Saturday, September 30, 2017

Christmas Ornament Exchange Finish

Tracking says it was delivered today.  

Had started with another design, fabric and threads.  After struggling to interpret the chart and see where to stitch on the fabric (was 32ct linen) I pitched everything as in it all but the threads went into the garbage can and I started over.  

Exchange partner said she liked snowmen.  I found a cute whimsical design and stitched it.  Only thing I wish I could have done differently was with the cording.  I don't know how to make twisted cording (I can set it up and twist it, just when it comes to where there's resistance and of letting go so it twists into a length of twisted cord - that part I don't have mastered yet) and I wanted a cobalt blue cord trim along the edge.  I shopped in all the craft stores in this area and could not find cobalt blue twisted cord.  I shopped online but most of what I found was supplied from overseas and shipment was more than the cost for one yard of cording.  I passed.  I made do.  I did get a splash of cobalt blue in with the ribbon bows.  

The fabric I chose for the back had shiny silver swirls.  Made me think of blowing snow.  

Had new Christmas red and green DMC thread, a Christmas colored (red and green) tatted bookmark, a snowman themed grime guard for a 11" Q-snap frame ready to send with the ornament.  Received an email from the person saying all she wanted was just the ornament.  I get that as that was all that was required for the exchange.  The ornament was the only thing I put in the bubble mailer to the person.  I like to send extras expecting nothing in return except a stitched ornament for an ornament exchange.  This was a first for me in doing exchanges and I have to say that hurt.   

I like how it turned out.  

Whimsical Snowman with Cardinal
Leisure Arts 78 Cross Stitch Designs Christmas Ornaments
28ct Wedgewood Blue Jobelan and DMC Threads
Stitched 2 over 2
Completed 09/20/17
Number of Days Spend Stitching This - 4
Finished into Ornament 09/28/17

Items Used For Ornament Finish - Cotton Fabric, Matte Board, Cotton Batting,
Sewing Thread, Twisted Cord, 1/2" and 1/4" Ribbon, Button

Sunday, September 24, 2017

How I Do It - Framing Part D

In Part A I showed how I measured for the frame and how I mounted and pinned the piece to prepare it for the frame.

In Part B I showed how I lace the piece.

In Part C I showed how I put everything together in the frame.

In Part D, the last post in this series, I will show how I finish the back of the frame, attach the hanger hardware and apply the bumpers.

This is how I do it.  What works for me.

For the last part of framing a piece, I will use a double sided tape dispenser, a piece of brown packing paper, a utility knife, pencil and tape measure, hanger hardware and in this case it's a sawtooth hanger, a hammer and bumper points or pads.

I bought my double sided tape dispenser from Amazon.  The bumper points/pads are also a purchase from Amazon.  These come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures.  Mine are rubber, clear and circular.

First thing I do is run a line of tape on all four sides.  I don't tape at the edge or near the opening of my frame, kind of in the middle.

All four sides done.

I take the piece of brown paper and starting at the top, I lay it along the top side first.  I smooth out the paper from the center out, mindful of the stickiness along the sides.  Once the top is done, I work down my frame, side to side, going slowly, smoothing out the paper as I go.  I don't want wrinkles, bubbles, open areas in the paper.  I want a nice smooth finish.  I take my time.

All four sides are done.  I then go back to the top and do another smooth and press down all four sides.  I run my hands left to right and press firmly on the paper that is on top of the tape.  I want a tight seal.  The purpose of the paper on the frame is to keep the dust and lint out.

If my piece was such that I didn't have to use spacers and I had enough room in the rabbet of my frame, I would have covered my stitching with a piece of matte board instead of paper and used points to secure everything in the frame.

Paper works.  Brown paper is strong.

Now I trim the paper off the frame.  I run my fingers down each side to give me a crease and then I use my utility knife to cut the paper.  I cut in about 1/4" from the edge, give or take.  Not too close to the edge, but then again, not too far in that I cut into the tape.  I am trimming so it looks nice and neat on the back and at the same time keeping the width of the tape intact.

