MTS conservators stabilized the slits using three different techniques, depending on the severity of the damage. Small slits were closed with a traditional whip stitch using a cotton-polyester thread. Longer slits were mended with tabby reweaving, where the repair thread was passed over and under alternating warps to restore a network of stability while closing the tear. Where groups of splits were most severe, such as along the middle where the area rug had been folded, we employed patches of cotton duck to which we made our tabby and slit stitching. In this case we had to work with one conservator standing over the rug on tables and another conservator lying on the floor beneath a gap in the tables. Losses to the binding edge were stabilized with new cotton warp yarns and Appleton wool yarns from England. All four corners of the area rug were also supported with cotton duck patches to prevent future damage. Finally, the fringe edges of both rugs were reinforced by floating cotton/polyester thread through each knot on the reverse.
The two William Morris Hammersmith rugs will be displayed this spring at the Breakers, one of the most famous of the Newport mansions run by the Preservation Society of Newport County.
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