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Cross Stitch Framing

We are constantly amazed, saddened, and sometimes horrified by how other framers treat cross stitch. We've seen cross stitch dry mounted, mounted to sticky board, plywood, card board, we've seen scotch tape, masking tape, duct tape, glue, finishing nails, and staples. All of these things done by "professional" picture framers.

If you bring your finished cross stitch to Keepsakes, you'll never see it abused in these ways. We always mount our stitchers needlework to acid free foam core board using stainless steel silk pins. What does this mean exactly? Well, first of all it means no adhesives of any sort touch your cross stitch. Any type of adhesive used on cross stitch will eventually begin to discolor the fabric. Also, if a piece of cross stitch has been mounted with an adhesive and it starts to ripple, or pucker, there is generally no way to correct it. So, that's why we use the stainless steel silk pins to mount your cross stitch.

Why do we use acid free foam core board as a mounting surface? Well, you see, most paper products start out as trees, and when they are cut down, pulped, and turned into finished products, the lignin from the wood fibers starts to break down, and over time becomes acidic. This acid will leach into anything it touches, discoloring, and ultimately damaging it. We don't want this for your cross stitch, so we just don't go there. We always use an acid free mounting surface. Why stainless steel silk pins? Well, its really simple, stainless steel never rusts.

Only experienced staff pin your cross stitch. We never send it out, or let inexperienced hands do this job. It is our goal that once we have pinned your cross stitch, it will line up PERFECTLY both vertically and horizontally in the finished frame. I can hear someone out there saying "Why don't you do a sew and lace on finished cross stitch?" Well, in our experience a sew and lace tends to give over time and cross stitch which started out straight and true doesn't stay that way. A sew and lace has some good properties. It uses no adhesive and is reversible, but for us, it just doesn't work over the long run.

There's a lot more to tell you about how we frame things here at Keepsakes, but for now I just wanted to talk about the specific techniques relating to cross stitch framing. See our page about conservation framing to read the rest of the story. Here is an illustration of how pinning works.

pinning cross stitch We start with your finished cross stitch, a few silk pins, and a piece of acid-free foam core cut to size. Pinning is not difficult, but it requires strict attention to details. Centering the fabric on the foam core is obviously important and getting everything perfectly square makes framing a lot easier.

finished cross stitch When finished, we have a properly pinned cross stitch, ready for framing. While we've tried other methods of mounting cross stitch, we've never found one that performs as good as pinning. It requires less tension and distributes the tension evenly across the fabric. Over time, fabrics mounted in this manner resist distortion (sagging, wrinkling, fabric separation).