its glass was broken (probably early on, as my mother swears she doesn’t remember it having glass).

My father smoked throughout those decades. He worked in HVAC, so their house has always had the very best air cleaners money can buy, with the filters changed/cleaned religiously. His computer(s) were in the family room, so he spent a lot of time there.

The first picture shows the piece with its frame and mats. The second shows it after I took it out. Note the huge difference in the area that had been protected by the matting. Yes, that fabric really was white at one time! While I should be able to clean the metal frame, I think the mats are probably a loss, as they’ve been discolored, too.

I feel these pictures are both a strong argument for using glass when framing stitched pieces and against smoking.

After soaking overnight in a strong OxiClean solution, the piece was much cleaner but still visibly soiled. The solution was a nasty yellow-brown color. Anything that can discolor OxiClean scares me. I dumped it out, rinsed the piece, mixed up more OxiClean, and put the piece back in to soak longer.

The third image is the result of about 24 hours of soaking in OxiClean. Obviously, it isn’t truly clean yet. I fear it never will be without measures that would damage the stitching.


Damaged piece in frame Damaged piece out of its frame

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