"The Needleworks" is about texture and tradition
woven together to create original and contemporary pieces
to enhance one's home and wardrobe. Pat Trexler and Nancy
J. Thomas, former editor of Vogue Knitting, offer up-to-date,
fresh perspectives on helping needleworkers sharpen their
skills and enjoy their hobby more.
LEARN CROSS-STITCH TRICKS FOR MORE NEEDLEWORKING ENJOYMENT
a previous article on cross-stitch, we received several
letters. The first is from Lillian D'Ambola of Whippany,
N.J., with questions on the care and mounting of finished
Do cross-stitch pieces have to be washed after completion?
It's not necessary to wash your finished piece unless
it has become soiled. The natural oils from your hands
can cause soiling during the stitching process.
If it needs to be washed, what solution should be used?
The embroidered fabric should be washed in cold water
with a cold-water washing agent. Use a gentle cleaner
such as Ivory Flakes or consult with a local needlework
shop to obtain a product that is specifically for embroidery.
Don't use a detergent-based product.
To frame cross-stitch, can it be placed on a sticker board
purchased in an arts and crafts shop, or do you suggest
that I use the services of a shop that does framing?
You can use sticker board found in crafts stores. Many
professionals use a similar material for displaying embroidered
work. It is a bit tricky to get the piece straight, but
if you take your time and follow the lines of the Aida
cloth, you can do it. Make sure it is secure in the back,
as the adhesive of the sticker board tends to loosen over
time. If the piece is large or you've invested a great
deal of time to make it, you may want to take it to a
professional frame shop. Just be aware that they often
use the same type of sticker board material. Our best
advice is to discuss your framing options with the shop
before you make a final decision.
Should cross-stitch pieces be framed covered by glass
or left open?
Using an open frame is the best method. This allows for
the best viewing of your lovely embroidered stitching.
Don't forget that needlework is a tactile art that is
meant to be touched -- with clean hands, please. If it
becomes dusty, you can place a piece of screening over
the embroidery and then run a hand vacuum slightly above
the piece to pick up any loose matter. You can also spot-clean
the piece with a damp cloth patted carefully on soiled
Should the cross-stitched fabric be sprayed with waterproofing
We don't recommend this practice. The reactions of the
elements used in these solutions are not known; they may
adversely affect needlework pieces over time.
Matthews of Ocala, Fla., tells us about a solution to
her cross-stitch problems:
friend gave me some sheets of 10-squares-per-inch graph
paper in an effort to interest me in counted thread embroidery.
Along with that she gave me 14-squares-per-inch Aida cloth.
I designed a sampler, bought thread and started to work.
Immediately I discovered that my chart paper was larger
than the embroidered rendition.
putting the project away for weeks, I found a paint supply
store with pads of squared graph paper in four different-sized
squares. One set was 14 squares per inch that exactly
matched my Aida cloth. I bought it!
I transferred my design to the paper, not only did I get
the exact size, I also eliminated the need to count stitches.
By folding the paper in various ways, I found I could
easily work the design without counting. This was important
as I had two young boys at the time who would always ask
a question as soon as I began to count.
shared this idea many times over the years, and I hope
that you'll pass it along to many more. It reduces the
frustration, tedium and time wasted by frequent counting,
leaving one free to stitch and enjoy!