speaking of mounting textiles


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 28, 2002
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
I've just recently encountered the earliest pin mount I've ever seen. One of those Jacquard woven "tapestries" stretched over heavy illustration board and pinned into the edge of the board every 1/8" or so. That's a lot of pins!

It had been in a very good environment - no rusting or other obvious damage. Probably from the early '70's.

Interesting. I would love to know who came up with the idea, thought it was probably one of those "several people at the same time" kind of things.

I am glad to hear that, Rebecca. I was using the lacing method for most of my framing career when somebody on the Grumble either asked about pinning or mentioned that they pinned with stainless steel dressmakers pins and I have been a staunch convert ever since.

Who knows, maybe the originators of the method were framers who were in some sort of discussion club back then and somebody mentioned using pins to mount needleart!

<font color=green>"Hey Daryl, guess what I did?? I found a way to mount needleart with straight pins!!"

"Nooooooooo, get outa town, Arnold!!

Straight pins???

But won't they rust and do harm to the fibers of the needleart and cause unbearable pain and anguish to the customer's psyche and leave you open for legal action and isn't Larry the guy who said that pins are dangerous around the frameshop because of their sharp points so why didn't you ask us before doing such a cockamamie thing 'cause we've been using lacing for years and why on earth would you want to switch from what we always did anyway?????"</font>

Yeah, I can imagine how THAT discussion went. :cool:

I have only laced maybe 3 times in the last 5 years or so and probably have mounted 150 pieces of needleart in that time. The method is fast and creates a tight stretch that is quite even and I can lay down a row of aida from top edge to bottom edge of the backing that is arrow straight. That is important when you are doing needlework for women who are competing. Judges in these competitions accept pinning as equal to the lacing method and it is quite fast.

Was there any way to tell if these were regular straight pins or stainless steel?? I'll bet that was a real job pushing all those pins through illustration board!! I looked for almost a year just to find a thimble that would fit my very large index finger!

(Imagine THAT scene if you will!)

Thanks for the information. So are you going to tear it down and remount it? (Heh, heh)

................ How ya gonna do it?? Huh, huh??

Hi Tom

Well what's so interesting about the pins is that they were not the normal stainless ones I'm used to - they were a bit dull. But I don't know enough about pins to say what kind they are.

And no, no, a thousand times no, I left it to a trusted framer to do the remount. She laughed and said she was certainly not going to use anywhere near the number of pins that the original mounter did!

If I had been doing the remount I probably would have hand stitched muslin handling edges to the textile, used them to wrap around to the reverse of the new mounting board and Beva Filmed them to the reverse. But that's just me...

I hear you about the quick and good aspect of the pins though, and this is a nice reassurance that in a good environment the hold up just fine.

For fine fabrics have you ever tried the thin insect pins? I find these to be very useful for mounting too.


I've been using pins for years, since the early 80's when I first started framing. Back "then" many framers stapled (horrors!!) to padded 1/4"-thick mounting board, but I couldn't bring myself to staple, so I pinned, or laced. Still do. And yes, it was hard on the fingers. I had a thimble, but it would always fall off my skinny finger.

I've also tried insect pins, but they're so flexible they often bend, plus the heads are so tiny they go through the fabric unless its a verrry tight weave.And, they're expensive, but then, so are stainless steel pins, so they don't go in every 1/8" like yours did, Rebecca. Whew!
My earliest mentor taught me to staple cross stitch and needlepoint to Upson board. That method lasted about a week in my shop, until I did some reading about the ravages of staples and raw-pulp board. That mentor didn't last very long after I started correcting him. Bad habits die hard, and he was full of them.

When I pin cross stitch now, I use ArtCare foam center board and nickel-plated brass pins.

About the pins...
Stainless steel pins consist of a shaft and head, which seem to be welded together. The stainless steel parts might not rust, but the welded joint between them will -- and that part of the pin, just under the head, is in direct contact with the fabric.

Nickel-plated brass pins are probably assembled in a similar way, but the plating is done after assembly. Entirely covered with nickel-plating, I have never heard of rust or corrosion on these pins.
How close together do you normally place the pins? I've always put them about 1/8" apart, but I guess maybe that is overkill? Curious minds and sore fingers want to know :D

Jim, do you just use the Artcare foamcore by itself? I was taught to place a piece of Artcare matboard on top of the Artcare foamcore before mounting the piece of cross-stitch. It has been so long ago that I can't remember the exact reason for including the matboard. However, I find sometimes that my pins don't go into the foamcore straight, so the matboard acts as a barrier and the pins don't poke through to the front.

Where do you purchase your nickle plated brass pins, Jim? I've been using nickle plated pins but I am running low on the stock that I bought a few years ago. I haven't been able to find any locally and so I purchased some t-pins from my local framing supplier to use instead.
Originally posted by Twin2:
How close together do you normally place the pins? I've always put them about 1/8" apart, but I guess maybe that is overkill? Curious minds and sore fingers want to know.

I've found....that the fabric will tell me. 1/2" - puckers? More pins.... 1/4" - puckers? More pins. Etc.
In the 70's the technique being demonstrated was to staple to pulp board. Crooked needlework. So we tried to get it straight - one would hold while the other stapled. Somewhat straighter but far from square. So we poked some pins in the board to hold it square while we stapled - still not good. So we put in more pins and more pins until it was straight and square. One day a framer asked if there wasn't a way to leave the pins in and I suggested we put the pins in the edge. This worked well and we skipped the staples. We had invented the technique of stretching with pins - needle art was now square and straight within 1 threadline of the mat edge. So we went to tell the framing world and found out that many framers had "invented" this technique. It was just an obvious progression of technique by any framer trying to do a better job.

I agree with the plated pins - I have a cross stitch in the bathroom at home which my daughter did about 25 years ago which I take apart every few years and there is no sign of corrosion from the pins.
We buy nickle plated pins from Jo-Ann.