Because I purposefully seek out vintage weavings and antique fabrics, I'm occasionally drawn to a piece that has had a hard life. If the piece is too damaged, I must pass on it or, if it is just stunning, I'll keep it in my private collection. One day 20 years ago, the owner of the designer showroom where my pillows were on consignment asked me if I would repair a large Aubusson rug. What? He asked because I had many aubusson fragments made up into glorious pillows, so he assumed I knew how to weave them. I took it as a challenge and said, "yes."
I taught myself how to find matching wool (not that easy) and educated myself on how to affix canvas in the case of holes that needed to be rewoven. The rug fix was a big job and I felt a sizable pressure to deliver a quality job. It took a month. Happily, the showroom owner was pleased and I had a new skill.
I use that skill often in the case of vintage needlepoints that come to me with missing stitches. Repairing a needlepoint or petit point is not as taxing as reweaving an Aubusson but, one must have the exact color wool or silk to do the job well. So, I began collecting vintage yarn samples (see photo). I now have hundreds of bundles of samples. The best colors are the ones that have faded slightly. Those are perfect matches to old needlepoints!