Modern needlepoint is one of the most popular forms of textile art that is made for display. Whether hung on a wall, displayed on an accessory or sewn together to make patchwork, needlepoint offers excellent functional and aesthetic value. The most controversial question in the display of such pieces is whether to use glass or not. Today’s article will focus on answering the question, should needlepoint be framed under glass.
You can frame needlepoint with glass. There are no hard rules on whether you should frame your work with glass or not. There are arguments for and against framing with glass, and in the end, all it boils down to is personal preference and several factors that you need to consider.
Needlepoint has had a long and rich history and is one of the most exciting methods of creating textile art. However, preserving any needlepoint work after it is done is still a matter that needs careful consideration. This article looks at the topic of glazing your needlepoint and other related topics.
Do You Put Glass Over Needlepoint?
One of the controversial topics in the world of needlepoint is whether to glass your work or not. Some artists will swear by glassing, while others prefer to hold out on this. Whatever side you are on, there are plenty of arguments for both sides, and what you choose to do will depend, not only on personal preference but also on several factors.
Some of the arguments that are made for putting glass over your needlepoint include:
- To keep your work safe from insects- Some fabrics, such as wool, are particularly attractive to insects, which may cause damage under the needlework. However, this damage is usually hidden, and by the time you notice anything, it will be too late to do anything about it. Putting glass over your work is a sure way to prevent this.
- To offer protection from UV light- UV light can be quite damaging to textile art, causing the colors to lose their vibrancy and gradually fade. UV light can damage even pieces that are not hanged close to a window. Glass will keep up to 99 percent of UV light out and help preserve your work.
- To offer protection from dust and other pollutants- it is impossible to control the environment in which we display our work fully. Therefore, even if we keep the conditions as clean as possible, dust and other pollutants may still find their way into your work. Cleaning the glass offers a more practical solution to this than cleaning the fabric itself.
Some of the arguments against framing your work with glass include:
- Concerns about the glare from the glass detracting from the enjoyment of the art. Fortunately, you can solve this problem quite easily by using special clear glass that eliminates reflections.
- The glass touching the artwork could lead to a gradual accumulation of condensation on the glass’s interior surface, leading to mold formation. Putting sufficient space between your work and the glass using things such as mats and spacers is an easy solution for this.
If you choose to frame your needlepoint with glass, here are some tips to ensure that it stays preserved.
- Do not leave any framed needlework in a hot car as it will sweat, loosen the mount, and damage the fabric.
- Do not hang your art in the way of direct sunlight (this applies to both framed and unframed pieces)
- Clean the glass using a soft, clean rag and glass cleaner. Do not spray the glass directly while it is still directly hanging on the wall, and don’t leave the frame wet.
Should You Frame Embroidery Under Glass?
Here is what to consider before deciding whether to frame your embroidery or any other piece of textile art behind glass.
1. The location
If you plan to hand the piece at a location where it will be in the path of direct sunlight, framing it behind glass would be a good idea to prevent damage from UV rays.
2. Environmental control
Environmental factors such as insects, dust, and other pollutants such as smoke contribute to preserving your work. If these agents are likely to be in the environment of the painting, it would be a good option to frame your embroidery under glass.
The character of the finished piece is also an influencing factor. For example, pieces that have 3D form are better left unframed under glass for their full enjoyment.
Should Cross Stitch be Framed With Glass?
You can choose to frame your cross stitch with glass, and much like needlepoint, it comes down to a personal choice after weighing the two options. Framing it with glass is a great way to preserve your work and ensure that it lasts longer, while without glass would be sacrificing some protection for a much closer viewing experience of the piece.
For those who plan to enter their pieces in a competition, you will likely need to submit it unframed so that the judges can get a closer look at the stitching.
If you are worried about the glass touching the stitching, you can easily resolve the problem by placing a mount around the picture.
How Do You Show Needlepoint?
