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AROUND THE FRAME: RESTORING A QUILT; RENOVATING A BUILDING

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John Stiffler and Herb Hernandez remove the former building sign on a beautiful October afternoon. It takes many steps to restore a quilt. First you have to examine it to determine what damage has occurred: rips, stains, loose seams, binding without its "fold", color fade, bunched batting, loss of embroidery and/or quilting stitches.

Next you ask yourself how far back do I want to restore it: pristine condition, the day before the dog chewed it, before it was put in the washer without first testing it for color fastness. Then what types of fabrics and threads will be needed to do the restoration: cotton, poly or blends?

Time is a factor. How much time do I have to expend on the restoration and is there a deadline? Does it need to be restored for someone special before the baby is born, the daughter is married or Christmas is here again?

Prioritizing the project is necessary: Tackle the most time consuming steps first or the most difficult? Some steps need to be taken before others: adding batting before repairing or replacing the fabric on the top or bottom of it. Binding replacement is at the bottom of the list after all the rest of the work is complete.

Over the past two months I've discovered renovating the new home of Born Again Quilts is much like restoring a quilt. First comes the list of all the projects and determining which ones require professional help, which ones require additional manpower and which ones you can simply do yourself. Writing and prioritizing the "to do" list, the first project is the only one requiring professional help: the basement. Interior Channel opens the old coal chute in order to move concrete down into the basement for 17 new support posts. Next come the walls. Tearing off old wallpaper, two coats of primer and lots of spackling for drywall and concrete to cover up all the holes left behind over the past 80 plus years, followed by two coats of paint. This is the time-consuming grunt work that I learn to do and get into the rhythm of the work just like the rhythm of quilting.

As mentioned in the previous ATF column John Stiffler grandson of the former Stiffler Hardware owners wanted to take down the sign. On the perfect Thursday afternoon John and my friend Herb take it down and the building façade looks 100% better. Alas we find the plywood is simply that: plywood: no writing, no logos, nothing on either side. Although John is disappointed, all is not lost. For up above in the milky colored plate glass we find the word "varnish": certainly a hold over from the hardware store days. We see glimpses of other letters too high to discern from the ground and there is no time to check them out: too many projects still to complete.

Not ready to give up a call is made to Sam Hall of Hall's Restaurants to see if he has any photos of the restaurant now a vacant lot two doors down. He is doubtful since wide-angle camera lenses did not exist back in the day when the restaurant was a vibrant part of the neighborhood, but you never know.

So now piece-by-piece a quilt I've been working on is closer to being restored and project-by-project the building work is nearly complete.

Please plan to be at 4005 South Wayne Ave. this coming Saturday, October 20, 10:00 a.m.- 4 p.m. when the doors of this former Hoosier, Kroger, hardware, and antique store; photography studio and beauty shop are open and experience the transformation from its ugly duckling former state to its new look.

Special thanks to Neal Bowman of Sperry Van Ness the real estate advisor for his invaluable assistance in helping us procure the building.

Great Happenings Happen when people come together!

Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts. Contact her through The Waynedale News  or website www.bornagainquilts.com.

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Lois Eubank
About This Author
She is the author of the "Around the Frame" quilting column. She is a graduate of Wayne HS. Quilts have always been important to her, she loves the stories surrounding them, the techniques used in making them, & restoring them.
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