Margaret Randolph

Margaret Randolph
Margaret Randolph stitched by Jenny


Friday, 11 January 2013

To frame, or not to frame?

Now that I have a finished sampler - what next?  Nicola asked, How do I plan to frame her?  I realized I have no idea.

Do samplers always, or almost always, get framed?
How do you find a good framer?  

The one thing I've had framed in the last ten years was a medium-sized watercolor.  I took it to a local chain store, one that offers regular deep discounts.  Even so, the price was alarming.  (I could have brought home five more watercolors for the cost of framing the one.)  A sampler will need more special handling and I'm terrified of what it will cost. 

The very old antique samplers were never meant to be framed at all, and have narrow turned hems.  Many old Dutch samplers have beautiful hemstitched edges.

The first sampler exhibit I saw was a collection of 17th century band samplers, and they were not framed.  Instead, a piece of fabric (maybe linen or a linen-look cotton) was stretched over something like a frame for an artist's canvas.  The covered frames were an inch or two bigger than the samplers on all sides, and the samplers were very gently basted onto the stretched fabric covers.  There was no glass over them.

I am very tempted to try this myself.  Stretcher bars come in a lot of sizes, so it would be easy to build a custom frame and cover it with fabric.  The Scottish Band might look quite handsome hemstitched and mounted on a blue cotton velvet.

Does anybody else go through this kind of dithering when they finish a sampler?  Right now it's pinned up on my quilt design wall where I can admire it, but that's not going to work long-term.



Dawn said...

I have some I have hem stitched, then top mounted to another piece of linen. I did frame them, and under glass.
I think the stretcher bar mounting sounds great. Leaves the door open to other options later.

Krista said...

I love your idea for mounting it hemmed on fabric. I have seen others done this way and it looks quite nice. With framing, I have used the larger chain stores however not very happy with the end result or the price. I think the best thing for a framer is to look for a local one, they tend to be less costly I think and are usually properly trained to handle needlework.

Erica near Chicago said...

Your sampler looks great! I think the advice to look for a local framer who specializes in needlework is best, but that said, I haven't yet framed one of the pieces I've finished over the years--too many moves and not enough wall space. Instead, I keep them rolled up in a piece of unbleached cotton. When I want to show them off, I simply bring them out and unroll them.

Nicola said...

I always frame mine. I am very lucky to have a good framers in the nearest small village although they heve a limited choice of frames.

You do hear some horror stories so it will be very important to check the framers out to make sure they know what they are doing.

Carmen Sutton said...

Framing I think is all in the look that you want. I have seen and done myself, hemstitch the sampler and pin it up on the wall or on a cupboard. I think what determines if I frame with or with out glass depends on the time and effort I took with the sampler.
The other thing that I do and would recomend to any needleworker is to stretch and lace your needlework yourself and then order the frame from a framer. Most framers do not like working with needlework and many do not know how so will do terrible things to to your work (knowingly or not).
Lacing takes a little time, but you know its done correctly well work the time and effort.