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Lacing Needlework for Framing

Lacing Needlework for Framing

Why lacing needlework for framing is the best method.

We have always used the lacing method for needlework framing and always will. That is, unless some much improved and reliable method is invented. Although it is time consuming it brings the best results. The advantage of it is that the work can be easily straightened, and even moved slightly to get it even all the way around. Some needlework or tapestries can be quite distorted when they come to us for framing. This can be caused by the stitcher having an uneven tension. It doesn’t actually spoil the look of the needlework. It just takes extra time to straighten out but the finished result is very rewarding. By using the lacing method, we can stretch it this way and that until you wouldn’t know it for the distorted piece it was.

Some picture framers use the stapling method…

Staples are thicker than needles and will damage finer fabrics. They can pierce the thread and cause it to run like a ladder if it is fine cotton. Needles go through the fabric leaving little damage.  While thicker fabrics like those used for tapestries could withstand the stapling method, it is not a method we would use. Staples can also rust over time. We have reframed some pictures that have been stapled. If the staples have left rust marks, the only solution is to hide them with an extra matboard border or make the picture smaller. The extra matboard really enhances and transforms the picture. However, making the picture smaller would make it look rather inferior.

Adhesive mounting – a method that no professional picture framer should ever use.

We’ve seen a few DIY framed needlework that have been glued. Over time that glue can leach through the needlework leaving unsightly markings that will be there to stay. We call this kind of method ‘cowboy framing’. In other words, it is done with little pride and skill and a couldn’t care less approach.

Leaching due to adhesive mounting can be prevented if attended to soon enough…

If needlework that has been glued or mounted with adhesives is brought to us soon enough, it can be reframed using the lacing method used by professional framers. However, this is not possible if very strong glue has been used. The needlework is likely to become damaged when being removed. We can try to soften the glue by warming with a hairdryer. But it might damage the needlework. It would be done at the owners own risk. In fact it would be best left for the owner of the needlework to try this method.

In conclusion… taking shortcuts in mounting needlework for framing will never work.

While it may not be evident at first that adhesives or staples have been used, it will be discovered later. Unfortunately when discovered it might be too late. Leaching or damage from adhesives might have already left their mark.  Any picture framer that takes a pride in their work will not cheat or take shortcuts.  

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