Although displaying it on a wall is the traditional route used to show needlepoint, several other options are just as creative and convenient to showcase your beautiful work. Some of these display methods you can use include:
1. Frame and display them as a group series.
Instead of hanging individual pieces, you can instead needlepoint smaller canvases and hang them as a coordinated group gallery-style. There are unlimited arrangements in which you can hang your work. You can also choose to use some eclectic and creative frames to make the group more interesting.
2. Create a patchwork
Another great way to use your needlepoint work is to sew several smaller pieces together and repurpose them for whatever you would like to use. For example, you could make a sofa, footstool, or sofa cover.
3.Personalize your accessories.
You can also use your finished needlepoint to personalize accessories such as bags. You can sew your design onto your bag or take it to a professional finisher to have that done for you.
4. Make ornaments
Another excellent way to effortlessly display your work is by using it to make an ornament. For example, you could purchase small hanging frames from your favorite store and use them to make a hanging ornament.
Why Is Needlepoint so Expensive?
One of the main barriers for most people to the entry of needlepoint is the high costs. And one of the reasons for it is the cost of the hand-painted canvas.
While the actual primary ‘canvas’ is not very expensive, the major cost comes from the stamping of the canvas. The canvas is ‘stamped’ with the sewer’s design to recreate the painted scene. Such canvases are costly since the entire canvas was manually painted by someone holding a brush.
Also, the wages that go into paying for this labor demand that the canvases need to be sold for a high price to get a return on investment. Other costs of doing business are added on to this cost, further increasing the price.
Another reason for the high cost of needlepoint is the cost of the yarn. When doing needlepoint, you must fill the holes in the canvas, an endeavor that uses a lot of yarn, and even more if you are working on bigger pieces of canvases.
Any yarns that you use also need to be true to color, colorfast, and high enough quality that they do not break or fray. The finishing processes for needlepoint are also a contributor to the high costs of doing needlepoint.
While all these are necessary processes, you can still follow several tips and techniques to make it more affordable for both the creator and the buyer. Some of these are:
1. Paint Your Canvas
If you are a talented visual artist, painting your design onto the canvas to be filled in with needlepoint will significantly reduce the overall cost of doing needlepoint. You can do this by simply purchasing a plain mesh canvas and painting your design onto it. However, if you are not a very talented artist, you could instead choose to do simple motifs and designs in complex painted designs.
You could also choose to paint your canvas without tracing the design, which is a great way to get creative and unique designs, especially for custom-made gifts.
2. Look Into Computer-Printed Designs.
Computer-printed designs are also a great way to get your designs onto the canvas in an affordable manner.
3. Buy Smaller Projects
The size of the canvas is directly proportional to its cost. For a large project, larger areas need to be painted and more yarn used. Therefore, buying a similar but smaller design will significantly reduce the cost of your needlepoint.
4. Shop Cheaper
Needlepoint canvas prices are not fixed across all designers. So before settling on buying your canvases from one designer, shop around and try to find designers that offer more affordable prices for the same sizes of canvas at the same or better quality.
How Do You Protect Needlepoint?
To keep your needlepoint looking good and preserve it for many years to come, you need to look into methods seriously you will use to protect it. Below are tips on how you can protect your needlepoint.
1. Glaze your needlepoint framing.
The glaze is your work’s first line of defense against the outside environment. It is transparent and is usually made of acrylic or glass. The main reasons why you need to glaze your work include all the ones measured above, such as protection from UV rays, insects, and dust.
Glass is usually less costly than acrylic, more scratch-resistant, and lacks the dust-attracting static charge. Despite these advantages, glass also has some cons: the noticeable blue or green tint, its fragility, and heavier weight. Nevertheless, there are several types of glass you could use to glaze your work that include:
a. Regular glass, which is the most affordable and will keep your needlepoint stitches clean from dirt, and other environmental pollutants
b. Conservation clear glass-this type of glass, apart from keeping your work clean, will also provide UV protection. When glazing your work with glass, this type should be the bare minimum you choose.
