How to Make Needlepoint Fit Ready-made Frames

Originally posted 2009-09-02 07:36:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

bargello needlepoint cupcake, designed by janet perry

I finished this Bargello cupcake last week and decided it would look fantastic in a rough wood frame I have. It’s great to use frames you find inexpensively to frame your needlepoint and it can cut finishing costs dramatically, but, as my friend Marianne learned, it isn’t as easy as it looks.

First, be aware that the stated frame “size” is the size of the opening NOT the size of the picture on the front. Depending on how much lip there is on the frame the size of what shows can be considerably smaller. Therefore, unless you “test” your design by fitting the frame over it, plan of having white space all around your design.

My problem here is that I have a pretty center and a frame, but I need to know how much background to stitch.

If you have cardboard in your frame place it under the needlepoint, center the design on it and mark a little line of each side. connect the lines. If you have glass only, put it on top of the design, center the needlework and mark. Draw the lines without the glass or cardboard in the way.

Use a light colored thin marker safe for fabric to mark. Let dry overnight and stitch. I always stitch over the lines, just to be sure.

If your frame has no glass or cardboard, measure the inside dimension of the frame as well as the dimensions of the opening. Center the design using the inside dimension (You can do this by putting the frame on top of the needlepoint. But use the size of the opening for stitching the background.


  1. says

    Since, as you know, I am a fancy stitch moron, I see a simple Parisian stitch here. One of the things I have been playing with is doing Parisian Stitch in 2 colors, working 2 needles at once. I do the stronger color for the *long* stitches and the less dominant color (or a metallic) for the *short stitches*.

    I posted some pictures of the results of this stitch in 2 colors on my blog last night, if you want to go see them.

    This effect might make a simple and striking background to the cupcake.

    BTW, most picture frame face openings are between 1/4 to 1/2 inch smaller than the stated frame size. A few are less or more, so Janet is right, it varies frame to frame.


  2. Betsy says

    I often frame my pieces using “found” frames that I like. Sometimes I’ll paint the frame to match a color in the piece.

    But I wanted to make the point that I think there is a common misconception that the background needs to be stitched. I don’t think it has to. I will often stitch a small pattern and it looks perfectly fine to show the canvas. I often dye my canvases beforehand with some great natural dyes and that can be your background.

    My biggest problem is where to put all these wonderful framed works of art (art to me anyway). I’m starting to go the way of the crazy cat lady that has cats everywhere. I have needlepoint everywhere!



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