Repair and Restoration of Knitting and Crochet – Heirloom Lace Tablecloths, Afghans and Blankets a Specialty – And Other Fine Needlework Fabrics and Garments … (Current 2022)

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crochet granny square afghan repair
In Process, a classic for restoring – the Crocheted Granny Square Afghan

Please continue to scroll this post to follow instructions for a  response to your inquiry.  Be sure to scroll all the way down for additional content — lots of material to see and learn about the processes of repairing, restoring, and refurbishing.

A bit about me:
I am Susan Kerin, a nationally awarded knit and crochet designer.  My design work has appeared on the front of national yarn catalogs as well as on the front covers of nationally published “Best of” needlework books.  I’ve been knitting and crocheting since the age of ten.  I have also sewn my entire life, winning  a “Singer Sewing” contest at the age of twelve.  Sewing projects are included in my offered services.  Other background information about me is at the end of this page, keep scrolling.

Repair, Refurbish and Restoration Professional Services:
Do family cherished heirlooms or other special pieces need TLC restoration, refurbishment, or some sort of repair?

For several decades now,  I have applied my expertise in repair and restoration to work of all kinds — knit, crochet, and many other fabrics. Projects include pieces that are not necessarily heirlooms but also those items that are special enough that you wish to keep them but which are in need of repair.

All projects — small to large in size and needing minor to major work — are important to me because they are important to YOU.  It is all stimulating to me when someone has recognized the personal value of their textile that needs “help.” 

Pieces of History:  I am always excited to hear a personal family history of pieces from those fortunate to own them and who thoughtfully make inquiries to have significant needlework survive.

ExpertiseThe repair and restoration process includes pattern dissection, replication and seamless insertion into knit and crochet fabric, clothing, linens, heirlooms, fine garments, and other needlework genres and textiles.   Fine thread crochet lace repair is often a focus (fine thread bedspreads and tablecloths).

KnowledgeI have a personal resource library of over 3,000 books and publications on the fine arts of knitting and crochet along with related needle work and other creative genres publications.  this is a cherished collection from which I study needlework history and patterns.

The Cleaning Process is often necessaryIn many cases a piece that is supposed to be a shade of a certain color (particularly white or ecru) needs cleaning when it is darkened, stained, or yellowed  toward brownish in color from age.  Before the multiple step washing process, important time is spent tediously inserting lifelines throughout the piece so that existing holes and breaches do not become further damaged when being cleaned.  An additional result after cleaning is that the research and study of thread color leads to a perfect match.  This is because the heirloom is now cleaned — making seamless restoration even better and the problem areas are almost virtually impossible to find.

TransformationFor any needlework or textiles piece that you may believe is unable to be fixed because you might feel that  it could be “too far gone,” often it CAN be repaired and even, often surprisingly, fully restored.  Or, creativity takes hold … it can be transformed into something “new” when only certain amounts of the piece are viable to further its life.   You are a BIG part of that.  Brainstorming creative options are thoughtfully well-communicated in ongoing chats with you after cursory examination.

NationwideFor over twenty years I’ve  worked a wide range of projects arriving on my doorstep from across our United States  where I apply my detailed study of patterns and needlework.

A Combination of Skill Sets:   Most always a combination of skills is employed.   I am able to apply  many  genres of needlework.   As well, machine sewing is often becomes an element  of  a restoration or a creative transformation.    As a writer/editor, after interviewing the client about their legacy piece, I often write a history page to accompany a finished project.

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Testimonial

Susan did an amazing job on an heirloom lace mantilla (scarf worn in church) that belonged to my mother.  The lace had aged quite a bit and had several holes.  I contacted Susan to see if she could repair and restore the piece and she responded promptly.  She worked with me and provided various options to bring the piece back to life while managing my expectations with what can be done with old lace.  Susan helped come up with a solution to fix the holes and prevent them from spreading further.  Her work was meticulous and detailed, and the result turned out better than I could have imagined.  I was especially appreciative of the care she took with Mother’s lace, knowing how important the mantilla was to me.  I am so glad I found Susan and would highly recommend her.

