Thursday, 3 March 2011


I finished Loving Couple several weeks ago and kept telling myself that I had plenty of time to finish and mount it but somehow I put it off and put it off until there were only a couple of weeks left before my next Japanese embroidery class.

I did the finishing two weekends ago (I described the finishing process here when I finished Karahana) and last weekend I mounted it ready for framing. When I had finished Suehiro I took it off the frame but did not mount it immediately. I noticed that some of the stitching, particularly the metallic threads, distorted so now I leave my embroidery on the frame until I am ready to mount it.

The process to remove the embroidery from the frame is the exact opposite of the process of framing up.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Remove the protective tissue paper. Untie and remove the chopsticks. Remove the lacing stitches.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Remove the nails and unwind the horizontal bars and remove the embroidery.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Next I remove the end fabrics. Very often leave about an inch of end fabric to give myself plenty of fabric for lacing; on this occasion that was not necessary.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

With the design trimmed I moved it to a prepared work area. I place a big fluffy towel on the table and cover that with tissue paper, shiny (smooth) side up. I place my embroidery face down on the tissue paper.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

The mount board I am using is 3mm archival foam board; my framer cut it to size for me. I use a layer of silk wadding between the foam board and the fabric. In the past I have found it difficult to keep the wadding in place while positioning it and the foam board on the fabric. This time I attached the wadding to the board with 505 spray which made things much easier.

This picture shows the silk wadding attached to the board but the board is the wrong way up. The board should be wadding side down on the fabric

I work out how to position the design on the board while the fabric is still on the frame and stitch a guideline using couching thread. This only serves as a guide and I measure carefully to make sure the board is in the correct position and aligned with the weft.

Then I begin pinning. Starting at the centre of either the top or bottom edge, I insert a single pin through the fabric and into the foam between the two layers of card. I insert the second pin at the center point on the opposite edge pulling the fabric taught as I do. I then work out towards each edge pinning first one side then the other tensioning the fabric. I place the pins at half inch intervals, if find this helpful when it comes to lacing.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

When the top and bottom are pinned I turn the work over and recheck the position and make sure the design is straight before pinning the two sides in the same way. When the sides are pinned I turn the work face up and check once more that the work is straight and correctly positioned – you cannot check often enough!

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

For the lacing I used G├╝termann top stitch thread and a Japanese handmade needle to do the lacing. To calculate how much thread I need, I pseudo lace by catching the thread around the pins, then add some for luck. For some reason, I thought that I needed to pseudo lace back in the opposite direction but this gave me twice as much thread as I needed and the surplus thread was a nuisance!

Starting at the center pin, I make a stitch roughly ¼ inch long and pull half of the thread through (the other half will be used later). I then make a ¼ inch stitch on the opposite edge starting in line with the end of the first stitch so the thread is perpendicular to the edge of the board. I continue to stitch first one side then the other at ¼ inch intervals keeping the stitches close to the edge of the board. At this stage there is no need to pull the stitches tight but the thread does have a tendency to tangle if you try to pull it through too quickly. In fact, it has a tendency to tangle whatever you do but I find that pulling slowly and steadily with one hand while maintaining a slight tension on the thread with the other hand helps.

When I get close to the corner I fold the fabric under to make a mitred corner. If necessary I use my tekobari to push the folds into place and smooth out any wrinkles or bulges. When I have stitched all the way to the edge, I temporarily secure the thread by winding it around the pins. Returning to the centre, I thread the other half of the thread and lace towards the other edge. I forgot to mention that before I do the lacing, I attach a label saying what the design is, whon stitched it and when. Later I put the same label on the back of the frame.

When all of the stitches are in place, I tighten them. Starting at one edge I pull the first stitch tight. I keep the tension on that stitch with one hand while I pull the next stitch taught and so on until I have tensioned every stitch and wind the thread around the pins to secure it. I then repeat the process and tension every stitch for a second time. To permanently secure the thread, I make two close parallel stitches through the fabric then make 2 or 3 half hitch knots around the stitches. I then make 2 stitches on the opposite edge and do 2 or 3 half hitch knots around the stitches. I make one more stitch an inch or two away from the knots before I cut of the surplus thread.

The remaining 2 sides are laced in exactly the same way and finally the holding pins are removed. Job done!

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Susan of Plays with Needles wrote a very good blog about lacing.

Happy Stitching


Rachel said...

Lacing is one of those rather tedious but necessary finishing-off stages, isn't it!

Margaret said...

I am so impressed by your lacing. I would never have the patience to do it so meticulously. But the results are perfect and well worth the work. Wonderful. I love ducks.

Christine said...

This is a really nice post. It will be of great help to those learning how to lace, it's so complete. I didn't think of using silk batting...... I've used white baby flannel with good results (as suggested by my Jap Embr teacher), and I've heard others use wool felt. Lacing is a lot of work, and it typically takes me 'one day' to get that job done (I cut the foam core myself). Oh, about the foam core, I use a super strong version, e.g. "Mighty Core", or another version called something like "Hardy Core" (I get it from my framer). My framer likes this because it won't potentially warp after lacing, which might be an issue with larger pieces?