Framing Tip 8: Blocking Needlework

Blocking Needlework is Rewarding…

Especially if you’re the one that did it. But it is nice if you can show your friends how to block needlework too,  Plus it can save you money.

Preparation:The very first thing one needs to do, is if it isn’t clean to send it to the dry cleaners particularly if you don’t’ know what kind of stain is our your work. But if you decide to hand wash it carefully so  your embroidery threads doesn’t bleed and ruin your needlework. The next thing is to iron it and get all the wrinkles and creases out.

Supplies needed: I like to use T pins and foam core board , to block my needle work.  The reason – is the pins can be inserted into the foam while you are trying to straightening out the lines to match up with the rest of the art work. There is acid free foam core out there now and that will prevent your needle work from yellowing over time. Although I have used the regular kind and have had not trouble with my artwork yellowing.

Frame Requirements: If you are going to place this in frame without glass. Then  you’ll need to measure your frame inside where the needlework and cut back about 1/16 inch all the way around to make sure there is enough room for the material to be wrapped around  the board and placed in the frame securely . You can try this before you actually get ready to assemble this part. You might need to take little more off as some needle works material is thicker that others.

Matting: If you are going to mat your item, then you need to allow about 2 inches for the mat to rest on the needlework. What I mean is that if you block your needlework you need to take it out about 2 inches past where you want the mat to sit on your piece of art work. Make some ” L” shape mats or card board and place them around your art work so you can figure out how much space you want around the main subject. The rule of thumb is allow about 1/2 inch  – 2 inches from the main design. Just depends on the look you’re wanting. Then go past that mark about 2 inches and wrap it around the board. Didn’t leave enough material, well you could sew some on to the piece you already have or go to Plan B. 🙂

Blocking: There are two ways to do this.If you are uncomfortable with  gluing it down to a board permanently then I suggest that you will be lacing your needlework back and forth as this picture demonstrates. How ever, you can still center your picture on piece of foam board, pin it up by inserting the T-pins into the foam while trying to get it center on the board in preparation of lacing up the back. Then after the lacing is completed. Take the T-pins out. There are rust proof pins you can purchase and use and then just leave them in there. But I prefer the latter method.

Image result for building picture framing back side to insert needlework

The second way you can do it is place your piece on the acid free foam board start pinning by using the Tpins around the outside of the board.                                            After you have gotten it squared up then turn it over. To keep from having a lot of bulk on the corner, take the corner and bring it up first to glue down. Then bring up the sides and glue them down. I like to use Eileen Sobo  Tacky Glue.

Image result for preparing needlework for framing

Some framers will tell you that it will yellow your work, I have not had any trouble doing this. I have been doing this for over 20 years and my work still looks nice since the day I did it. I recently shared my expertise with some gals from the Geneseo Art League. They enjoyed knowing how to block their needlework. Counter cross is one the easiest one to do as the lines are there for you to follow.

However,  if you have a needlepoint to stretch into square or rectangle. That is different story.  Those type need to be rolled up in damp towel for few hours and then your need a heavier board to work on such as drawing board or piece of plywood. You’ll need nails to keep it straight until it dries. There is lot of yanking on these too. Must have a good grip to do this.

Actually it  is best not to work on your needlework when you are stressed as your stitches tend to be tighter. It is best to do it when you have relaxed a bit before starting.

I hope I have given you some pointers that will help you along with your project.

Produced by Mary O @ Prairie Pine Peddler



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