Yet another project underway in the Needle ‘n Thread studio this year is one instigated by my rather brilliant sidekick Anna. It’s being completely managed by her as well. It’s one of those projects that has hung over my head for years, that just keeps growing… and growing… and growing.
When I work up embroidered samples of things to demonstrate techniques or to illustrate ideas for the blog, normally, those embroidered pieces end up relegated to a box or a folder. I pull them out when I have classes, or when someone wants to see some work up close.
When it comes to my home, I’m always of a mind that there is such a thing as Too Many Framed Pieces, but at work, it’s a little different. We have a good bit of wall space in the studio, and it’s pretty much blank! Plus, it’s a working studio, not a home.
A Wall (or two) of Inspiration seems to be a good idea.
To that end, Anna proposed that she undertake framing a wide selection of embroidery pieces, large and small, that have languished in The Box for a while.
I said, “Go for it.”
And so the Great Framing Project of 2022 was underway. It’s definitely an ongoing project, for several reasons.
The most notable reason is that buying frames new is not a possibility. To buy new frames for the number of pieces we’ve pulled for framing would be too expensive. Instead, we’re finding frames via thrift stores, garage sales, local online marketplace sales and the like.
This is such a great way to pick up a large quantity of frames affordably. They aren’t all necessarily engineered for needlework, but Anna knows how to fiddle with them and make them work. There are some components that we need to buy new as we go (spacers, maybe some cut mats), but these little expenses are the negligible part of framing.
And occasionally, there’s a frame and glass that I might buy new, because of the piece being framed.
For example, we decided the Secret Garden Hummingbirds needed a round frame. It’s hard to find round frames out in thrift stores and such – although frames on mirrors are sometimes an option. For this, though, Anna hunted down some affordable round frames. We tried other colors, but the frame we thought worked best was the black.
I don’t often say “it looks better in real life” when it comes to photos, but this does look better in real life!
In my mind, I always thought bubble glass (convex glass) over the hummingbirds would look good, so Anna hunted that down, too. In true form, she went a frugal route. Instead of buying bubble glass from a specialty shop (The Victorian Frame Company online serves up new bubble glass), she looked for glass for clock faces and found a much more affordable piece from a clock the same size as the frame. Much less expensive than buying new!
It looks great in person! There’s no distortion from the bubble glass. You simply get the sense of a nice little bubble of glass over the embroidery.
With the exception of the hummingbird frame, all the other frames so far are thrift frames, picked up at thrift stores and the like. They’re not usually empty – sometimes, they have art prints or similar in them – but she just removes whatever is in the potential frame, cleans up the frame and the glass, and goes from there.
I’ve written before about how to frame embroidery, and these are the techniques she’s using.
It’s funny, I probably would never have framed the lattice jumble sampler. It was more of a play and study piece, rather than a display piece. But it fit really well in this frame, so I said, “Why not?”
Little Gertrude McFuzz, a practice piece for tambour work, got a delicate frame and mat. She looks sweet!
This sparkly shisha piece with beads and metallic threads works well in a typical gold-toned photo frame.
And this little blooming tree (which will show up this year again on the website, in a slightly different form) worked out well in a frame that matches Gertrude’s.
That was a few days of framing work by the intrepid sidekick, and I think they all turned out great.
My idea is to switch out framed pieces for display in our main work room. There is one large wall that does not get direct sun, so it’ll be a good place to establish a bit of color and to see a visual progress of projects that have developed over the years here on Needle ‘n Thread.
I suspect The Great Frame Job may very well last throughout 2022, as we ferret out thrifty frames here and there. I’ll keep you abreast on the developments of The Wall as it grows!
Taking a Break
We’ll be taking a break here on Needle ‘n Thread through next Wednesday, to observe the rest of Holy Week and to celebrate Easter.
Remember, next Wednesday’s the day I’ll let you know when the kit for Cotton Quartet will be available. We’re waiting for one last piece to the kits (a specific needle), which is due to arrive tomorrow. And then we can assemble and go! Yay!
If you’re eager to get the kit, look for that announcement of date and time for the kit launch in next Wednesday’s article.
I hope you have a joyful Easter and a wonderful week!
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