Although it is more costly than regular glass, it is well worth the investment. Your art will start to fade as soon as you hang it to display unless it is in a very dark room.
c. Conservation reflection control- this glass will have all the properties listed in the glass types above, such as UV protection and cut light reflection from nearby sources. However, it is also more costly than the glass types above.
d. Reflection control- this type of glass will cut glare but will offer no UV protection. You can use it in a brightly lit room though you should keep it away from direct natural light and indoor sources of UV light.
e. Museum glass is the best option you can make if you plan on investing in protecting a rare and valuable piece. It offers all the benefits of the other glass types; UV protection, anti-glare, and elimination reflection.
Some of the advantages of using acrylic include the shatter resistance, ease in transporting, high optical clarity, and the fact that it does not transfer moisture and heat to the art. There are four common types of acrylic glazes you can choose from.
a. Standard acrylic glaze.
This glaze is the most basic kind and has a reflective finish. It is a good option if you are looking for an affordable option, if the piece you are hanging is not that valuable, or if you do not plan on hanging your work at a location with excessive natural light.
This acrylic glaze has the invaluable added benefit of offering protection against up to 99% UV light. This protection is crucial since UV is one of the most damaging factors to textile art as it causes colors to fade over time.
It is also important to note that UV light is emitted by natural sources such as the sun and indoor lights. Therefore, this glaze is the perfect choice if you plan to frame light-sensitive work or if you want to hang your work in a location that receives plenty of natural light.
This glaze is made with a matte coating on one of its sides, which diffuses the light reflection off its surface. If your space is brightly lit, this type of glaze will be useful in giving you unhindered viewing of the art piece. However, it would be wise to invest in a non-glare glaze that also has added UV protection.
When installing this glaze, the glossy side should face the contents while the cloudy side should face the outside. The matte glaze may also lead to a slight loss in general clarity of the colors and very intricate details, an effect that only increases as you move further from your work.
d. Optimum museum Plexi
This glaze rounds up all the benefits of acrylic glaze into one. It has almost no reflections, provides UV protection, and is scratch, shatter-resistant, and static-resistant. Therefore, it is a great selection when you have something you want to display and enjoy for years to come and highly valuable items.
Any glazing you put on your needlepoint will need to be held separate from the artwork by at least 1/8th of an inch. This distance will help to prevent any problems with moisture that could cause mold and mildew.
You can achieve this using a double mat, a fabric liner, and a fabric spacer. If you do not want to use mats, you can use the frame space, plastic tubing, or a rod that will fit into the inside edge of the frame and stays between the glass and the needlepoint stitching.
3. Stabilizing treatments
Without stabilizing treatments, even the best framing methods will not be enough for some pieces. In addition, some materials such as silk are especially susceptible to environmental damages. Conservation treatment by professionals is a great way to preserve your work for many years to come.
4. Sacrificial stitches
Sacrificial stitches are an excellent way of ensuring that the frame does not cover any of the designs that are at the edges. Sew around three or four rows of sacrificial stitches in the background color around the design that will hide under the frame or matting.
Should You Wash a Cross Stitch Before Framing?
Yes, you should. Even if your piece looks clean, some natural oils are transferred to the fabric from your hands as you were stitching. These oils that are invisible to the eye now can later develop into stains over time.
Washing your cross stitch before you frame will make sure that the fabric is clean and remove any creases or hoop marks that you made during the stitching process.
Do You Needlepoint the Background First?
When doing needlepoint on canvas, it can be difficult to figure out the best starting point. Although there are no hard fast rules that you must follow, below are some guidelines that may help make your work easier.
- If you are doing needlepoint on a canvas with a printed design, many sewers recommend starting with the words over the background. Starting with this will help you avoid accidentally covering up the area that has the background stitches.
- Stitch the lighter color areas before the darker colored ones. Doing this will prevent your needle from picking up dark fibers in the darker areas that may appear against the lighter-colored areas.
- Stitch in the smaller color areas first. If you get the small details stitched in first, the detail will likely not get overwhelmed by the larger areas on the fabric.
Needlepoint backgrounds that match round are their special kind of blessing, and those that do not, their level of frustration. Below are tips to make stitching needlepoint backgrounds a lot easier.