TIP:  Have a sharp blade in the knife.  If not, paper fuzzies show up on the sticky tape.

All trimmed.  Looks good.

TIP:  If I do accidentally cut into the tape and tape residue is left showing when I remove the paper, I just rub my finger along the frame and the tape balls up and is easy to remove.

Using my tape measure, I mark the center at the top of my frame.

I select a hanger.

For this piece, a simple sawtooth hanger will work.  My framed picture is long and narrow.  It's not very heavy.  A sawtooth hanger will do just fine.  If my framed piece was heavier or larger I would use something else.

I have used hangers shown on the left.  I now use hangers shown on the right.  So much easier to attach to the frame.  Saves my fingers and my sanity.  Trying to nail wee little nails without bending the I said...the other hanger is good...for me.

I match the center of the hanger with the penciled x and attach to the frame.  The wood in this frame is soft.  I don't need to prep a hole for the hanger.  If I had to, I would use a nail, tap a couple of times for a "starting hole" and then nail in my hanger.

After the hanger is on, I attach my bumper pads.  I attach them (they are adhesive on the back) to the highest point along the bottom of my frame.  These pads will help keep my frame from sliding along the wall.  It protects the back side of my frame.  Nice.

On the wall and looking good.  I'm a happy camper.

POM Series 11/14 to 04/15 Life is a Gift 
Stoney Creek
28ct Beige Jobelan, DMC, WDW, Classic Colorworks, ThreadWorx and 
Glissengloss Rainbow Blending Threads, Suggested Embellishments
Stitched 2 over 2
Started - 04/24/17
Completed 07/19/17
Number of Days Spent Stitching on This - 35
Mounted, Laced and Framed By - Myself - 09/24/17
Hangs in Living Room With Other (3) Stoney Creek Pattern of the Month Finishes

How I Do It - Framing Part C

In Part A I showed how I measured for the frame and how I mounted and pinned the piece to prepare it for the frame.

In Part B I showed how I lace the piece.

Part C - I will show how I put everything together in the frame.

Part D - I will show how I finish the back of the frame, attach the hanger hardware and apply the bumpers.

This is how I do it.  What works for me.

Once I get to this part of the framing process, I'm sliding down hill so to speak.  It doesn't take long at all.  Less than 30 minutes or so.

First thing I do is clean both sides of my glass.  I make sure there are no smudges, dust, lint, kitty hair (I share my space with a precious kitty, Leah).  I use warm water and a wee bit of Windex.  I lay out the glass on a clean white towel, spray the Windex and then wipe with a damp cloth, using circular motions so I get all the Windex off and the glass is dry.  I then lift the glass up against a window or a light making sure it's clean and dry.

Will interject this here, I have used museum glass when framing a piece and take note of which side that has the special coating and need to go next to the fabric.  It is usually printed somewhere on the glass.  It says "this side faces towards artwork" or something to that effect.  If it's not on the glass, ask.

I take my frame, glass, spacers and mounted and laced piece to the basement where I have my framing tools and a nice wood table to work on.

All I need tool wise is my point driver.  I used this tool years ago when I worked in a frame shop in a craft store.  Makes it nice.  Prior to having this driver, I would struggle with putting points in with a screwdriver.  I bought this on Amazon.  Came with one package of points.

Other items for this part of framing I will need are spacers.  I am using 1/8" clear spacers.  I have used 1/4" spacers.  I have bought them precut as in the framer cuts them for me and wraps them with the glass or I have bought a length of spacer, usually comes in one yard lengths.  When I've bought a length of spacer, I use a wire cutter or strong scissors to snip the length I need.

TIP: When snipping a length, hold the shorter length in your hand and snip. The longer length will fall to the floor and you can find it easier.  If snipping off a smaller section, do it over a wastebasket - the material has a tendency to fly and it might be hard to locate.

TIP: Spacers differ in color and construction.  May be clear, may be white, may be black.  They are different in type/construction.  Some are hollow (as is the case with the ones I am using with this project) and some are solid acrylic - can be hard to snip or cut but I've found using a wire cutter works best when I've had to cut or trim to fit.

