1. Lots and lots of dirt!
2. Lots of red dye!
3. Unfortunately, all of the fabric on the back disintegrated, probably due to the mordant breaking down the fibers. The fabric literally shredded, and much of it was in a lump at the bottom of the pot.
I then took off the ruffle which was the culprit for the dye leaching. The ruffle was badly faded, and had started as a beautiful hot pink. It would have been lovely to keep it intact, but it was just not in the cards.
Next, I started pulling off the foundation fabric on the back of six of the blocks which was made of the same fabric as the backing. What a shame... it came off as easily as tissue paper.
|Shredded Brown Foundation Fabric|
The result is not as pretty as the starting piece... by a long shot. Washing was necessary, but destructive, and has really made me rethink what I will do with the piece. It is in much better shape in some ways... the wool fabrics have texture now, and are beautifully "fulled". The beautiful indigo foundation fabrics will be helpful in dating the piece, as will the mordant identification which ultimately ruined it. (I'll look in my books by Barbara Brackman and see if I can identify any of the fabrics by manufacturer...). None of the holes in the wool or cotton fabrics grew, but they are more noticeable now that the piece is clean.
Any further ideas before I make a final decision?