Wednesday, February 6

Cross Stitch Framing : The Lacing Method

The Lacing Method
I admit, this is the method I usually use to finish my pieces for framing.  It works great, you can fiddle with it a little bit, and it doesn't damage the piece.  Five years later, if you decide to unlace it and make it into a pillow, you'll be able to do it.

This is a great method for larger pieces of needlework, but it's great to learn on small pieces!  So here we go:

Your finished and pressed needlework piece
A frame of your choice that is the correct size for the item
Matte board (or foam board)
A rotary cutter, mat and ruler
Strong cotton thread (I prefer to use a glazed quilting thread)
A sewing needle and scissors

Check the fit
First things first, double check your frame size.  Make sure the finished piece fits inside the frame area with at least 1 inch overlap on all sides.  You'll need the overlap area to lace into.

Cut your matte board (or foam board) to the size of the picture area (mine is 3 1/2 x 5 inches).  You want a snug, but not too tight fit.

 Center and Pin
Lay your needlework face down and place the matte in the center.  Push a couple of pins into each side to hold it in place.  Flip it over and make sure your embroidery is centered.  You may need to fiddle with this a little bit to get it straight and even, but there will be room for final adjustments later.

Begin Lacing
Leaving the pins on each side, thread your needle with a nice, long, doubled length of thread with a good size knot in it.

Starting at the top right corner, bring your thread underneath the overlap and through the fabric, about 1/2 inch from the edge.  Run it across the board to the other side and up through the fabric, then back across.
You can see how it looks in the photo below :

Continue lacing down the sides, pulling the thread taut.  If you run short of thread, add another length with a knot (it doesn't have to be pretty, just secure).  Continue to the bottom edge.

Now, go back and pull each strand taut, working your way down toward your needle.  You'll be surprised how much slack you pick up!  Holding the last strand in place with one hand, take a couple of stitches in the bottom corner, knotting each time.  Tie one final knot and cut the excess thread.

Repeat this process for the remaining two sides, removing the pins as you come to them.  You'll need to fold in the corners slightly, so they don't overhang the front edge, as shown below :

Final Adjustments
You'll find with this method that you can "scooch" the fabric every so slightly if it is out of kilter.  Flip your piece over to the front, and check your alignment with your ruler.  If it's a wee bit wavy, gently "roll" the fabric straight with your fingers.

Insert it into the frame and replace the back.  Done!

Next up :  The Pin Method

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