After she finished my project I asked her about a couple of other items I had that might need repair.  I didn’t even know whether they were knitted, crochet or some other sort of needlework craft.  I found out that whatever the genre is, she knows what you are talking about, tells you what kind of needlework it is and gives good insight.  What I particularly appreciated was that when I asked her whether the items were worth salvaging with professional repair and restoring, she was very up front with me about the reality of  the issues to consider and then how to make my own best decision whether to  have a restoration done. She didn’t — at all — try to talk me into a project and it was comforting to have her advice.  She comes up with extremely interesting options to salvage damaged pieces.  It was stimulating to hear her thoughts as we chatted.  Her creativity seems unending; she came up with ideas I never thought were possible.    She really thinks out of the box while all the while focusing on maintaining the historical and family aspects of the project to still maintain it as an heirloom piece.

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crochet lace tablecloth epair

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Crochet lace restoration

Testimonial

I was indeed excited to find you completed my project so soon.  Thank you so much!  What I found when I looked at the precious work of my Grandmother made was so surprising. I did not find repairs. I found art restoration of incredible quality.  Your masterful work literally brought tears to my eyes.  I will never forget the gift you shared with me by accepting this item into your care.

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sanchez

Testimonial

Thank you so much Susan.  We will pass this crocheted tablecloth as a wedding gift to my daughter.   Besides the sentimental value of the heirloom, this rich history further validates the investment in it’s restoration.  I am so pleased with the work you did in restoring it to its 1940 glory.  The color match is perfect, and I cannot tell at all where the repairs were made, although I know there were many. The cleaning is also amazing, yet it retains the patina appropriate to its age.  I’ve told her father about the gift and he is very touched at the thought.  We can’t wait until she opens it!  We plan on giving it to her at her bridal shower so we can be there when she does.

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repair photo

repair photo

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Val Jennings montage of repair projectBedspread repair restoration project.  The project had been started many years ago.  Multiple motifs were out of gauge.  These were further disassembled as needed and reworked to size.  Then the bedspread was assembled and finally finished with a compatible crochet edging pattern. The bedspread photo on the right that appears as a totally different color is the newly washed bedspread now at the owner’s home.

Testimonial

Susan, I am so glad I found you.  I am awed.  I did not realize how beautiful it would turn out.  What a job! 

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TO RECEIVE A QUOTE PLEASE CAREFULLY FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FOR A GOOD CHAT  (Updated 2022)

Note:  All Inquiries require a telephone conversation before a quote is established and be sure to follow these directions.

Note:  .jpg attachments preferred for all photos needed below.

And, remember that old adage that “A picture is worth 1,000 words”.

GETTING THE PROPER PERSPECTIVE OF THE WHOLE SHEBANG
(1) Take a photo of the entire piece laid flat, then

(2) Take photos of the general problem areas, and then
(3) T
ake closer-up photos of the holes within those general areas just taken (10 to 15 inches distance), and
(4) Include information about the history of the piece within your family or otherwise how you came to own it and what you know about it.

(5) Email the photos along with your full name, city, state, telephone number WITH YOUR TIME ZONE  along with the history of the item … to my email address below.  I typically call within 24 hrs. but I quite often call within fifteen minutes of receipt!
Send as many photos as necessary, remembering that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
PLEASE — be sure to follow these directions to allow for a thorough chat about your piece.  And, thanks in advance!  (I will be calling you from Ocean Pines/Ocean City, Maryland, EST)

(6) Email to:  SusanDianeKerin@gmail.com

TIMING:  I always say give me six to eight weeks but I usually get it done relatively quickly because I don’t like to have projects hanging and always am anxious to take on and complete a challenge.  Projects are worked in the order in which packages are received.
THE PROCESS:  I match the thread gauge and color as closely as possible, as well as match the needle gauge and the pattern to restore to original.   This is work for an expert who knows what they are doing,  Beyond that, the work is tedious and labor-intensive.  Holes in fabric get MUCH LARGER before they get smaller … a good analogy would be like taking the car to the body shop for a little ding and the diagnosis is that a whole quarter panel must be removed and redone to take care of one little dent that impacts multiple areas of the car, and then the car will become “whole” again (forgive the PUN!)
PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING:   I’ve been doing this for over twenty-five years, and I have an excellent reputation as an heirloom and fine garment repair/restoration artist.  I care very much and maintain a certain level of intensity in my work in these fields.
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Don’t We Just Love Our Pets

