Anyone cross-stitch out there? Need help with finished project!!

Just finished a very detailed cross-stitch project. First one I've done this large. Started as a beginner, ended as a pretty accomplished sewer (ha)! The fabric needs to be ironed before I frame it. After all that work I don't want to mess it up now. I've read how to iron it on the back side, but my question:
There are many tiny beads sew throughout -- is the iron going to hurt them? Any advice? Thank you!!
  30 answers
  • Deb Deb on May 13, 2013
    You might try this method: lay the fabric face-down on the ironing board. Next, cover the project with a separate cloth (like a linen napkin or cotton dish towel). Make sure the top cloth covers the project completely. Use your iron to press straight down, lightly, for a few moments before lifting and moving on to the next section. Avoid moving the iron from side to side as that might adversely affect the shape of your finished project or disturb the beadwork. I've found that a burst of steam through the top cloth helps to remove wrinkles and improves the look of the final product. Hope this works for you. Good luck with all your future cross-stitch projects!
  • Julie Julie on May 14, 2013
    Thank you Deb, so much, for your input. That sounds like a good plan. I'm worried though that the steam might bleed some of the threads. When I first started, I ignored (stupidly!) the warning to soak the red & dark pink threads first. Duh! But I will try the regular iron, using it like you mentioned, and see how that works. Again, thank you!!
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 14, 2013
    I love cross stitch - not many people really appreciate the art and time it takes. I also had a project that stayed in a loop for a year and needed ironing out. I placed a piece of wax paper on the back and ironed it as needed. Pull of the wax paper and repeat as needed - (in sections) and have plenty of patience and time. I left a piece of wax paper on the back of my project before framing to give the item a bit of stiffness. This helps to hold up better and not droop after years. Hope this helps. Good luck !
  • Julie Julie on May 14, 2013
    Sharron, did you use the wax paper over the stitches (on back) and also over the unstitched fabric? I didn't even think, until now, about the unstitched fabric -- most of it is stitched, but the surrounding areas of course are unstitched. Almost seems I'd need to be even more careful about the unstitched! -?? Thank you for your suggestions!!
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 14, 2013
    I use the wax paper on the back. Use the wax part to the back of the project. Best thing to do is to spray bottle on mist to get the project unwrinkled then use the wax paper to back to make stiff enough to frame. Wax paper will peel off of your project and you can reattach as needed. It really works and to me works great. You can see from the pictures that I do cross stitch and so much more. Hope this helps?????
  • Julie Julie on May 14, 2013
    Sharron -- I LOVE your room!! Very inspiring. We moved not long ago and now I have my "own" room just for art/sewing, like you. But it's still unorganized (ugh), as the rest of the house came first. But soon, soon! ha. Cross stitch is so fun to do, I love the possibilities it brings. OK, trying not to sound like a slow learner here, ha, but do you think the mist will bleed the threads that I DIDN'T soak before the project (like the package warned)? It would break my heart to ruin it now. Seriously don't know what I'm doing here. Maybe I should just go with a dry ironing instead. Just hope it's hot enough (on low) to un-wrinkle it. Wish I could watch you do it! :) Thanks.
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 15, 2013
    I have not had that problem - but what kind of material did you use to make it??? The thread and the background. Can ya send a picture? Here is a good idea ! Try taking a sample of the materials - wet them and see it ya get the bleeding? Humm - why does that sound so easy?
  • Carol Floyd Carol Floyd on May 15, 2013
    you can use a dry iron, if you want stiffness, iron on pelon can be used on the back, also you can use a towel or ironing cloth to cover the back.
  • Julie Julie on May 15, 2013
    Thank you Carol. Both you and Sharron have suggested making the fabric "stiff"... Remember, I haven't done this before... is making it "stiff" because it'll make it easier to frame (& last) ...or because it'll help take out wrinkles? I had in my head that after wrinkles were out, I'd pull it taut on a thin board or cardboard (the edges) and attach it before framing... but will that only losen over time, pull the stitches, or maybe tear it? SOOO glad I'm asking all of this ahead of time! Sharron, I used Aida cloth and DMC red & dark pink threads. Later, after running out of the original threads, I did use another brand of thread (no DMC in town)!, and those threads were blues/greens mainly. GREAT IDEA about just wetting down some of the leftover threads... I still have some of the original reds/dark pinks. Can't believe I didn't think of that!! Ha, it was so easy it went right over my head.... ha Attached 2 pictures so you can see (most) of the final project. It's still on the frame. And one close-up of the face with part of the purple wisteria. The wisteria flowers, with purple beads, goes from one end to the other, across the top. Beads are throughout, even the dress. Gold thread too.