My glass is washed and resting in the frame.  My mounted cross stitch is ready to be put in the frame.

First thing I do is peel the strip off of the adhesive on the back of the spacer and attach it.  I've been told by a professional framer that it is best to attach the spacers to the FRAME and not the glass.  Reason for that is if the glass shifts, your work inside the frame, resting on the spacer shifts too.  I've done that.  Put the spacers on the frame.  However, in this case, with this piece, my glass is snug against the frame, my spacers are such that if I attach them to the frame it will raise my mounted piece higher in the frame due to the side that the adhesive is on.  I don't want that.  I need the space in the rabbet for my piece - it has buttons on it. So I make the decision to attach my spacers to the glass, butting snug up against the frame.  When I attach the spacers, I do the long sides FIRST, then the short sides.

I start at the top, gently place the spacer down and work my way down the side.  The adhesive is strong and sticky!  Once in place, hard to remove it.  I use one hand to push down the spacer and the other hand to guide the spacer down along the frame.  I want the spacer on the glass and at the same tie right next to the frame.  When it is all in place, I run my hand down the spacer making sure it is secure and in place.  First side is done.  I repeat the process with the spacer for the opposite side - the other long side.

Then I do the short sides.  If my spacers are too long for the area on the short side between the two long sides, and sometimes they are, I do a quick trim and I'm good to go.

All the spacers are in, looks good.

Now I take my mounted piece and before I drop it into the frame I do another check to make sure there's no bits of anything on the glass or on my stitched piece.  I also make a tiny X at the top.  This lets me know where the top of my frame is.

Mounted piece is resting in the frame on top of the spacers.  Looks good.

Now I use my point driver and eyeballing where the center is, I drive a point in the center on each side.  Just one point, at the center, each side.

I gently push the driver down on my fabric(don't want to catch my fabric in the point) and at an angle into the frame and pull up the lever.  The driver pops and a point is released.  I don't press too hard as I don't want to crack the glass.  I have overshot on the frame and when that happens I just use a pliers and pull the point out and redo.  No biggie.

All four sides done.  The purpose for points is to secure everything in the frame.  I don't need to go overboard and go point driving crazy!  With this piece I put two additional points (forgot to take a picture to show that) in on the long sides.  One on each side of the center point, centering it between the center point and the end.  The short ends didn't need it.

This shows the spacer.  It is keeping the fabric up and away from the glass, allowing space for the buttons.

Some of the larger sized buttons.  Look good. Not smooched or damaged.  I'm a happy camper.

Next up is how I finish the back and attach the hardware.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

How I Do It - Framing Part B

In Part A I showed how I measured for the frame and how I mounted and pinned the piece to prepare it for the frame.

Part B - I will show how I lace the piece.

Part C - I will show how I put everything together in the frame.

Part D - I will show how I finish the back of the frame, attach the hanger hardware and apply the bumpers.

This is how I do it.  What works for me.

First thing I do when I lace is gather my mounted piece that has been pinned to a piece of foam core, a tapestry needle, my thread, scissors and in this case with this piece a thick towel.  I will be lacing my piece on my kitchen table and it has several buttons.  Putting a towel down will cushion the front and prevent damage to any of the buttons.  Plus the towel will help me slide the mounted piece back and forth on the table.

I am using a tapestry needle with an eye big enough for my thread and DMC #12 pearl cotton thread.  

Next thing I do is decide which direction I want to lace first.  Vertically or horizontally.  Lacing the longest first or the shortest first.  I also think about what I would like to have going into the frame when I put everything together and use my points (will explain what that is later in this series).  I know I will be folding my corners in a certain way so I factor that into my decision.  I also consider the lacing process - how I want my threads to be pulled - what I mean by that will be explained in this post.  

This is the short or horizontal direction of my design on the front.

This is the long or vertical direction of my design on the front.

I decide to do the long or vertical direction first.  I thread my needle with a fairly long piece of thread. I don't knot my thread.  

I then start to lace.  I make my first stitch or leg of lacing by doing a simple straight stitch.  I want to anchor my thread. 

