Sep 23, 2004
Anyone have any special secrets to framing needlepoint? I have a book on the subject, and it describes a long process of wetting the canvas and stretching it so it is straight, stapling it to a board so it will dry straight, then repeating the whole process over again to make sure it's REALLY straight. Then, it says to steam the needlepoint with a steam iron to plump up the fibers, etc.

I am planning on doing all this, but does anyone have any pointers that they've come up with through trial and error? Any creative ideas on elegant framing? This is a big needlepoint that took someone (actually, me! and it's not QUITE done yet) about 8 months to complete. It is a smaller replica of an antique Persian rug, and about 32 x 32. I've never done something so crafty before, and I want to make sure it lives on forever (because I probably won't be doing another one).
it was written in the eighties by a needlepoint expert, not a framer. The method I described was her method for getting the canvas ready for anything (making a pillow, a table runner, OR framing.)

I will check out these books. Who IS Vivian Kistler, anyways? I see her name a lot... I mean, she writes a lot of books on framing, but who is she?
Originally posted by Rogatory:
Uhh who wrote that book?
I don't suggest following those procedures.
Interesting critical analysis of the writers credentials, and the publishers invested interest. :eek:

What Bumpon describes is still the accepted methodology in the needlework world. But we're just a little backward out here in Injun territory. :D

Of coarse, what do I know. I'm still trying to figure out why to use spirit gum in the relining of a 17th century flax canvas.
OK... don't soak the needlepoint. Stretch it with a stretcher board. Buy one from United. You only need one for the rest of your life. It comes with aluminum pins, which you want. Mount the needlepoint upside down, floating it a little off the surface of the stretcher board. Mist the back with a plant mister, and rub the water in with your hand. Let it dry overnight. Prepare the mounting board for your stretching. We use rag board over acid-free corrugated. Size the board about 1/8" - 3/16" less than the frame opening. Remove the needlepoint from the stretching board and immediately lace it over the mounting board. There you go.
I think there are some threads in the archives about needlepoint stretching that Rebecca Pavlik posted on. As I recall she mentioned something about using needlepoint relaxant. If you use water, just be sure to test some of the threads in each color for color fastness.

To me they always look better if they are blocked first. I have never understood the blocking upside down method. I tried it, but it mashes everything flat and that doesn't look like the natural state of wool to me.
In Vivian Kistler's book (Bumpon, she is a PPFA educator, a prolific author, a consultant for Crescent and an engaging and informative speaker - oh, and she's done some framing) she has drawings explaining a specific sequence of sides to pin when you're blocking needlepoint, depending on whether the needlepointer (who might also be a scrapbooker) is right- or left-handed. I think I have that diagram pinned to my blocking board.

I'm not sure if that blocking board from United, L-J and others is big-enough for the piece you have. You may have to improvise.
There is a difference between blocking needlepoint to be framed, and blocking it to be used as a pillow or chair cover. Inside a frame, the piece will (supposedly) be held in place and in shape with stainless steel pins, lacings, or both. The blocking technique does not have to be as agressive as for a pillow, where nothing will be holding the canvas in position.
Hi Bumpon,
The stretcher that Ellen referred to is also known as a blocker or blocking board. It is a piece of masonite about 24 x 32 into which holes have been drilled and onto which a grid has been painted. It will (help to) square up your needlepoint before you mount it.
I block them face down also- I figure the bulk of the yarn that needs to be convinced square is on the back, so that's the stuff I want wet. TEST THE YARN FOR COLORFASTNESS FIRST, especially the reds. You can block in sections, so your large piece is no problem.
I love designing framing for needlework. Use fabric. Fabric-wrapped liners or fabric-wrapped 8 ply mats look very lush. I like chunkier frames and stacks on needlepoints. You could frame yours like an old oil painting -chunky dark outside scoop frame with an antiqued gold slip frame against the stitching. Yummy.
Have fun!
edie the nowmystitchinfingerisitchin goddess
Wow, Edie... That sounds incredible. I can't wait to get done with this thing, it takes FOREVER. I'm sure after a few months, my stichin finger will start itchin, though. It's such good way to watch a bunch of bad television, and not feel guilty about being unproductive. (I always have an ulterior motive...)

I LOVE the idea of a fabric-wrapped 8 ply. I was considering making a pillow, but with how messy our home usually is, and how long this has taken me, I don't think it's the wisest choice. I like the idea of the big chunky frame with the gold accent frame... this'll be fun! Now, I just have to finish this thing. Maybe someday when I get it done and framed, I'll post a picture on The Grumble. (10 years from now, ha ha).

Thanks for all your tips, everyone!