Firstly a big thank you to Country Bumpkin for the blog mention in their newsletter last week, I got home from my teaching trip to a flood of emails and was touched that my feeble attempts at blogging had been recognised. So thank you all!
This week I thought we would talk about framing – it is a very integral part of needle painting embroidery as most of our pictures end up hanging on the wall at some stage. It is a lovely sunny day here in Cape Town so I set off this morning with my camera to try and capture some of my framed pieces that hang on the wall. I try not to fill my house with embroidery, as its not fair on the inmates to impose my stitching obsession on them, so have a designated area on a staircase wall where I hang the pieces I like best and rotate these from time to time. Now taking photos is not my forte, my family are testament to many headless photos in our album ( in my defence it does make for interesting viewing as we have fun guessing who the person is in the photo) but I am generally banned from taking photos of any important events! Here is a photo of my daughters taken on a trip to Australia………. you can understand.
Framing Your Embroidery
Firstly it is important to leave a good 4 ins/10cm or more of fabric around your picture to ensure that there is enough additional fabric for framing. There is nothing worse than trying to mount a skimpy piece of fabric and it will spoil your embroidery.
If you work is grubby it is best to wash it. Washing helps the threads to lie flat and enhances the colour by removing the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into your embroidery. Remove the work from the hoop or frame – wash in tepid water using a mild soap powder the type you use for baby clothes. Rinse thoroughly in cold water and roll up in a fluffy towel to remove excess moisture. If using silk thread you need to dry it quickly because the dyes can bleed, but if using a well known brand of stranded cotton it should be fine. Lay the fabric (picture face down) on a fluffy towel or padded surface and iron on the back of the work till it is 95% dry. Allow to dry flat.
If your work is puckered you can wash it in the frame and leave it to dry because this will block your work and remove the puckering, but don’t do this if you have used silk or threads that are not completely colourfast.
You can either lace your own work onto a piece of acid resistant card or if you are like me, too lazy and would rather have more stitching time, you can take it to the framers who will stretch it for you. Ensure you use a reputable framer who does not use staples to stretch the work as these will rust. They should use acid free double sided tape or similar and it goes without saying they should mount it on acid free board. Don’t be tempted to use a framing company because they are cheaper – if you spend a bit extra on your framing it will last forever and many generations will get pleasure from it, but if you skimp it will most likely deteriorate over time. It is not my intention to send you to the poor house (:) but remember you get what you pay for, rather only frame your special pieces and get them done well.
A good framer should be able to advise you as to the best way to mount your work – by this I mean enhancing the embroidered picture, not detracting from it by adding too many coloured mounts and extras. I tend to keep the mounts neutral and pick up the colours in the picture on the edge of the mounts only, this ensures that the picture is the focal point and results in an elegant, restful picture. So simple is best and less is more.
The next thing to consider is whether to frame a picture individually or as a set. Here is an example of 3 Kingfisher birds mounted together. They have been mounted individually with off white mounts and coupled together with a raised mount. The mount lip is painted in jade green to compliment the birds.
I tend to have a lot of my pictures mounted without frames so that I can carry them easily to workshops – this is a good idea if you are giving one of your pictures as a gift and want to post it, or leaves the recipient free to choose their own frame. It saves a lot on the cost but at least you are presenting it in style!
This is very much based on personal preference but faced with a plethora of choices it is a good idea to take the advice of your framing shop. I tend towards very simple, but striking frames in dark wood,probably because a lot of the furniture in my home is made from teak which we bought before leaving Zimbabwe so it ties up nicely. However I have had some pieces framed in whitewashed wood which is softer and fits in nicely with the bedroom schemes.
Here are some examples.
When it came to Elise I felt she should have something a bit more elaborate to compliment all those goldy tones in the picture so I went with a gold guilt frame but kep the mounting neutral so as not to detract from the embroidery.
The last thing to consider is glass – I tend to go for reflective rather than non reflective glass – I feel it allows the picture to show through more clearly but this is up to you. If any of you have something you would like to contribute to this article or some advice to offer we would love to hear from you. Meanwhile wherever you are in the world have a wonderful week and happy stitching. Trish