Dont we just love our pets artwork on Skerin

The Perfect Storm - The Pet + The Piece + The Paws Jaws & Claws

The Inquiry, below.  “The Dog Did It” – below

knitting repair
  knitting repair

The Inquiry:   have a knitted afghan that was handed down from my husband’s late mother. It was knitted by his late Aunt. She has been gone close to 20 years. We consider it a family keepsake. She had no children, and she doted on my husband.
My husband’s cockapoo, Malcolm, is almost two years old. I always make it clear that he is not my dog. He is sneaky and cunning and he got to the afghan when we thought it was in a safe place. There are no safe places.  The afghan has 4 areas that need repair. I hope that you can at least stabilize the damage so the blanket can be used without causing further damage.

Testimonial

The Testimonial:  Well, what can I say. The afghan is perfection! Not only is it spotlessly clean (I had no idea it could be that color), but the torn areas were so skillfully hidden by your repairs, my husband and I had to take several minutes to even locate the original injuries to the piece. And even now we are not sure!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving a beloved family piece! John’s Aunt Honey’s work will live on in our family and be handed down intact. Without your work it would have ended up in the trash, and what a heartless loss that would have been. I promise to keep it safe; and your number will remain in my contacts list.

 

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The Inquiry, below.  “My Dog Ate My Doily” – photo below

my dog ate my doily
So my husband was given this doily from his mother and
I believe his great grandmother or grandmother made it.
Not completely sure.  I just know it’s old and I don’t even know if the person who made it is alive.
They have a ridiculously large family and it’s hard to keep everyone straight.
Our dog, who he will likely kill when he finds out, decided to chew on it and I’m assuming
ate part of it. It looks pretty hopeless but I figured I’d give it a shot in asking if there’s
any way it can be repaired. Thanks!  Annie G
.”

I had to chuckle as I read her words because I immediately thought of that old expression, “My dog ate my homework.”

I called Annie and we had a chat about her doily dilemma and her need for lace repair services. This is life and these things happen. With many years of knitting repair and lace repair projects under my belt, I’ve heard many stories like this when one is faced with a damaged family heirloom needing repair to replicate and restore the pattern to make it whole again.

The good thing is that we realize the legacy value of these fine arts when we are fortunate to have one handed down to us from loved ones owing such skill.  Once a lace repair is complete, we often rethink how the item should be used for the future.  The cost of lace repair can be minor or major, depending upon the size of the job. Sometimes an heirloom piece, like the pineapple doily in this case, is professionally framed and hung afterwards, especially when it may be the only item made by Grandma that you own. It stays perfect after the lace repair and is displayed prominently for family to appreciate.

Others put completed lace repair projects such as doilies under glass. That is, a table gets a sheet of glass over it with the lace repair displayed under it for viewing, without danger of drink spills, soiling from daily wear, and of course the “DOG”.  This could also be done with a repaired tablecloth of manageable size in which it is under the tabletop glass and the remainder of it hangs.  Often when a lace bedspread is restored it is used as the attractive bedspread but removed at bed time.  Or, it may be aesthetically pleasing displayed as a runner across the end of the bed, or placed hanging from a blanket rack.

During our chat, I had suggested the episode might become a handed down, memorialized, family story – if she did not want to have the lace repaired she could still frame it with the story and photo of the dog included in the frame.

Now, getting back to the “DOG”…  Later in a follow up email Annie noted:

“I was so afraid to tell my husband what had happened and thought he would be devastated and upset. It turns out I was more upset than he was!   Thanks so much for the very creative consultation today and also for sharing  your impressive knowledge and abilities!
And P.S. The dog lives to chew another day.”

 

 

cat damage afghan before resized

The Inquiry, below.  “My Mother’s Cat Ate My Afghan” – Photo Above)

I have attached a photo of an afghan my mother made. She passed away
last August at age 95.  She was very active to the very end and still driving. Over many years, during winter months she crocheted afghans as gifts. This one I believe was made to use up leftover yarn. It is a pattern she only used this one time. Unfortunately, her much loved cat, Cali, liked it as well and chewed a few holes in it!  My Mom always said she wanted to “fix” it but never got around to getting it done. Cali passed a few months before mother. If possible,
I would like to have this repaired. or at least stabilized.  It measures about 61″ x 31″.  Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. 

