Friday, September 22, 2017

How I Do It - Framing Part A

Will share how frame my cross stitch finishes in a couple of posts.

Part A - I will show how I measure for the frame and how I mount and pin 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.

I used to work in a frame shop.  We used sticky mount boards and aligned the design with the edge of the matte.  I don't do my framing that way.  I don't like to use sticky mount board.  I use acid free foam core or matte board.   I use stainless steel pins and lace the back, removing the pins before I put everything in the frame.  I use conservation or museum quality glass as either one prevents the fabric and threads from fading due to natural sunlight or lighting in the room.  I feel if I am investing my time, money and talent on a stitched piece, I want the end result to be seen and protected.  I don't matte my pieces.  I use the frame as a means to get the piece on the wall so it can be viewed.  Much of what I have on my walls in my home is my stitching that I've either framed myself or had someone else do it for me.

I center the stitched piece on what I am mounting it to, using my tape measure to check for evenness and that it is centered along all four sides during various stages of the mounting process.  I like having my work centered because I feel if it is, it helps with the framing process with an end result being a nicely framed professional looking piece. Plus I've learned a few things down through the years.  Some from frame shop pros, some from those that have framed pieces for me, some from what others have shared when they frame pieces.

First thing I do when I frame is determine the border I want with my fabric.  I don't like alot of open fabric showing.  I usually go with a 3/4" to 1" border.  I want the viewer's eye to be drawn to what I've stitched or what is being framed, not lots of "wasted" fabric.  As I said, the frame for me is just a tool to get the piece up on the wall.  I do like to have the frame compliment my stitching and by that I mean the color and style of the frame draws out the colors found in the stitched piece.

With this piece, I am going to use a 3/4" border.  The design isn't very wide.  Long.  But not very wide.  I measure from the far most stitch on each side 1".  I'll explain why there's an additional 1/4" further on down in my post.  I pin at the 1" mark on all four sides.

Will add here, that having it pinned like this makes it easier for the framer when I order my frame.  I just tell them, "I want the edge of my frame to come to where the pins are.  You do your magic with the measuring and making of the frame and I'll handle the rest."  It works.  Haven't had any mishaps since I've started to do it that way.  I order my frames from the local Hobby Lobby or from the LNS.



The opening of the frame on the back is one size.


The size of the rabbet (lip of the frame) where the glass, spacers and mounted piece rests on is another measurement.  I need to know both the WIDTH and the DEPTH measurements when I select my frame.  With the width, I need to include it when measuring for my foam core. With the depth, I have to consider if it will be deep enough for the embellishments on my piece - would I have enough room to put the glass, spacers, foam core in the frame with enough space left over to use my points (will explain what those are in another post in this series) and not have my buttons and/or beads damaged.


I wanted a 3/4" fabric border all the way around my stitching and the rabbet of this frame is 1/4".  3/4" + 1/4" = 1".  This measurement will be what I use to make sure the piece is centered on the foam or matte board.  The glass and foam core or matte board that is used will be cut with this additional 1/4".  It's important for me to know what the size is on the rabbet of my frame so I can add that to my measurement of what I want my fabric border to be.  If I just did a 3/4" inch and didn't figure in the additional 1/4" for my frame, come time to mount and put my piece in the frame, my border all the way around would only be 1/2".

Another way of explaining it is to determine your fabric border and add the measurement of the rabbet of the frame on all four sides of the piece.

I do a quick check to see that the opening of the frame is where I want it to be.  The pins rest near the edge of the opening.  The frame will work.  Looks good.



The frame is good.  I now double check if the foam core has been cut correctly.  See tip below.  I have attached  buttons on this piece and feel that the depth of the frame molding will be okay for me to use foam core.  I have used acid free matte board to mount some of my stitched pieces.  I like foam core as it's easier to pin.

Checking the cut and size of the glass, spacers (used when there are buttons or beads) and foam core.  Looks good.  I can start mounting the piece.

TIP:  Make sure color of material you use to mount your piece on isn't seen through the fabric from the front.  I had stitched a design on navy blue fabric framed and the framer used white mount board that showed through on the front.  I had it reframed and the framer used black mount board.  Turned out much better.

TIP: Cut mount board so that it is snug in the frame, not tight, not loose, but snug.  Also if your frame is square, for example a 6" x 6", notating where the top helps you remember which side is which.



