How to Frame Your Stitching

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Natural Gardening by Laura Wasilowski

We all love to make art work, enjoying the process and results. But what do you do after the piece is complete? I recommend having your favorite pieces framed behind glass.

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Garden Flowers by Laura Wasilowski

And I can highly recommend custom framing by Myrna of High Desert Frameworks in Bend OR. Myrna has a great deal of experience in framing textiles from the stitching onto an acid free mat to selecting beautiful mat colors to finding the perfect frame style. If you can’t send your work to her, find a local person who understands the challenges of framing and protecting your textile art.

Here are a few quick tips for framing textile art:

  • Stitch the corners of the work to an acid free mat.
  • Use a shadow box frame so the glass does not touch the work.
  • Seal the back of the frame to keep it dry and free of insects.

How Long It Takes

housestitching2Do people ask you how long it takes to make something? I get this often, but never keep track of my time.  But I have finally come up with an answer.

housestitching1To do this much hand embroidery on this little house quilt took about 6 hours. How do I know? Because that’s how much time it takes to drive from Chicago to Akron, OH. So from now on, that’s my answer. You may use it as well.

How to Make a Loop to Hang Your Quilt

Many of my quilts are small and light weight and adding a hanging sleeve for a short little slat just doesn’t make sense. (And, as you know, I’m all about common sense.) So I’ve come up with this hanging mechanism for your small quilts: a simple loop added to the back.

Here are the steps:

1. Find the center top of the back of your quilt. Make a mark about 1.5 inches down from the top to mark the center of the quilt. A pin hole in th fabric will do the trick.

2. About .5 inches to the left of that mark, take a stitch with your needle and a size 5 or 8 pearl cotton thread.

3. Take a stitch into the quilt backing fabric and leave an open loop. (Leave the needle on the thread.)

4. Put your fingers into that loop and pull the thread through the loop to make another loop. You are making a chain stitch much like a crochet stitch.

5. Continue to make the chain stitch until the chain extends .5 inches beyond the center mark. The complete chain will be about 1 inch long.

6.  To secure the chain, take a stitch into the quilt back. Pass the needle through the final loop and tie off the thread.

7. Snip the thread, hang the quilt on the wall, and enjoy the view.

It Takes This Long to Make It

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Windy City #6 (9″ x 12″) by Laura Wasilowski

A few days ago I asked if you could estimate how many hours it took me to make this small quilt, Windy City #6. And, as an experiment, I tried to keep track of the time to complete it. But honestly, my skills at time keeping stink! It seems I go into a zone when making a quilt and lose track of time.

Below are the stages of creating the art work and an estimate of the number of hours to complete each stage. Let’s see how close you were in guessing the total time.

  • Hand-dyeing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Fusing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Designing the quilt-  1 hour
  • Adding hand embroidery-  6.5 hours
  • Machine quilting and binding-  1 hour
  • Photographing and documenting the quilt-  .5 hours
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Windy City #6 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

The total is about 10 hours from start to finish with most of time spent on hand embroidery. Now, what you don’t see in this list is the hours of enjoyment I got from making the art work. That’s really hard to measure.

How Long Did It Take to Make?

What’s the most frequently asked question you receive when you show your art work? I bet its “How long did it take you to make it?” We’ve all heard this many times. My cheeky response has always been “A life time.”

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Windy City #6 by Laura Wasilowski

But not any more. I decided to actually keep track of my time when making Windy City #6. It measures about 9″ x 12″, is made with fused fabric scraps, hand embroidered, and machine quilted. Can you guess the total time it took to create this quilt from design to the final stitch? Give me a few answers and I’ll let you know in a few days.

Improvisation: The Only Way to Design

improv10Lucky me! I just came across this set of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages for art making. (Note to self: clear my work table more often.) Sure some of the pieces are 10 years old. But like starter dough, these scraps have great art making potential.

improv20But first, a batik background fabric is selected to provide a base for the design work. Working on a background helps you choose the colors for the elements in the design and gives you an idea of what size it will be. This set of odds and ends are pulled from the “fused for your convenience” scrap pile to kick start the design. 

improv21And here’s the design made with some of the fused fabric shapes and other shapes found in my mound of pre-fused scraps. Improvising is the only way to go! Next up? Hand embroidery, of course.