End-of-Summer Dinner

comments: 82


As mentioned, I am trying to play catch up, and catch up in particular with my crazy in-box! One of the messages that showed up in it last week or so was a recipe from Martha Stewart for Creamy Pasta with Peas. I made it and it was delicious. It has pine nuts and arugula in it, and they make a huge difference in the taste, so don't forget those.

Switching gears, are there any embroiderers out there who have an opinion on framing under glass vs. not framing under glass when it comes to things like cross-stitch samplers or crewelwork? Can you give me your opinion or experience with this? I am working on two pieces that will ultimately need finishing and my little brain is processing options. I have always had my embroidery framed under glass at a framing place, but I am interested in the pros and cons of doing so. Any thoughts? Any framing recommendations? Thank you!


Weighing in on the glass/no glass... When I first started stitching I took my finished items to a wonderful embroidery store for the framing. They recommended no glass--especially if the finished piece was going to hang on an outside wall. The reason was that glass can trap humidity and promote rotting of the finished piece. I live in a relatively humid place (it's no Houston or Seattle but...) and since one of the pieces I had framed was the first sampler my mother did as a girl in the 30s I paid careful attention. In my experience, the pieces don't get that dusty since they're flat on the wall--I vacuum them regularly and I have always had fluffy long-haired pets. Hope that helps! I'll be interested to hear what others have found.

I have just recently switched to NOT using glass in framing my cross stitch. A friend of mine has done this for years and I much prefer the look of it. She claims her work hasn't faded, though she makes sure not to put it in direct light. The look of the stitching doesn't flatten as it does under glass. Nor is the texture and whimsy of stitching lost. Of course it is better protected under glass and there is no real way around that that I'm aware of. Unless I wanted my embroidery to be passed down to the next generation I would leave it open with just a frame and no matting. Simple, sweet.

(Just read Laura's remarks about glass trapping humidity. Interesting. Thanks, Laura!)

I recently had one of my mother's vintage cross-stitch pieces framed {http://www.flickr.com/photos/22309813@N02/2763175949/in/set-72157603903912042/} & we did it with glass {clear, not the non-glare kind}. I think what made it work for me was that the framer put spacers all the way around so it didn't feel all mushed. Personally, I'm a big shadowbox person {http://www.flickr.com/photos/22309813@N02/2386352694/in/set-72157603903912042/} so there's glass but also room for the piece to breath. Although, you could also skip the glass {http://www.flickr.com/photos/22309813@N02/2314930997/in/set-72157603903912042/} which is kind of cool too...sorry for all the links!

G., I suspect the spacers will also help with the humidity problem, providing that little extra air circ as it does. (You're welcome, Colleen. I think we're all going to come away with greater knowledge. Thanks, Alicia, for providing the forum that got us all thinking.)

okay - none of those links are working...I'm so sorry, how embarrassing!

They're all in my handmade set on flickr if you're interested...again, sorry for the mess I made!

{I too found the remarks about humidity interesting - thank you!}

I agree with Laura and Colleen. No glass (and the vacuuming idea is great). Makes the whole concept of fabric and stitching and texture that much more accessible.

Although in the long run it will become slightly dusty, I much prefer to have it framed without the glass. I like to see and touch the texture of the stitches. Glass seems to make it a tad too glossy. But then again I'm one of those people that search for my photos to be printed in matte.

Dinner looks delicious! I always frame under glass - the good/non-glare (and sometimes even the UV) kind. I mat the work usually so no "smooshing" occurs. I figure if I've spent all that time and money making the piece that LAST thing I'm going to do is have it get dusty and grimey. As for more primitive works that might not require a mat - a good frame shop will put spacers in so it's not against the glass.

If you do frame, Non-glare glass is critical.

Mmm. I love peas in farfalle pasta. I usually like to throw in some bacon too, but arugula sounds delish. Thanks for the idea!

The pasta looks delicious! I wish I could get my husband to eat green things.

As a cross-stitcher, I like to frame with glass. It's mainly because when you have a non-glass framed piece, PEOPLE TOUCH IT! And that is so so wrong. Oils from your hands then get on the piece and then you can't clean it. I like glass, with spacers.

Depends how long you want it to last! If it's for the long term (and if you put in all that work then of course it is!) then you need to protect fabric with glass. But never never frame textiles so that they are in contact with the glass. This is not only to prevent the squashed look - it is because even the tiniest invisible bits of moisture will eventually rot your work. There will always be humidity and condensation in a home!
For something like a cross stitch, framing can be as simple as using a double or triple mount to just lift the glass a couple of mm away from the work.
Alternatively you can use spacers in the frame or a box (shadow) frame as suggested. Most of my work needs a box frame because of the depth of the embellishments but I chose very simple ones and paint them myself to compliment the work. I think it's really always worth taking advice from a conservation framer. Things like using acid free tape and board are also important. And sealing the back of the frame against itsy bitsy bugs. Good luck! t.x

On glass or no glass - I think it depends on what you like. I have finished mine both ways and prefer no glass - I think it shows off stitch definition better - glass sometimes flattens a piece although most good framing will put in spacers between the glass and the piece. I also think you can "see" the stitched piece better without glass - no glare from the glass and you can see stitch definition and colors better. The one drawback of no glass is a piece tends to get dirtier faster.

