Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HOW TO: Wash a Cross Stitch Sampler

Hi to newbies and regulars,

You are reading a new series: HOW TO TUESDAYs.  I will post tips and tricks for new cross stitchers.

I am no expert but I love to help those new to a craft. Cross stitching is no exception. There are ways to become a quicker or neater stitcher and finishing off ideas. Also, I appreciate that there is still lots for me to learn.  That's why I want lots of feedback. Your questions, comments, contradictions and advice can only help us all with our art.

How To Wash A Large Cross Stitch Project
As I put the last stitch into a large cross stitch sampler (60x40cm - alot in inches) last year, I held it up and gasped to see dirty marks all over it.  The large project meant constant handling. And yes I might have been guilty of eating and drinking while stitching it. Smaller projects often don't have that kind of grottiness. There were also hoop marks because I was naughty at times and left it in a hoop.   I put a call out for advice on my blog. The helpful comments I received to this post were great. You can read these comments at the end of my blog post here.

Prior to washing it, I had to first decide if the threads in this project could handle being washed without bleeding. I knew that the threads were DMC so could trust they wouldn't run in water.  Specialty threads which have been hand-dyed may not have this guarantee so there are three possible options here: firstly, refer to the washing instructions that might have come with the threads, secondly, wash them in cold water prior to use (particularly darks or red colours) or thirdly, try hard not to get the project  dirty so it doesn't have to be washed.

Here is my process for washing that large sampler.

1. Fill a basin with warm water and gentle dishwashing liquid.  I didn't have Orvus which was suggested by other needleworkers who live in Europe and thought about using pure soap but ended up using something easily dissolvable.

2. Let the project sit for a while in the water. I looked at the sampler after an hour and realised the stains hadn't shifted so added some Napisan and let it soak for 4 hour (it was heavily soiled). I gave it some jiggles and swirls with my hands whilst soaking.

3. I gently squeezed the water out of it and laid it face down on towels which were lying next to the basin until it was fairly dry.

4. I ironed it face down on a towel on a "wool setting".

5. I rolled it up in towels and took it to my local framer.  The framer assured me I needn't have bothered ironing it as the project is stretched during the framing process. I still think I would have ironed it anyway.

6. Hang on the wall and be proud!!!

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions about the art of washing delicate handiwork.
                                                                                                                            Jan x


Chris said...

Gorgeous finish. I have never washed a finished piece. I don't work on white linen very often and I use a lot of overdyes so I am afraid that they would run. Thanks for this info. I will use it if I find myself with some issues on a completed project.

cucki said...

Wow very pretty finish..I love it...
Thank you for the info dear..
Big hugs x

Julie said...

A very beautiful project.

I stitched a bird design by this designer in a round robin, it was so colourful and pretty and detailed.

Wagapapa said...

Awesome sampler! Thanks for the tips for washing them :D

Sarah in Stitches said...

Wow, it looks beautiful in that frame! The couple of times I've needed to wash a cross-stitched piece, I used gentle laundry soaps. I never thought to use dishwashing soaps... Do you know if there's a difference?

Virpi said...

Wow this project looks truly amazing.

Giovanna said...

What a beautiful finish - congratulations!

Linda said...

Great post Jan. Thanks for the info.


Mylene said...

wow! A beautiful finish!!

Faith... said...

Thanks for the tips and that is a gorgeous piece you have stitched there.

Catherine said...

Such a pretty piece!

SoCal Debbie said...

It looks wonderful! Great steps to washing it. I also wash in the sink with dish soap, lay flat on a towel, and iron upside down.

zenuwpees said...

Magnifique broderies Marie-Claire

Shebafudge said...

Wow! Looks stunning! I have this in my stash and I think I will start it in the new year.