Damp Stretching & Blocking – Cross Stitch and Embroidery

Ruth O’Leary – Damp Stretching and Blocking

Check out this post by NeedlenThread on damp stretching and blocking your hand embroidery pieces. I had a look online and there’s quite a few tutorials on it, but many seem to link back to NeedlenThread’s tutorial anyway .. But here’s another tutorial I found, just to see a different version of the process.

As a brief run down, it’s basically pinning your work to a corkboard or something similar, lightly misting your slightly stretched piece, and letting it dry whilst still pinned. This method removes the creases created by storing or folding your piece, or the hoop crease from using an embroidery hoop.

There’s a couple of small speed humps I see with this method;

  1. Having a corkboard, or space big enough to adequately gently stretch my piece,
  2. Having enough space on said corkboard, especially if I’m using this method on a couple of different pieces, and
  3. Having enough pins to pin it all in hehe!

I’m going to give this method a go though, because I’ve personally found it’s way too easy to crush my stitches when I hand wash and iron my piece. I believe the crushing of stitches occurs during the ironing process .. Even though I iron my piece on a towel with stitches facing down. When I frame in a picture frame, I can sometimes see a little ripple in my aida, and I don’t know how to stop this from happening.

I like that it seems to be a gentle way of framing and “ironing” a piece, but one question I do have is regarding washing. For instance, if I’ve worked on a piece for long time I know there will be oil on my hands, and I like to wash my piece so there’s no chance of discolouration occurring over a long period of time. Washing it, and having to iron it flat would defeat the purpose of damp stretching and blocking, so I might give this a go on a small project that I’ve been able to quickly stitch I think.

Let me know if you’re interested in this method, and I’ll let you know how I find it once I’ve given this a go!

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