I agree with Amy, I prefer my work to be framed with glass. But I had a really good framer back in SA who used to custom make "box" frames according to the depth of the design, so the glass never rested on the embroidery. I haven't had anything framed in the UK yet...

I don't use glass because 1) we're a non-smoking household and 2) we don't live in a dusty place. I know how to take care of nonframed embroideries so there's no need. The main drawback to framing is that if it is done improperly, the textile will be damaged.

I don't usually comment, preferring to lurk in the back and enjoy the conversation, but I do have some experience in framing needlework. I worked in a frame shop for several years and framed lots of needlework, my own as well as others. I usually choose to use glass properly spaced either with matting or spacers. I like the protection that it provides for my hard work. But it does seem to be a very personal choice. I would say that about 75% of our customers ended up using glass on their work.

There are different kinds of non-glare glass and you have to be careful. Regular non-glare glass is designed to be placed right next to the artwork (like a poster), which you don't want to do with stitching for the humidity reasons that someone else already pointed out. It has a fuzzy look when there is space between it and the art which gets worse the farther the distance from the art is. I have always recommended against using it unless the piece is very flat and the glass can be placed a very small distance from it.

These days there is a wonderful glass known as 'museum glass' that provides UV protection as well as eliminating almost all glare. It can be expensive but is worth it for something that you really feel strongly about. I use it on my work that I consider to be 'heirloom' pieces.

The other type of glass I use regularly is called 'Conservation Clear'. It provides UV protection but has no non-glare properties so you need to be careful about where you hang the finished piece if glare really bothers you. Your framer should be able to show you examples of the different types to compare.

Hope this helps. I always find it exciting to get to the point on a needlework project of framing and hanging it. I really enjoy your blog, it is a nice cheery spot on the web.

For pieces I really love I've used glass but with spacers so it doesn't like directly on the stitching. I've been really pleased with the results. The pieces stay clean and dust free. I have lots of stuff without glass, but it does get dusty (sigh, I'm a crappy housekeeper) and it just seems to fade more.

Another vote for no glass, though my embroidery does get dusty (maybe I should vacuum more, ahem). I just think you're able to appreciate the texture a bit more without glass, and I'm always on a budget, too, and the museum or non-glare glass can get really pricey...

Textile artists do not frame with glass. It alters the appearance of the fabric and stitching, and it isolates the viewer from the textural qualities of the piece. Also, you run the risk of ultimately damaging the fabric if everything used in the frame or shadow box construction (including the spacers) is NOT acid-free.

It's actually safer to frame without glass, and it presents the work better. Shadow-boxing would be the next best, if the piece is already deteriorating. Flat-framing with glass is the least attractive option.

People touching the handwork is probably the least thing to be worried about -- after all, YOU have already touched it rather extensively!

I've always used glass because of our strong California sun, but the framer always puts good spacers in there so that the humidity doesn't get trapped. :)

connieswales says: September 18, 2008 at 01:15 PM

I have taken a liking to framing cross stitch without glass, sometimes matted, sometimes not, and putting some batting behind it to make it a little "poufy".

connieswales says: September 18, 2008 at 01:19 PM

I have taken a liking to framing cross stitch without glass, sometimes matted, sometimes not, and putting some batting behind it to make it a little "poufy".

I worked in a textile museum and I was a picture framer for many years. Glass should never directly touch an original artwork, since, as several people pointed out, it will trap humidity which can ultimately deteriorate the piece (this goes for paintings, photographs and textiles). If you are framing pieces that you made and are solely for your pleasure (and you aren't worried about handing them on to later generations), then by all means frame without glass. But if you have an old piece or an heirloom textile, then it should be properly framed using all acid free materials, with acid-free mats and spacers and UV protective glass (conservation clear glass - as a commenter pointed out). Dust, oil and airborne pollutants (kitchen grease travels everywhere) will break down your fabric very quickly. It's expensive, but worth it in the long run if you want it to last.

As a museum professional who has worked with extensively with both textiles and framed works of art, I can honestly say that there are pros and cons to both framing techniques.

If you choose to frame without glass, then you must consider the damage that dust and oils from handling the piece will do. And when you do vacuum the piece, you must do so with much care, otherwise you can cause extensive damage. Light can also be more of an issue as there is no protection from UV. As the above mentioned poster mentioned, most textile artists do not frame under glass as you do lose texture and detail.

Under-glass framing with proper spacers eliminates the dust and oil problem and can help prolong the life of needlework, particularly if museum type glass is used (as it eliminates the damaging UV rays).

The bigger problem is whether or not everything being used in the framing technique is acid-free and lignin-free. If there is even one item that is not acid-free, lignin-free, then you will have problems in the future with deterioration.

In both cases, you must avoid hanging framed work on an outside wall as fluctuations in temperature and humidity will cause problems with moisture. That is usually avoided by using corroplast as a backing material. You must also keep textiles out of direct sunlight as that will cause extensive fading and weakening of textiles.

The only true way to protect an item from damage is to keep it away from light, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and from human hands. Unfortunately, then you would never be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.