- Look at your canvas- what is the size of the background on your canvas? If you have a lot of background, you could stitch around the focal point to establish it and make sure it matches. This way, only a little background will be left, and you will have much more fun finishing the piece.
- Choose the right stitch- if you are stitching using a tent stitch, the laying of the stitches won’t matter that much as long as the stitches are all sewn in the same direction. If you are using basketweave, you should generally work from the top right to the left and alternately from left to right and the right to left during the continental stitch.
- Match the places- as you are stitching the background, you can make the background closest to the edge the narrowest point. This point is where there is only one background thread, and if it is made where the rounds of background stitches stitch, you will not notice a lack of matching.
How Much Does It Cost to Finish a Needlepoint Ornament?
The cost of finishing a needlepoint ornament depends on many factors, such as the size of the ornament. Finishing larger ornaments will cost more than finishing smaller ornaments, the least of which is because of the time and effort needed and the size of canvas, and the amount of thread.
If you decide to have your work finished by a professional, the cost of finishing will include the fabric and the cording. It also depends on whether you want the ornament finished one-sided or two-sided. If you would like to reduce the cost, you could include your fabric and cord for the pieces to be finished.
How Many Threads Do You Use in Needlepoint?
When calculating the amount of thread you need for a needlepoint project, it will be based on the amount of thread needed to make the basketweave stitch. This stitch is the most long-wearing, stable, and takes an average amount of thread.
Generally, when doing the basketweave, you will need anywhere between 1 and ½ yards of thread if you are to cover 1 square inch of canvas. If, say, you are stitching a canvas that ten by 10 inches wide, which is an area of 10 square inches, you will need (100 x 1.5) 150 yards of thread.
After you establish the amount of thread that you will need, you need to choose the type of thread that you will choose to do the needlepoint. There are several options, but below are some of the most common thread types and counts that you can use for this purpose.
1. Embroidery floss
Embroidery floss is a 6-ply cotton thread that you can easily strip into the number of strands that you need. For example, if you are using a #10 canvas, thicken the thread using an extra two-ply. If it’s #12 or #14, use the entire six-ply and use four-ply for 18 count canvas.
2. Pearl cotton
Pearl cotton is a loosely twisted cotton that comes in two sizes and has a luster that is a little like silk. #13 and #14 count fabric will use a size three as it comes, while an 18 and 16 count will use the size 5.
3. Crewel Yarn
Crewel yarn is the go-to option if you love wool embroidery. It is a fine and natural two-ply strand wool whose thread is thicker than embroider thread. It is a great option for when you want to add texture to your work. While it is not suitable for other mesh sizes, use a two-ply thread on a #16 to #18 count canvas.
4. Persian yarn
Persian yarn is a loosely twisted three-ply yarn that you can strip to its strands. For a #10 to #12 count canvas, use all the three-ply and for a #13 to #14 count fabric, use two-ply.
5. Tapestry yarn
This thread is tightly twisted into a four-ply that you cannot strip or thin. You should use it as it is on a #10 or #12 count canvas.
Below are some tips on working with thread for needlepoint.
- You can use any thread on canvas of any count as long as it can go through the holes in the canvas.
- If you plan to stitch using more than one thread strand in the needle, use a laying tool to ensure that the strands all lay down smoothly on the canvas surface.
Before you decide on either framing or not framing your needlepoint under glass, it would be wise to first weigh the arguments from both sides and then choose the side that works best for you. You should consider both the disadvantages and advantages of these two choices before making a choice. Still, the main question remains,
Should Needlepoint Be Framed Under Glass
You can frame needlepoint under glass. However, if you are more interested in preserving your work in great condition for years to come, then it is worth glazing your frame. In situations such as competitions where the judges need to take a closer look at the work, you may not need to frame it under glass.
We truly appreciate you for taking the time to read this article and hope it has addressed any concerns you had. We would love it if you left your comments, suggestions, or any other questions in the comment section below.