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crochet lace repair
crochet lace restoration – above photo is finished work.  Photos below are the project in-process.

lace crochet repair

Great Grandmother’s Bedspread (photos above and below):  Stitch patterns were replicated to original.  Repairs are seamless.  Existing scattered holes were restored to original replicating stitch patterns and merged seamlessly with existing stitches.  In the areas that look a little rough, this is Great Grandmother’s original crocheting.   Several areas had irregular stitch gauges as a result of different sized crochet hooks she used.  While she was making the bedspread, she may have put her work aside at various times and whenever she picked it up again, she picked up and used the wrong sized crochet hook.  Alas, a part of its history!  A large part of the side panel was totally replaced, newly worked in existing pattern (below photos:  at left is the before photo, at right is the newly worked panel).

crochet repair completed

Testimonial

I received the crocheted bedspread you restored and immediately put it on my bed.  Every time I walked by it brought back wonderful memories of my Mother who had made it for me when I was a child — the ties that bind.  You did a wonderful job.  In Japan there is an art of repairing broken pottery so that the repaired piece often becomes more beautiful than the original and it is given a second life.  You applied that art to this bedspread and I am so thrilled that it, too, now has a second life.

When I first spoke with you about the project I sensed the depth of knowledge you had on the subject and appreciated how well you explained things, even the things that were not yet known!  Your knowledge of the history of patterns was highly impressive.  That you noted you studied daily in your many thousands of books library was certainly notable.

You stayed true to your word and kept me updated in impressive detail as you progressed on the extensive work.  I admire your style and communication abilities.  Thank you again for the great work and for sharing your knowledge with me.  With warm regards, B.L. Miami FL

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crochet repair
Left bottom photo – heirloom table scarf repair restoration completed and under glass
and photos at top and bottom right show broken stitch areas

Testimonial

“Susan, I Love It, Thank you for Your Talent!”

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Yankee Sweater restoration
Above:  Yankee Sweater, circa 1925,  Knitting Repair Restoration

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from this to this

Above:  Tunisian Afghan Repair Restoration

Susan, what an excellent job you have done.  Glad I found you.

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Beth fixed namefor Skerin page

Testimonial for Above

What do you do when you want to restore a moth-ridden 50-year-old afghan made by a favorite aunt?  You take it to Susan Kerin. I’ve known Susan for only a short time.  However, I found her to be an extremely skilled professional whose passion for her work is captivating.   Her energy is boundless. And most importantly, her devotion to restoring and transforming this afghan was both unquestionable and reassuring.  Her work has made it possible for this tattered heirloom to be transformed and become a family treasure to be handed down for generations. I actually traveled to Susan’s studio to pick up the project when it was completed and toured her interesting sanctum.  I was able to experience a bit of her repair, restoration and creative processes first-hand during her summary review of the work as she explained how the work evolved.  Beth in Maryland.

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Bessie Ruth Lawson pic
Photos left to right beginning at top:
1) afghan “before” condition, as received.
2) releasing the knots for assessment.
3)  fabric selection and figuring out the pillow cover.
4) Pillow completed and laying out the pillow case.
5) Laying out a swath for restoration to then applique onto pillowcase.
6) Swath onto the work frame for restoration needlework.
7) Creating stitches and gauges for pillowcase trim.
8) Pillowcase with pillow inside.
9) Creating the first picture frame of the “before” afghan condition.
10) Creating the second picture frame and the story of the cherished pieces.
The photo at above right are the finished projects, a treasured pillow to hug with love and a memorial put to ink.
   

Testimonial

An incredible experience.  I wished to give my girlfriend a very special gift for Christmas in having her great grandmother’s afghan restored, which she has slept with her entire life.  I had a multitude of research and site searching experiences before speaking with Susan Kerin.  Before we talked, I truly thought that my hope of restoration for such a beloved, valuable, piece had been lost, since it was about reduced to rags. She is the only person who treated this project with grave concern and communicated surprising options from which to choose as far as ways to approach this undertaking.  I was simply in awe. 