I center everything when I go to finish my cross stitch pieces.

I determine the center of  the piece.  I determine the center of the foam core.

If I take the time to center the piece on the foam core, it will aid in the mounting process.  It takes time and patience but it's worth it to me.  Saves me time and grief in the long run.

I use a pencil and mark the center - both vertically and horizontally.  I also make sure the center is marked along all four edges of the foam core.


I bring a stainless steel pin up from the center, pencil marked side is kept away from my fabric, facing down...


and bring the center of my stitching down on the pin.


Once I have the center pinned or in place, I then pin the center of the fabric along all four edges to the center of the foam core along each side.

I now have five pins in the foam core.  A pin at the center point and a pin on each side at the center point of that edge.

TIP:  With this piece it was pretty simple to find the center for all four sides.  I just had to count the stitches on the squares.  When I've framed "open" designs, I have marked the centers one of two ways - basted a wee little thread line that could be removed after the pinning process OR I've used a couple of pins on each side (picture an arrow) to mark the center.  Just something to let me know I am working with the center of the fabric on each side and the center so I can match it to the marked line on the mounting material - foam core or matte board.



After I have the centers pinned, I count threads and make sure it is centered.  I may have to move it a wee bit to the left or right or up or down.  Once I feel it is totally centered, I will measure.  It is centered.  I have 1" from the edge of my stitching to the edge of the foam core on all four sides.  I'm a happy camper.





I now prep the fabric to pin.  For me, with my eyesight beings the way it is, I like helpers.  In this case, I use a basted thread line to guide my pinning.

I thread a lengthy piece of DMC pearl cotton.


I start at the center of one of the edges, baste a line towards the end. I keep the pin in place, as it is my anchor for the center of this side or edge.


I go back to the center, rethread my needle with the opposite end of the thread and baste a line towards the opposite end.


Once the line is basted for that edge, I put the pin back in place.


I repeat the process with the other three sides.


Okay, now my guide lines are in place on all four sides and I can start to mount my stitching on to the foam core.

I pick a side and in this case I pick one of the longer sides.  I start at the center and work with the pins, pinning down the side towards the end.  I don't push the pins all the way in.  I do that when I am totally done with all four sides.  Leaving the pins up like this makes it easy to remove and realign or adjust the fabric on the foam core.

When I pin the fabric to the foam core, I am doing a gentle pull, not hard, just gentle and pinning.  I put the pin in front of the basting thread.  I zoom in on one of threads on the fabric and between that thread and the basting thread, for the most part it's aligned and will look good in the frame.  Don't want to pull too tight on the fabric as it will cause the threads in the fabric to slant and be too tight.  Want a nice relaxed look with the fabric.  With this piece, it was folded up in a baggie to protect it.  The pinning process will straighten that out.  Having said that though, I have pressed pieces in the past when I knew the creases would not work themselves out when I did the pinning.  I have stitched on and framed aida.  My fabric of choice is mostly evenweave and some linen.



When I get to the end, I return to the center aand work on the opposite end of that side, repeating the process pinning towards the other end.


Once that side is done, I do the opposite side of the side I just finished and repeat the process shown in the above.





I eyeball the alignment, making adjustments as I go along.  Once all four sides have been pinned, I do a final lookie see and if I like what I see, I lower the pins all the way around...


so I can pop it in the frame and check how it looks from a distance.


I like how it turned out.  Looks even, centered.  Looks good.


I do a final measure on all four sides.  Sometimes the design looks off center or odd when placed in the frame, but if it measures equally or matches on each side, I'm done with this part of the framing process and I can move on to the lacing.  If not, I tweak where needed.





Having a stitched border around a design has its pros and cons.  The positive is it makes it easier to have a straight line to follow or know where to pin per se.  The negative is you know when it's not aligned right.  It doesn't look good,  the lines are not straight.  It takes patience to get it where it looks nice.  But once it gets there, it's there and it's nice.  Once it is in the frame, and hanging on the wall it's kind of hard to adjust or realign the mounting.  This part of the framing process does take time but as I have already stated, it's worth it in the end.  When I get done with this part of the framing process, I'm 75% done with framing my piece.

Will also say that once you have done your framing like this and feel confident in what you are doing, you might skip a step or two.  I have and do but for the purpose of this How I Do post, I shared all the steps I have used when I frame my stitched finishes.

Next up is how I lace the back.