One of the most important things a stitcher needs to be aware of is how to keep a project clean while you are stitching and framing it. From fun string art projects to tedious month long extravaganzas. There is nothing worse than spending many, sometimes hundreds, of hours on a cherished project only to end up with stains or floss bleeding on it and ruining it.
Setting the Colors In Fabric and Floss
Many people wonder whether or not it is necessary to wash your fabric before stitching on it like you do when you are sewing something. You can wash it if you like, but I don’t feel it is necessary. What I do though, is if I am stitching on a dark colored fabric, I will set the fabric in a solution of one part white vinegar to 3 parts cold water to ensure the colors don’t run later when I wash the completed project. Do not worry that this will cause shrinking. I have never had this happen. The key to preventing shrinkage is always to use cold water. The fabric will retain its stiffness, also. The stiffness is a result of sizing that is added to most fabrics when they’re manufactured.
With “regular” cotton floss (DMC, Anchor, JP Coats), it is always a good idea to set the colors, especially the darker ones, before you begin stitching with them. Reds of any brand have always been noted for running onto fabric when washed or ironed. Other colors, especially dark ones, can’t be guaranteed to be colorfast any more in any brand of regular cotton floss. The reason is an environmental one–many of the chemicals used by floss manufacturers to set colors cannot be used now because they can cause environmental pollution. No floss should be considered colorfast anymore. Again, use a solution of one part white vinegar to 3 parts cold water. Soak the floss in the solution for about 15 minutes, after having removed the labels from the skeins. It’s easier to keep track of which color you’re setting if you do only one at a time. After you allow the floss to soak, rinse it for several minutes under cold water, until the water runs clear. Doing this will remove the vinegar solution. Then, lay each skein on a white cotton terry towel to dry overnight. As soon as it’s dry, it can be used. Note – this should not be tried with any specialty threads. You will need to check with the manufacturer of the thread to determine the best way to handle them.