Monday, January 11, 2010

Santa's Surfboard Repair

Fixing the stitches I took out of Santa's surfboard and forgot about until after the ornament was assembled was actually quite easy.   I pulled out my stash of specialty needles and choose a curved needle (it's on the right) and a double-ended tapestry needle.  I figured that these would be more useful than a regular tapestry needle for stitching the empty two stitches back on the canvas.

Remember, I have felt backing glued onto the ornament.  That means that my needle can go right through the felt without having to pass through any sort of padding or stiffener.  I threaded up my double-ended needle (the eye is in the middle) with three plies of the medium brown DMC floss I stitched this area.  I made sure I cut a long length of floss, around 18 inches.  One never knows how much thread one will need in these situations and too much is better than not enough.

Then I stuck my needle tip into the bottom of the first stitch and pushed it through to the back at a sharp angle so that the needle would come out the back side close to the edge.  Once the needle came out the back side, I took the needle off the thread and adjusted it so that I had plenty of thread on both the front and the back.  Then I threaded up my needle again and inserted it in the top hole of the first stitch and down to the bottom hole of the second stitch.  This is what you see in the photo above.  I wanted you to see how the needle is positioned.

Pulling carefully on my thread, I tightened the first stitch into position, added by my laying tool, as I pulled up on the needle to bring the thread up from the hole of the second stitch.  Then I plunged my needle down through the canvas and the felt backing to end the second stitch.  Again, I used my laying tool to smooth the stitch into position as I pulled.  The needle's exit point on the back side was also angled away from the two stitches toward the edge of the ornament.

At this point, the front of the ornament looked normal but if I flipped it over, two thread tails stuck out of the back of the felt.  I pulled each thread snug (being careful to not disturb the two new stitches on the front) and clipped each close to the felt.  The cut end pops back under the felt if you clip it while pulling up on the thread tail slightly.  Remember, you don't want to disturb the stitches on the front side, so don't yank the thread tails.

The two stitches are not as secure as their neighbors but they look just like all the rest on the front.  If necessary, I can repair this canvas again, too.

I am not the first person to find missing stitches or have to repair a finished piece, and I won't be the last.  You can read about Amy Bunger's reattaching a bell that came off a finished stand-up elephant piece in her Kelly Clark Nativity set when it came back from being on exhibit at the Milwaukee Seminar here.

These things are not the end of the world.  Using specialty needles like the ones above (although I probably could have used a plain long beading needle) and a little spare thread, you can fix these problems.  You just have to think through what you want to do and how it is likely to work.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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  1. Oh Thank Goodness. I was soooo afraid .

  2. Not to worry, Margaret. I've never had a NP disaster I haven't been able to fix or one I didn't learn from.