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 15, 2013
    Beautiful work - love the pattern. When you frame you work I recommend using the wax paper - find it at the grocery store - cheap and easy to find. When you frame your work and if you do lie you want you will have tape or what ever you use to hold it and that will leave stains. Try to use the wax paper on an old tee shirt first - then you will understand what I am pointing at. You can still use the cardboard to back but when you put that much work into something you don't want it to stain. As time goes by you may want to change the frame or turn you work into a quilt - who knows. Just try the wax paper - so easy and can be removed as needed. Hope it helps - Again really nice work - I would be proud if I was you !!!!!!!!!!!
  • Julie Julie on May 15, 2013
    Thank you Sharron! I really appreciate your nice comments. It's incredibly encouraging to hear that from someone who's so experienced. I can't believe I'm actually finished!!! Thought I never would be, it just went on and on :) Now I'm sort of sad it's over -just kidding! I'm already planning my next one... using this new software I have (Ursa MacStitch- heard of it?). Took some pics of my flowers outside and I might do one of them. Just load up the pic and it tells you what DMC thread (or some other brand) to buy, gives symbols, etc. and you print it out. Just like a kit but you can make whatever changes & of course you have to buy the supplies. Great points about the stains. Didn't think about that. I'm hoping my daughter will keep this long after I'm gone, she sews too. I want to do it right so it'll last. I thought about making it a pillow or quilt, etc... but this one was my first "BIG baby" so I want it protected BEHIND GLASS -ha! I'll work with the wax paper and try it out. You've been a wonderful help, THANK YOU SO MUCH. Would you --if you want to-- share some of your work? Or even a work-in-progress? I'd love to see them!
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 15, 2013
    Ursa MacStitch - never heard of it - sounds great. I have been busy making baby blankets for the fire dept. Want the kids to have something that they can feel hug them back when they get misplaced from a house fire. I want to take some schooling in quilting and hopefully I will be able to after I get my house back together from the carpets being installed in over half the house. At age 56 and being retired you would think that I have all the time in the world but Husband really keeps me busy HA! HA! Can't wait to see your next project - I am sure that you will do great. I use DMC thread all the time.
  • Julie Julie on May 15, 2013
    The blankets are a GREAT idea -- that's an amazing thing you're doing! I'd love to quilt as of the many things on my "list" of want-to-dos. And yes, husbands CAN keep you busy can't they? ha! Mine does too :) We moved a couple of years ago from out-of-state to AR and into my hubbie's childhood home, built in 1940 :) I love this house! We've been updating it (A/C, DW, etc) and doing some remodeling when we're able, but slowly, cause we both have physical restrictions to deal with. After all this time there's still SO much to do!! Like you, you'd think with time available we'd be able to get more done! Have to take it one little thing at a time. No regrets!! You can check out the software if you're interested at: I was super nervous buying something like that (or anything!) over the internet, but I read good reviews on several sewing sights & took a leap of faith. I wasn't let down at all. Service was great/quick and it offers a lot of possibilities. Haven't had it long, so I'm still learning & trying to figure out how I want to use it first. Thanks for the encouragement!
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 16, 2013
    We have been living in this home for almost 18 years. It is a 4 bed 3 bath and just way to big for just the 2 of us. Hubby just turned 63 and has a bad back. That leaves me with all the housework, cooking, and yard work. But at age 56 I am ready to move and settle into a 3 bed 2 bath single level. This way I can craft my heart away and enjoy my crafting even more because I can have the freedom to start a project and enjoy finish it with his understanding. But I do have to admit he loves the crafts I do - I just have a hard time getting him to let go of them as I send them to the kids house or to the fire dept. or even the hospics. He wants to keep them all.
