Week Twelve: Spot Sampler Finale (w/c June 29)
Here we are at the end of our Diamond Jubilee Stitch-A-Long!
In this, our final week, we will cover the finishing technique of displaying your Spot Sampler in a Ready-made Frame.
Having decided to frame my Spot Sampler I first did a bit of shopping in my stash hoping to find something suitable.
I could have chosen to have my Spot Sampler custom framed by a professional Framer but decided to save my pennies to do that for my Diamond Jubilee Sampler.
I could have ventured out shopping to investigate the Ready-made Frame options – IKEA, Spotlight, Big W, giftware shops and photo processing places are all my my list. And I have bought online from https://www.pictureframe.com.au/ before.
I found I had a Ready-made Frame that would give me a 2 centimetre clearance around the embroidery and that the 15mm black edge enhanced the embroidery without overwhelming it.
(I was tempted to go looking for a woodgrain finish or perhaps gold or brass but put my purse away and worked with what I had.)
The following is my process from slate frame to presentation frame!
1. Preparing Your Embroidery
I decided that I would block my embroidery ‘in situ’.
The purpose of blocking your embroidery is to ‘refresh’ it and to remove any puckering, grubby marks and creases. Key to achieving this is laying out your embroidery evenly under tension which can also be achieved using a slate frame.
I have in past classes, been advised to use purified, soft water for a final rinse / blocking as this is what is used in textile conservation. From the laundry aisle at the supermarket you can pick up de-mineralised (or de-ionised) water. My atomiser has only ever been used for blocking.
I have taken care to keep my Spot Sampler protected as I have stitched it so I didn’t think it needed a wash just a light misting. With scissors and tweezers at hand I made sure all the tacking had been removed , ends trimmed and fluff removed. Then I sprayed it without drenching it.
To dry, I placed this right side up somewhere where it would dry evenly. Not in the sun or near a heating duct.
This image is a piece of my Crewel embroidery where it has been removed from the frame, pinned out under tension and pretty much soaked. Linen Twill is a sturdy fabric and can handle this. I have used Push Pins into chip board. My hammer and pliers are nearby.
This is so worth doing in my opinion.
My Spot Sampler after it has been blocked.
2. Preparing the Mat Board
Some like to use Foamcore rather than Mat Board. I am happy to use either.
I used Mat Board on this occasion as I knew glue was involved and I think Mat Board handles glue better.
Cut your Mat Board to fit your frame opening. Most commercially available Mat Board is 1.5mm deep so we use two pieces. Remember that you need an allowance for fabric – at least 1mm for each side.
A good friend acquired some conservation grade bookbinding glue and I was lucky enough to receive some. I used that as it was on hand. PVA also does the trick. Make sure you apply glue on both sides. My Mat Board is pink which I don’t want to see so I glued the pink sides together.
The biggest book in my house! This was left overnight. One tip – use an inexpensive emery board to file down any imperfections on each side.
I like to add a layer of pellon to the Mat Board to cushion any plunged threads or bulky woven threads ends. I hold it in place with some double-sided tape. This means the front of the embroidery remains smooth with no unsightly ripples.
As there are a number of Drawn Thread motifs on the Spot Sampler there is a question about what you can see through to and what colour would best enhance the embroidery. Pellon is not suitable so I chose a white inexpensive poly-cotton fabric to line the Mat Board.
The poly-cotton lining was cut 5cm bigger all around. Using the same conservation glue, two sides were pulled tightly over and glued in place.
Bulk was cut out of the corners.
Then the remaining two sides were glued down. You should not see a ripple in the poly-cotton lining when you drag a finger nail across it. If it seems a little saggy then pull it tighter.
Another night under the big book while the glue dries. Rule in some centre lines on the back to help with the next stage.
3. Lacing Your Embroidery
There is often a debate about whether it is worth doing the lacing step yourself or leaving this to a framer. I think it is always a good question to ask a framer how they plan to stretch your work for framing. If you don’t like their answer then perhaps tackle this step yourself. Or find a framer you do like!
I like to leave the last couple of stitches of the tacked centre lines in place to give me a head start with lining up the embroidery over the Mat Board.
The next task is to pin the embroidery in place on all four sides. This should be under tension with the same thread of the linen on the edge of the Mat Board. This is your time to check and double check your placement.
Being right-handed, I lace from right to left. You will notice that my stitches are high and low into the linen and I take a reasonable size stitch each time. This is to ensure that I don’t put pressure on one line of linen thread. Once laced, lift each thread to tighten. Repeat this process until you can see the tension on the threads. Check the front of your work to make sure everything is how you want it before finishing off your lacing thread.
Cut out the fabric at the corners to reduce bulk.
Roll in the trimmed edge to create a neat corner. I like to pin all four sides in place.
Then repeat the lacing process. I usually leave a thread or two longer which I can then use to help remove the embroidery from the frame later on as inevitably I will need to.
And then you are done! I am happy that I lined the Mat Board with white poly-cotton, I think it enhances the Whitework motifs so they balance with all the colour.
4. Preparing the Frame
To preserve your embroidery it is best that it does not rest against the glass of your frame. Many Ready-made Frames are manufactured for photographs and often include a Mat Board border that can give you 1.5mm clearance which in many cases is enough.
However the Waratah flowerheads and my couched diamond in gimp challenged that option especially as the border supplied was paper not Mat Board!
So I chose to put some spacers into the frame. I decided that white would be my preferred colour (not black or sometimes I paint them gold). And very often I choose to use 5mm Foamcore for this purpose.
Once cut to size I use double-sided tape to hold the spacers in place. A good clean with some methylated spirits get rid of smudges and gremlins and the frame is ready for the embroidery.
I then drop the embroidery into the frame and in this instance I was not able to use the metal grommets to hold the backing plate in place so I used framers tape instead.
And we are done! My Spot Sampler is now ready for the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition!