Trapezoidal needlework

Pelican Art

Feb 13, 2004
Petaluma, CA
I have a fairly large (13.25" x 23") needlework piece which is clearly not rectangular. If I work it to a rectangle, the center bulges. This piece is being entered into competition.

What are the best ways to relax the artwork and tack it down in a rectangle while mainting absolute integrity of the piece?

Watch all the East Coasters scream blood murder, but I tell you anyway.....

I'm assuming it's a needlepoint not a counted cross stitch.....

Is it color fast? Is it color fast enough for warmer water. (you can always put a color graber in the water. Works wonderfully.)

Soak for about an hour then stretch out across a stretching board or just staple as square as you can to untempered masonite. Stretch it out untill the bulges work out.

If it doesn't square up without bulges on the first go around. Think about the possibilitys of steam...... stretch face down after second soak and steam a bit to relax the weave.

If it still would laydown and behave. You have two options. Either build the frame to match the romboid stitchery or go beat the needleworker with their work.

The latter is the more satisfying.

Good luck

We could get back to the question of how much of this is the customer's responsibility, but that won't help in your present situation.

I'm going to assume that this is needlepoint (open weave canvas with the stitches running diagonally) and not cross stitch (close weave fabric with the stitches laid as x's).

Do you have a needlepoint stretching board? They are available from LJ or United or you can make your own. It's a piece of masonite, varnished on the front, with squaring lines drawn on it. There are nail holes evenly spaced along the lines.

Start by mixing a half and half solution of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle.

Test a spot on the stitchery to make sure the colors aren't going to run.

If it's color fast, spray the back of the piece with the water/alcohol to relax the sizing in the canvas. Get it damp but not sopping.

While stretching it square, nail it to the board and let it air dry overnight. The nails should be placed in the unstitched margin of the piece, but you knew that.

If the piece stays square when you take it off the board, offer up a prayer of thanks to the framing gods. If not, go through the spraying-stretching-nailing process again.

Repeat as necessary; charge accordingly.

Needlepoint can be laced over a board or sewn with a running stitch around the edges to a piece of foamcore.

I haven't tried AttachEZ on needlepoint but I think it would work well.

Good luck.

Baer, not only are we posting at the same time, we're saying more or less the same thing.

How cosmic!

I forgot the part about rolling up the needlepoint and beating the customer over the head with it.

Usually I subject them to a lecture about why they should use a basketweave stitch instead of the continental. I just love watching their eyes glaze over.

Ah, the tension relief therapy project of needlepoints.

I have done many of these over the years by individuals who do not like to fly and will work on them when they are in the airport or on a plane. The only think that is worse is when they have a empty border that is 1" or less. And they want to show every row of their work in the frame. We have to be magicians! NOT
When I moved my shop four years ago, I misplaced (among other things) my blocking board. I didn't miss it for quite-a-while but, eventually, a needlepoint came in. It seems they ALWAYS need to be blocked, even when the stitcher claims it's already been done by the cleaner.

After searching unsuccessfully for the board, I ordered another from L-J. They are not expensive, but I only expected to use it once-a-year.

Later, L-J called to tell me they were out of stock. While I was on the phone with them, I glanced across the room and spotted my old board - in the matboard rack.

This has almost nothing to do with blocking needlepoint, but I had to brag about my good luck.

I use one of those travel steamers to relax the needlepoint previous to blocking. I'm not brave-enough to soak it, though I don't live on the east coast.