needlework birds

Framing Needlework With Glass?

Needlepoint in progress

When our customers bring us their cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel or other needlework, one question often comes up: Should needlework be framed with glass? While conventional wisdom used to say no or “it depends,” new information from conservators and expert framers leads us to always recommend it. There are clear advantages:

  • Protection from insects – Silk and wool in particular are very attractive to insects, and they will usually find a way to get under the needlework, causing damage while hidden. By the time it’s noticed it’s too late.
  • Protection from dirt – Even in the cleanest house there may be pollutants in the air that cannot be controlled. It may be dust from the outside or sources inside the house such as an old furnace or a fireplace. The soiling may not be apparent at first, but it will build up over time and cleaning may not be practical. It is much easier to keep it clean to begin with than to attempt to clean the needlework later. And don’t forget sneezes and curious little fingers!
  • Protection from UV light – UV light is the most damaging portion of the spectrum, but it’s also the most easily controlled. The glass we use offers 99% UV protection, which means colors will stay vibrant and resist fading for many years to come. And don’t forget that light reflects, so it doesn’t have to hang near a window to be in danger.

Framed needlepoint woodpecker

An objection we sometimes hear is that glare on the glass detracts from the enjoyment of the framed needlework or that the visual texture is lost when glass is used. We understand that, and there is an answer. Museum Glass® has a coating, similar to what you might have on your glasses, that virtually eliminates reflections and is so clear that it is often hard to tell there is glass in the frame. We (and our customers!) love it.

Our customers are concerned about glass being in contact with their needlework, and so are we. In fact, we don’t like to put glass against any artwork. Minute amounts of condensation on the inside surface of the glass can, over time, lead to the growth of mold or mildew. This is why we always recommend mats, spacers, fabric-wrapped liners or other methods to put plenty of space between the glass and your needlework. If you use dimensional stitches, beads or other embellishments, a little extra space will be needed to keep the glass away from those, too.

Are you entering your needlework in a competition? If so, congratulations and good luck! We know that the rules generally require that they be framed without glass so that the judges can scrutinize your work very closely. Once your needlework (and hopefully a ribbon) is back in your hands, please bring it in and we’ll be happy to put the glass in for you. We might even be able to take care of it while you wait.

At The Great Frame Up we know what an investment in time and money needlework is, and that it can become an instant family heirloom. We’ll help you make sure the frame is worthy of your work every time. Feel free to contact us if we can answer any questions you might have.

Happy stitching!


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