I make my first stitch close to the edge of my foam core, using three to four threads on my fabric, not to close to the edge of my fabric.  I pull my thread all the through the fabric, leaving a small tail.

I do it a couple more times, wrapping my thread in the same place each time and then bring my needle up from the back through the center of the wrapped thread/stitches.  I am using a couple threads in my evenweave fabric, between three or four.

I go to the opposite end and do a straight stitch.  Again, using between three or four threads in my evenweave fabric.

Keeping my thread evenly spaced and straight, pulling lightly, not hard, not too tight I go back to the other side and do a  straight stitch.

Time to add more thread.   I take the needle off my thread, unwind a bit from the ball of thread, bring the two pieces together and do a simple knot.  I then take the ball of thread and unwind a length, cut the thread and rethread my needle.  I found this method works easier, is quicker and my thread doesn't knot up so bad.  

As the first picture shows I needed thread just after I did a stitch in the fabric.  I made the stitch and had thread to add on more after getting pass that stitch.

When I don't have enough thread to make a complete pass through or turn around with my fabric, I back up, snip the thread and repeat the above couple of steps.

Lacing on the long or vertical sides is done.  Now I need to anchor and cut my thread.  Before I do this though, I go back...

and do a light pull on the threads.  Not hard, not strong, lightly to get the looseness out of them.  When I did the lacing, I used even pressure, kept the lacing thread straight and even.  When I am done with my lacing, I want to be able to pull out the pins from along the edges and not have my fabric slide.  I took the time to pin so my piece was centered.  With my lacing I don't want to have to repeat that step (pinning) or have to realign or readjust.  My pins hold my fabric so I can lace.  I want my lacing to hold my fabric and kept my stitched design looking nice, even and centered.

There is excess thread during this step.  I will be able to pull that out at the very end.  Having this step in mind when I add new thread (think knots) helps me from having to pull knots through the fabric. If the knotted thread is near the middle of the lacing or middle area of the foam core, the knot will move during this step, but the knot going through the fabric will be at a minimum.  If it does happen, and it did for me on this piece, I just used a straight pin and worked the knot through the threads of the fabric.

When I have the threads taut, not tight, I end the lacing for this direction the same way I started it.  I wrap my thread around a few of the threads in the evenweave fabric and bring my needle up through the middle.  I cut my thread leaving a small tail.

Looks nice.  Is even.  Space between the lacing is even.  Straight.  Evenweave fabric is not stretched or pulled.

Now I prepare the other direction for lacing.

I fold over the ends, working to even out the fabric so it lays nice and smooth.  I pin to hold the fold in place.  I do this for all four corners.

Then, as with the long side, I thread my needle and take my first stitch.  However, with this stitch, I go through both pieces of fabric, just once on the end, both sides.  I start off by doing a couple straight stitches and come up through the middle.

I go to the other side, go through both pieces of fabric and continue on lacing. I only go through one piece of the fabric for the remainder of the folded over area on both sides.  I go through both pieces of the folded fabric on the far outside or where the fold is.  That's all that is necessary.  I want to anchor my thread and secure the end.

With this piece, because it is so long on this side, when I needed to add thread, I pulled the already stitched lacing so by the time I got to the finish line or opposite end, I didn't have to go back and do the whole entire length of lacing. Plus the lacing with these two sides was short not like the other two sides - the vertical sides.  I didn't want to have to pull a knotted connection through my evenweave fabric.

I end the lacing the same way I did the other two sides.

Lacing is done.  Looks nice.

I do one final lookie see on all four sides, inspect the front and seeing that it all looks good, I pull the pins.  I leave the basting threads in.

Front.  Looks good.  Even.  Nice.  Fabric stays in place.  Lines are even.  I'm a happy camper.

Have to say, as with quilting and finding the binding and hemming very relaxing, so is pinning and lacing.  Very calming.  Very relaxing.  Once I get into a rhythm with the needle and thread, it goes smoothly.  I take my time in pulling my thread through the fabric - makes for less knots and tangles that way.  Saves time in the long run too.  Don't have to take out and repeat.

Next up is How I Do It - Putting it in the Frame