Congratulations. You just finished your project! Now before rushing to frame it or turn it into a pillow or whatever finishing idea you have in mind, you will have to wash your cross stitch.
No matter how much you cared for your fabric while working, your project will have some residual oils from your hands, and/or dust. You may not see stains right now, but with time stains may develop. In order for your piece to last, a few steps must be taken.
First of all, start by gently running it under cold water. If your piece has additional items such as beads, be extra careful. If you start noticing colors changing, it may simply be the fabric becoming transparent when wet and the colors from the back showing. However, if you notice some color bleeding, we’ll explain how to fix it later on in this article.
Next, place the piece in cold water. You can also use a little bit of soap or detergent, but don’t overdo it. Gently wash your piece without scrubbing or pulling too hard. Your stitches may be solid in place but can get loose if there is some intense scrubbing.
Let the water drain out of the fabric. Don’t squeeze it out! Then, place it on a dry towel and roll it. Give it a tiny squeeze and unroll it. Keep doing so until all the water is gone. It may still be a little damp, so leave it face up on the towel to air dry.
Modern threads have a very low chance of color bleeding. The most common bleeding risk is the bright hard colors like red for example. Not only can they bleed, but they may overpower other colors in the piece. If this happens, go back to rinsing in cold water until the bleeding stops. Wash again the affected area and evaluate how bad the stain is. Most of the time, you should be fine and all the bleeding gone since you (of course) didn’t leave it to dry out.
So far, I haven’t really felt the need to do any ironing on my cross stitch. I am extremely careful with hoop marks and storing so by the end I’m pretty much covered. Since this is not always the case with everyone, here’s what to do if you need to do some ironing. As a start, it is important to note that you should not be using too much heat. Place your piece face down between two towels and iron on a warm setting.
That’s the basics for washing your cross stitch piece. Now, when you frame it, you will have peace of mind about the durability of your work.