  • Julie Julie on May 16, 2013
    Sharron, what beautiful needle work!!! Wow. Did you create that design yourself? Gorgeous design and layout! Seems to me you don't need much schooling in quilting, if you ask me!!! Did you stitch it by hand or machine? When I imagine doing my first quilt, I'm drawn to doing it by hand, but that may be thinking WAY too big, ha. There are women on my hubbie's side who do that, each stitch carefully done one by one, by hand. I admire that, but for my first one?? I don't know. You should be VERY proud of what you've done. It's really beautiful :) Yes, I completely understand you wanting to go smaller from your existing 4bdrm/3bath. That's a lot to take care of!! We have a 4 bdrm/2bath, but it was a big step up from our tiny, tiny apt-sized duplex before with only 2 bdrms/1 bath. We're thankful for the extra room. Now we each have our "own" rooms, me with an art/sewing studio and he with his music studio. He's a very talented singer/songwriter/guitarist. And a voice that would melt butter, ha :) But gotta admit, this house, on 2 lots, is a ton to take care of & with all the DIY stuff too, it's pretty much a mess all the time. I had to get used to seeing hand tools on a table and walking around (closed) big containers of paint on the floor, for example. But it's a one-level, thank goodness. We share in the chores and help each other, but it's a lot of work. Still trying to get a handle on all of it. I'm 48 and he's your age, but like I said, physical stuff is a challenge, so sometimes it feels like we're much, much older! But it's all in the good attitude right? That's so sweet your husband likes your work enough to want to keep them -I bet that makes you feel good!! Again, great work -- very nice!!! I'd love to keep talking if you want... we could always switch to email-? Let me know if you want to and I'll give you mine. Thank you for sharing your work!! :)
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 16, 2013
    emails sounds great. My hubby has his room too! We fixed it up nice and now he just uses it as a show room. Guns - knifes and movies are his passion. I have tried to get him interested in stuff and he says sure - let me get my supped up car to race or sky diving. He is so funny and great since if humor. well best get off - send email I would be very happy to enjoy your friendship and your time.
  • Sharron Abrams Sharron Abrams on May 16, 2013
    Found you on facebook - I sent a friends request
  • Sandra R Sandra R on May 16, 2013
    hi Julie....your work is beautiful.....and you received great advice. but if no one has mentioned this already....may I suggest having it professionally framed? very pricey but it makes a big difference. the only way to get the wrinkles out completely is to stretch the material and attach to framing. I would not iron it, from my own hit and miss experiences. I no longer do cross stitch but have many framed work in my home. good luck.
  • Julie Julie on May 16, 2013
    Thank you Sandra! That's very kind. I appreciate any/all advice. I have thought about having it done for me....the cost would be worth it because this was my first big project and I'd literally break down & CRY if something happened to it. I need to call around and check pricing first --and the person's experience with cross stitch work. Cause someone else could screw it up as easily as I could, haha. Again, thank you for your advice -- and your kind words!! :)
  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on May 18, 2013
    Gorgeous! All my XS was Oriental, love your lady. When I framed my pieces I'd press (not iron) from the back; I've never used beads, would be sure to have plenty of soft padding underneath. I never had any trouble with colors bleeding. You might find it easier to put on stretcher bars (the kind artists use to stretch canvas then select your frame that accommodates those. There are plenty of frames available like that. To back my XS pieces I use plain brown wrapping paper (heavy type) cut just barely under size of the frame you're going to use. I dampen my paper to make it shrink flat after glueing on. I use Elmers glue on the frame. The dampening makes the backing nice & taut. Let dry for a few days before hanging. I use those little nail-on bars that have zig-zag slots for your hanging. Since your piece is so large I'd use two of those spaced on the back so it would hang straight. I have a website if you'd like to see some of my work.
  • Julie Julie on May 18, 2013
    Thank you Evelyn! Very kind :) My mother was born in Montgomery btw...went there as a kid a lot & like it. She also loved oriental art; she painted, needlepointed, even bought a lot of oriental-type furniture! She really enjoyed the style. I did that particular XS for her, a couple of years after she passed away. I wished she could've seen it! :) Good ideas... I appreciate it. Have a question though. Would the pressing (no iron) be enough to take out the wrinkles? The frame I used wasn't quite big enough and in order to put the two cross bars across the top & bottom, I had to "fold over" gently (with some padded protection) parts of the XS, depending on where I was sewing. You can see this in the picture -the top part is folded over. So this created some wrinkles. What do you think? Very helpful about the framing, but I have another question:) Is the brown wrapping paper attached TO the XS? Where I get confused with the suggestions of "backing" (please bear with me) is that all frames have that piece of cardboard included. Is that still used? Do you attach the heavy paper to the XS or ? You mentioned gluing it to the frame...? Sorry for bothering you with so many questions... assume I know NOTHING -ha! Cause really, with this, I do not :) Thank you again!! I appreciate your time helping me.
  • Sandra R Sandra R on May 18, 2013
    Julie, Michael's is having a great framing sale. coupons on line too. they guarantee their work. I have had a professional refo one of my pieces. expect it to be a sticker shock. well worth it!!
  • Frankie Laney Frankie Laney on May 18, 2013
    All great ideas for you. However, I would not use wax paper for the long haul. It could possibly become a family heirloom. I would use acid-free paper and that would guarantee no discoloring on your beautiful handiwork. Just a suggestion.
