I blame my parents, my father in particular. As a kid, when I wanted something, his stock answer was, "Make it."
How I despised that answer! Maybe I didn't think I could make it; maybe I didn't want to take the time to make it. Whatever it was, I didn't want to make it even if I could. I wanted it new, from the store, now.
But guess what: That "make it" answer stuck. I heard it so often it grew into me. It was reinforced by my parents' crafty natures. My mother made our clothes. My father could whip up a Halloween costume like nobody's business. Our dining room table became Craft Central while we made holiday ornaments for neighbors and friends.
It can surprise no one that I became an extreme D-I-Y-er. When something needs to be done, my first thought is, "How do I do it?"
Move three tons of dirt and gravel with a shovel and 5-gallon buckets? Okay.
Build a house? Of course.
Wire it for electricity? Sure. Let me read this book first.
Grow food for a year? Uh-huh.
Frame this cross stitch piece? No problem.
In the Beginning
After designing and stitching Termination Dust and The Great Outdoors, I asked my mother to help me frame them. She'd just taken a framing class—she had artwork of her own to frame—which gave her access to a framing studio with tools and supplies. We spent a long time choosing colors, cutting mats and glass, cutting and assembling the frames. It was great fun and a great learning experience. I love the results, warts and all.
When I began selling cross stitch patterns, I continued to finish my needlework myself...most of the time. I have taken a few pieces to professional framers. It's all good! Over time, I developed my favorite techniques (I prefer lacing my embroidery to the mounting board), but I also love to experiment and learn new things. I think my priorities are
- Do it myself
- Do it differently; i.e., in some interesting or unique way
When Problems Arise: Get Creative
Let's be honest, things don't always go smoothly in D-I-Y.
I once stitched a birth sampler with the fabric turned the wrong direction. The long side of the fabric should have been horizontal, and I had it vertical. I was well into the stitching before I discovered my mistake. (Yeah—du-uh!) You know the choices: I could stop stitching and start over, or I could deal with it. I chose the latter.
There wasn't enough fabric to frame the piece "properly." This isn't a unique problem—be honest, have you ever skimped on the amount of fabric you left around the border of your needlework? The fix for this is to sew a fabric (muslin is a good choice) border around the edge to provide enough fabric to work with, so that was my plan. In the end, I skipped the plain muslin and chose a quilting calico that could double as the mat. I added ribbon on the seam just for fun.
D-I-Y Framing Online Class
I've always enjoyed finishing as much as stitching, whether it's framing, edge stitching, quilting, pillow making, or something else. The more I stitch, the more I want to explore different finishes and uses for needlework.
I asked fellow stitchers what they need most help with, and the answer was, overwhelmingly, finishing. Well all right then; let's do some finishing!
The first Finish It In '14 class is D-I-Y Framing, and it begins on February 3, 2014. We will learn the following:
- How to clean, block, and press embroidery
- How to mount embroidery to a backing
- How to choose and/or make a mat—or not
- How to choose and/or make a frame
- Whether to use glass or not
- How to finish the back side and add hardware
Four written lessons will be delivered weekly, giving you plenty of time to read and execute them. You can download the pdfs so you have them for future use. You'll be able to ask questions and share photos in a private Yahoo! group, so you can get help with your particular projects. We'll discuss creative mat and frame options and get tips from pros.
Did I mention we'll have some fun, too? Of course we will!
Win a Free Front-Row Seat in the Class!
Want to win a spot in the class? We're giving one away!
Leave a comment with your most pressing question about finishing embroidery.
The random number generator will pick a winner on January 25th.
A Word of Caution
Lest you think my father's repeated suggestion to "make it" was a brilliant idea that you're tempted to adopt, I think you should be warned. In general, I'm grateful for the self-sufficiency my father instilled in me with his annoying answer, but in the deep recesses of my adult being, there's still a little girl who feels deprived. She says, "Just wait, Dad, until you need surgery for something. Surely there's a how-to book or tutorial online for that. Give me a sec, and I'll be right with you."
Proceed with caution.
Don't forget to leave a comment with your most pressing needlework finishing question for a chance to win a free spot in the D-I-Y Framing class!