My experience with Susan and her expertise in repair and restoration services has been extremely enjoyable. Her creativity seems to hold no bounds.  She is personable and approaches each project with generosity. I never needed to call her to inquire about progress, as she was highly communicative through all stages of the project with periodic phone calls and emails; I was never left wondering.

Susan took what I thought was lost and what she accomplished was overwhelming.  What an incredible transformation. I could not be more satisfied with the outcome. My girlfriend can now sleep with a piece of her beloved great grandmother forever and the framing project was as incredible as the pillow and pillowcase. Susan gave me a great sense of trust in working my project.  Susan is trustworthy and articulate. This experience exceeded my expectation in every single way.   David S. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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Testimonial

“I contacted Susan to repair a turn of the century hand crocheted bedspread I had purchased several years ago. The edge of it was becoming totally unraveled all around and I desperately wanted to restore it so I could continue using it, as this is a blanket I really treasure.

After doing some online sleuthing I came across Susan’s website and from that moment on, I knew my bedspread was in expert hands. She understands the sentimental value of the things you are entrusting her with.  She answered all my questions and kept me apprised throughout the process.  I viewed it as an investment in the future and in her utmost expertise and decades of experience – truly, I believe you get what you pay for.

I think she is really dedicated and knows her craft.  She is truly unique.  In our first conversation she was able to give me the approximate year of the original pattern, talked about the historical aspects of such needlework and all kinds of interesting details surrounding her work and her process.   It was a great experience to chat with her and learn so much.  I found out she has a needlework library room where she studies and she has more than 3,000 books.  It amazes me to think of her collection.

My bedspread has a new lease on life and looks good as new! Susan, thank you for taking my project on and providing me with many more years of joy.”   Thank you so much, Susan.  B. in New York

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Testimonial
Just arrived home last night and today opened the box from you…
it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!
I can’t tell you how happy I am.
I am so glad I found YOU!!
You have a truly wonderful and special talent!!!
Thank you so much!!!!!
Myralu

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Testimonial

Wanted to thank you for such professionalism, from initial contact through finished product and delivery. Sitting with my Grandmother’s project in my lap, completed by your expert and caring hands, left me in tears, and with a full heart of appreciation and wonder at your expertise and process.  Rest assured, should anyone ever ask or say they are looking for someone of your caliber, you will be strongly recommended. Your attention to detail was exemplified in a finished restoration that will be, as you say, a legacy piece. 

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Where It All Happens – The Creative Sanctum of Susan Kerin
Repair and Restoration Artist, Knit and Crochet Designer

creative sanctum

Above:  The Library  – 3,000+ books on the fine arts of knitting and crochet along with related needle work and other creative genres publications.  This is a cherished collection from which I study needlework history and patterns.

creative sanctum

Above:  The Studio Office  – Leaving the Library and walking across the hall.

creative sanctum

Above:  Desk Central in the Studio Office  – Book research from the library moves to the office for continued pattern study for restoration work and historical inspiration for new design work.  Private lectures with instructional lessons in knitting and crochet and other needle work genres also take place here.  Teaching includes learn-how as well as custom lessons in areas of special interest to the client.

When repairs and restorations are completed, there is the task of writing notes detailing what was done to bring a piece to whole again.

For new designs, swatching of pattern ideas happen here.  Instructions are written and patterns are tested.  Then the photo shoots are done.  A final edit is performed and pattern instructions for needle workers are declared complete.  Lastly, the new pattern is posted to the website.

creative sanctum

Above:  Project Tablewhere a whole lot happens.  Swatch boards on the wall are the result of test swatching new design idea elements during the creative process.  The swatch boards become by-product artwork providing continued inspiration, and they’re lots of fun to make, too.

swatch boards wall of all fitted on page in publisher enlarged

swatch boards

Other background:
– I am a writer/editor, which dovetails all-so-well with the production of written pattern content.  I am geeky/techie/nerdy.
– I perform my own photo shoots for my design work and tutorials, etc.  I create the design/content work on my website(s).
– I teach and lecture on the fine arts of knitting and crochet here in my studio/office.
– Lessons are one-on-one for undivided attention to the student and customized lessons to advance skill levels.
– I am also an on-site professional organizer.
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