  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on May 18, 2013
    Thanks Julie. Long answer.....No the brown paper is not attached to the fabric, just to the frame. When I said press (from the back of your work), not iron I meant to just gently press down the iron not like you do when you iron clothes. I do use backing board (like artist board not cardboard), pin into edges of the board about every inch all around from the front to have it nice & straight then once I do that I turn it over & working on the back I lace back & forth with thread on the edges of your fabric (quilting thread works well) pulling it nice & tight, that will keep your stitched piece taut. You can buy the artist's backing board at art supply places or Michael's, etc.. I cut mine to size with an exacto knife. It is thick enough to stick your straight pins in all the way around when mounting, then turn it over to lace & remove your pins. I do use small nails to attach it to the frame, not going thru it, just nailing on a slant to hold it in. Your artist board will fit your frame exactly if you've measured correctly. Glad you've spent time in Mtg. I've lived here since 1964 (moved from Selma) courtesy of the USAF. I'll be glad to answer any more questions if this isn't clear. I have my website url on my profile if you want to see some of my Oriental stitching. My house decor is Oriental like your mom, wish I could have met her. Looking forward to seeing more of your work. Having your work framed professionally is expensive, the expensive part is the lacing. I've done the lacing myself then had pieces framed professionally, a lot less expensive than having them do the lacing.
  • Julie Julie on May 18, 2013
    Thank you Frankie for your suggestion. Good idea about the acid-free paper! Evelyn, it's clearer to me now. I will have to re-read your post a few times to let it sink in though so I can picture it in my mind, before jumping in. I do remember seeing my mother do some of this with her work... she did all kinds of needlework, from small pillows to needlepoint chair seats. Such beautiful work & she always did it from idea to completion. Your description brought back some floating memories of watching her as a kid :) Wish I'd been more interested then! I will definitely go see your Oriental art. Looking forward to it. I know my mom would've enjoyed seeing it too. I'd ask if you knew/know any Humphreys, but considering she left before '64 AND the size of Mtg, realistically I know that's a long shot... If more questions come up --and they probably will-- I appreciate your willingness to help further. Thank you so much!
  • Patricia Brining Patricia Brining on May 19, 2013
    I always wash the cross stitch piece before I iron it! Make sure you clean the sink so there are no oils or residue! I use my Purex Baby detergent 1 tablespoon detergent to 1/2 kitchen sink lukewarm water. I soak it for 5 minutes then drain the water then fill the sink with cold water and rinse until the water is clear of soap bubbles . I press between two terry cloth dish towels to remove moisture. I follow up by laying the piece face down onto a clean terry cloth towel and using a flour sack towel press the back to smooth and remove all wrinkles. Remember no rush- time and patience! Happy stitching! Pat Ellenton, FL
  • Lisa McDaniel Lisa McDaniel on May 19, 2013
    My aunt who does absolutely beautiful work and has won many contests has told me, the beginner, a few things. Like - when you hand was the finished project to get out any dirt and/or body oils from your hands, to use a mild soap (Dove, or a baby soap ) and NEVER use Woollite as it will make the colors run. Also she said to roll it ( flat ) in a towel to dry it. You may have to use more than one towel depending on the size. Then lay flat, face down on a towel, so the beads won't melt and the threads aren't crushed. Then iron it gently to remove wrinkles. Also, I agree with Evelyn about the framing ! Having it done IS very expensive even with big discounts like Michaels has, as I just found out. Hope this helped some !
  • Julie Julie on May 19, 2013
    Thank you Patricia, extremely helpful info on washing the piece!! As soon as I find out if the left over threads (dark red/pinks) bleed or not, I'll decide if I can wash it or not. If those leftover threads bleed, then I'll chalk it up as a good lesson. The kit DID suggest washing the thread BEFORE I sewed.. but I didn't. Silly!! After all that work/time I won't be rushing --for sure. Honestly I'm a bit nervous! :) Thank you Lisa! Great information. Good to know about the Woollite!! That's the FIRST thing I would've thought to use, ha, oops! I'd really like to do it myself, don't want to spend the money... so I'll just give it a shot. Plan on doing a lot more sewing... have to learn! :) I appreciate everyone's suggestions!! Thank you.
  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on May 20, 2013
    what brand of thread did you use? I mostly use DMC & substitute colors. Sometimes I'll add a rogue brand, have never had any trouble with bleeding or discoloring. The washing instructions you've received are wonderful.
  • Julie Julie on May 20, 2013
    I used mostly DMC. With some of the colors I ran out too soon. The Hancock (only sewing/fabric store here) doesn't carry DMC, so I had to use a different brand. I'll check leftover deep-color threads ahead of time to see if they bleed. And Evelyn.. thank you for the message earlier. I enjoy "talking" with you. I'll send some pics of my mother's art to you! Proud to show them :)
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