The Beginning of the End

bargello needlepoint in sudberry mini box designed and stitched by needlepoint expert janet m. perry

A bit of stitching, add a box and you have an instant gift.

Earlier this year I had a problem with several things I sent to a new finisher. First they were finished incorrectly. When sent back they were kept or several months until I asked for them back. Eventually they were returned untouched from the bad finishing.

All have been redone, but we often have tales of woe about finishing. When thinking about finishing you can take it to a shop or finisher or do it yourself. Let’s talk about all three options.

Outside Finishing

Most needlepoint shops offer finishing services. Often a shop will use different finishers depending on the item. Some shops do finishing themselves.

You have the right, as the customer, to know

  • where the finishing will be done (some shops won’t disclose this)
  • how much it will cost
  • whether you need to provide materils
  • what examples of that company’s finishing looks like

I’ve sent finishing out where I had to provide the thread for cording, finishing material, or both. I’ve gotten finishing done where the finisher provided a notebook with pictures of finished items and samples of material for me to pick as backing. I have also gotten finishing done where the shop wouldn’t disclose the company.

You also should never give the shop or finisher carte blanc to do what they like. Require verbal approval before they do things if you have not specified or agreed on price in advance. Otherwise you may end up, as one woman did, with an $800 charge on your credit card.

Stand-alone Finishers

These companies and individuals do finishing for both shops and stitchers. Usually you will hear about them by word of mouth, although some do advertise or have websites. For these companies the same rules as for shops apply. Know the price, know what you need to provide, and see examples of the work.

Today a big trend in needlepoint finishing is to have lots of embellishment, trim, and stuff. If you want things simple, don’t be afraid to say so. I like things simple so I’m so happy that my finisher does too. I know she’ll finish things in the restrained style I like.

DIY Finishing

With the many self-finishing products and the easy availability of ready-made frames, finishing yourself is a great option. I do this for many items and I love it. Here are some tips for doing this successfully.

  1. All frames that say they are the same size aren’t. Measure or use the paper inset in the frame to check the size.
  2. The margins on frames and self-finishing items differ. Take that into account when trimming.
  3. Stitched needlepoint is slightly smaller than unstitched canvas, always add a stitch or two on each side to take account of this.
  4. Interlock canvas doesn’t ravel and is thinner than mono. Use this when space is tight or things need to be sewn.
  5. If canvas shows, use scrapbook paper or fabric behind the needlepoint. Paper for framed items, fabric for pillows and accessories.
  6. Make self-finished accessories permanent by carefully gluing down the margins after you have tucked in the needlepoint.
  7. If your item is too thin to take needlepoint, for example a photo album, stitch something and make a good copy to put in the item. Then finish the actual item another way.
  8. Be imaginative, many items can be repurposed to hold needlepoint.

There are few things more disappointing than badly finished needlepoint and few things more delightful thn beautifully finished ones. Just remember to be a good consumer as well as a good creator.

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