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Cleaning Cross Stitch
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Cleaning Cross Stitch

It is important to protect your cross stitch fabric while work is in progress. Always cover your work when you put it down, even for a short time, to ensure it is kept clean and to avoid accidental mishaps. Store it in a bag or a cotton pillowcase. Get into the habit of putting it away if you are interrupted or at the very least, cover it. Obviously, your hands should be clean at all times while you are handling your cross stitch cloth.

If you have a spillage, blot up as much as you can with a clean towel and rinse the area immediately. A small amount of mild detergent (one suitable for washing wool) can be gently dabbed on stubborn stains, but you should rinse it out as quickly as possible. If you prick your finger and it bleeds on to your work, a tiny amount of blood can be removed with your own saliva.

If you wash must clean your cross stitch work, never rub, scrunch or screw up the material. Do not use harsh detergents and do not leave your work to soak. Remove the excess moisture by gently patting with a clean, dry towel. Leave it to dry neturally, away from any direct source of heat, on a flat surface on another clean, dry towel, which will support it and absorb the moisture.

Textile experts recommend rinsing in distilled or purified water to avoid the chemicals in tap water. This pure water can be obtained from any pharmacy. How valuable is your work? If you consider it as a future heirloom, then it is worth the extra time, effort and expense involved to keep it clean.

Once you have removed your completed cross stitch design from its frame or hoop, if you have used either of these to hold your fabric, you may find that there may be some creasing where the material has been held by the frame. To remove this, place your embroidery face down on a clean towel, preferably a white or light coloured towel, and iron the areas surronding the cross stitches. You can steam press through a lightweight cotton cloth if the creases are hard to remove and are persistent. You should never iron the embroided area as this will flatten the stitches and all the texture.

Keeping your cross stitch fabric and stitches clean is an important part of a professionally finished project. Washing and ironing cross stitch may not always be necessary if you are careful from start to finish.


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