I have started on my project for the year…I will have my needlepoint finished this year! I am going to do it myself or send it out.
I must tell you that I have great anxiety over trying to finish large stand-ups and pillows. I have these visions in my head of boxing some stand-ups and pillows and I have NEVER made a pillow in my life. This may be a real learning experience, but that is down the road and we won’t worry about it now because we are going to start with things we know and work up to the big things.
Okay some thoughts before we begin…
Should your needlepoint need washing, I would have the piece professionally done. I am always afraid of wetting a canvas too much and having threads bleed. “Orvus” seems to be the recommended thing to use if you are going to try and wash your needlework.
I personally think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I wash my hands before I stitch and liquids around needlework is an accident waiting to happen. I keep my drinks a few feet away from my needlework and my computer…two reasons: 1. Liquid and computers or needlework do not mix. And 2 I get my exercise getting up to walk to my drink…that’s not to say I have not left many a cup of coffee to get cold, but it’s not going to hurt anything either.
Blocking is essential. Even if you stitched on a frame and your needlepoint looks perfectly straight, it needs to be blocked. Blocking is not easy and if you do not have a blocking board I suggest you get or make one.
I wrote about blocking 2 years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/blocking-is-not-for-sissies/) and sad to say most of those needlepoint pieces in the top picture are not finished today. All I can say is I got sidetracked or it was just too overwhelming for me then.
But back to blocking boards. I have one, it is a Maries Products 4 square blocker, and if I can ever find another at a reasonable price I will purchase it too. I love this blocking board. It works well for me. I use roofing nails to secure the needlepoint because roofing nails do not rust. I sure wish someone would make this product again.
And not all blocking boards are suitable for needlepoint. Needlepoint blocking requires that you use heavy duty tacks or rust-proof nails to block needlepoint. Foam or vinyl boards are not heavy enough to block needlepoint. Cardboard mats with ruled lines may work for canvas that is lightly distorted, but I would put a piece of clear vinyl over any thing I use to keep a safety net between the board and your needlepoint. These cardboard mats may not last long either since you will be using roofing nails to hold stretched canvas in place.
You can make a blocking board using a piece of drywall covered with several layers of fabric. I would start with 2-3 layers of bleached muslin attached to dry wall with a staple gun. Over this I would use a piece of gingham fabric (woven not printed…Woven gingham will have straighter lines) with 1 inch squares in a light or pastel color. Attach gingham with staple gun using a right-angle triangle or T-square to keep lines straight. Over this I would place a clear piece of vinyl just to add that layer of prevention and prevent bleeding of the gingham. Of course you could prewash the gingham to see if it does bleed. This board will have to be replaced also. I understand you can use a piece of pinewood too, but this would require you hammer the nails into the board and it would have to be replaced too.
I have also known people who have blocked needlepoint on their ironing board using T-pins. I think these needlepoint pieces must have not been out of shape much.
Whatever method you choose, needlepoint should be blocked!
Before you block:
Whatever you use there are a couple things you need to do before you block any needlepoint.
You need to remove the selvage of canvas if it is still on your canvas.
You need to remove the tape from the canvas…you really should do this as soon as you are finished stitching. Tape is not good for long term on canvas.
Blocking needlework :
I am going to repeat here what I wrote two years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/blocking-is-not-for-sissies/)
…if your canvas still has the selvage on it cut it off…hopefully this will still leave you room to block piece. If not, for now just clip through the selvage like you are clipping a curve, block and then remove. And shame on the designer or teacher who put her design too close to the selvage.
Blocking is hard on the fingers and the fingernails. You have to pull the canvas taut. I start to pin my needlepoint in the upper right corner. I pull the canvas taut and pin the top first (it does not matter whether you pin across the top or down the right side first whichever you prefer) The two things that are important are that you pull the canvas taut AND you pin in the same ditch, channel, between two parallel canvas threads (straight line) across the canvas. Next I pin down the right side, pulling taut and following a straight line. Next is the left side and then across the bottom Sometimes my bottom pining will be off a canvas thread or two, but what matters is that the canvas is square with no waves or puckers. Adjust pins by pulling canvas if you have waves or puckers.
To dampen or not…NEVER if silk or overdyes are used. I have a steamer and a mister but unless badly distorted (you must not have used your stretcher bars…shame on you) I seldom use water on my needlework. If I do, I put a towel under the blocking board and I mist very very lightly and leave the blocking board lying flat. You are going to love this reasoning…it makes no sense but it makes me feel more secure…I think if the board is flat and the color is going to run it will run down and not sideways. I told you it makes no sense but it makes me feel better. The other thing I have found is if I dampen needlework I have to adjust blocking the second time.
Okay needlepoint is on the blocking board and I leave it for a day or two, or three, or more…I check it after 24 hours and if the needlework is puckering I adjust the tension by unpinning two sides (bottom and left) and re-pin pulling taut. I leave blocked needlework on the blocking board until I get ready to finish and trust me I have had needlework on a blocking board a long time. (Editorial note: No Kidding)
Another thing I want to mention here is if you have a piece that is badly distorted, I recommend two things:
1. Have it professionally blocked
2. Immediately find someone who will lace it for framing.
And know that over time it is going to distort again…unless of course you are planning on putting it in a museum where they can climate control it and keep it from the real world. And never let someone talk you into glue for the back or using pelon on the back… needlepoint is stronger than both of these and you will just have a mess.
Okay your piece is blocked and ready for finishing. Like stitching this requires some planning. It is necessary to have the proper tools and all the finishing supplies handy. Read this old my blog for these supplies they have not changed. (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/ufbsunfinished-but-stitched-supplies/)
Next we will finish ornaments…I’m good at small stuff.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today! I stitch even if I am finishing too…never want to run out of things to do…lol.