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Should I put my cross-stitch under glass?

I, personally, prefer not to use glass on my needlework. Fabrics and thread surfaces have a softness, a texture. Glass is a cold, hard surface, and I find that it detracts from the texture of the needlework that I find so attractive.

However, there are situations that call for glass…
The first is if the piece is going into a home with smokers, a coal or wood-burning stove or into a kitchen. In these cases there are a lot of particles in the air that could land on the needlework and soil or damage it.

The second is if it is to be framed with a mat and is going to be hung in a bathroom. Mats are just colored paper (usually) and are easily spotted by water and even steam, which is moisture in the air.
If you choose to use glass on your needlework, keep the following thoughts in mind…

Glass placed directly on the needlework will crush raised stitches like French knots.

Theoretically, glass will remain cold longer than the surrounding air, so that moisture in the air may condense on the glass, even the inside of glass. If moisture is trapped between the glass and fabric, mildew may occur. This is generally not a problem in our centrally-heated homes – room temperatures do not vary widely in any one day as they did in the homes our grandparents – so placing the glass directly on the fabric usually is OK. Except, of course, in the bathroom…or if you live in a very humid climate. In such a situation, a “spacer” of some sort is required. Mats are the most common used spacers – with one of more mats placed atop the needlework, the fabric and threads do not come in contact with the glass. There are also several types of mechanical spacers that your framer can use, or sell to you if you do your own mounting and framing.

Then there is always the question of clear versus non-glare glass. Clear glass will pick up reflections of light (windows or lamps), but this can be avoided by careful placement of the framed piece in relation to the light source. Non-glare glass may be used to avoid this problem, but keep in mind that this product tends to lose it’s non-glare properties the further it is raised off the image (as with multiple mats). Non-glare glass also adds a gray hue to the picture.

The final decision is yours – frame your work for maximum enjoyment.

Information from Cross Country Stitching Magazine columns "Ask Judie" - Judie Solomon, Thistle Needleworks & "Carol’s Crafty Corner" - Carol Rice, The Craft Menagerie


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