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Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Stitching and Framing!

Back in 2007 I completed Ellen Maurer-Stroh's Raccoon Baby as a present for my step-daughter Rachel. I intended to give it to her when I had enough money to get it framed. Well one thing after another occurred and I forgot about it. Well this year was her 21st birthday and I moved my completed stitching from a drawer in my DH's dresser (where someone had spilled something and it landed in that drawer so I had to rewash and press all the pieces in there) to a dresser in the TV room where they'd be safer. While doing this moving I rediscovered the finished raccoon and decided that the time had come to get it framed. I washed it to remove the stain from the fabric (it looked like coffee, and luckily it came out easily). Rachel's friends call her "Rachie Raccoon" and she loves raccoons. When she saw the baby raccoon design she wanted me to stitch it. She chose the hand dyed fabric from Silkweaver that it was stitched on. I stitched it with the reccomended DMC cotton floss.

I called Michael's and spoke to the lady in the framing department. She told me that the piece would be carefully pressed and properly mounted (stretched and laced) so I sent my daughter Sam to the store with the piece. She chose the frame and mat colors that I told her I wanted. I was NOT pleased with the results when we got it back the first time. I forgot to get a picture of it so I can only describe it. They did not press it so it came back all wrinkled. There was a very deep wrinkle right accross the baby's face and many wrinkles in the fabric around the stitching and further wrinkles within the stitching itself. Also the fabric was pressing through the circle cut into the mats, almost as if batting had been placed behind it and there were wrinkles between the fabric and the cut-out in the mat. I called Michael's to complain. The lady I spoke with said they would reframe it and give me a full refund of the hundred dollars (and this was 55% percent off regular price) I had paid. My DH returned the piece to Michael's.

Turns out there are two people at my local Michael's who do framing. A woman and a man. It was the man who framed my piece. When I spoke to him he was very arrogant with me and said that the piece was not framed incorrectly, that the wrinkles were caused by the various shading of the background fabric and were a trick of the lighting and eyes. He spoke to me as if he believed me to be stupid and uninformed about stitching itself and all aspects of proper framing techniques. He went on and on about how he has been framing artwork for over 10 years, has never had a piece returned before and blah blah blah. His superior attitude really ticked me off but I held my temper well. I asked him if he had pressed the piece. (I had not pressed it before giving it to them figuring it would be better for the piece if it wasn't pressed twice [once by me then again by them in the same day] as I had been told by the lady framer that the piece would be carefully pressed before mounting it. He proceeded to lecture me about how needlework should never be pressed and how he refuses to press any needlework he is asked to frame. I asked him for a logical explanation as to why cotton floss and cotton based material can not be pressed and he told me it was unsafe and a good stitcher doesn't wrinkle their fabric in the first place. He went on to say that a good stitcher's stitches always lay flat without any bumps/lumps in the stitches themselves and said my stitching was uneven, contained lumps and bumps and it was my incorrect stitching that was at fault. That's when I told him he needed to take a course in framing needlework properly because the first step is to press the work and remove wrinkles thus providing the framer with a neat, wrinkle-free piece to work with. He went on to tell me that the lady framer presses needlework and blah blah blah. He also chose to argue with me that lacing (which I had to explain to him since he didn't even know what it was) is not preferable to pinning (which is what he did) on a needlework piece. I was not happy at all. So instead of a carefully pressed, stretched, and laced piece for framing I got a stretched and pinned piece and thanks to their incompetence the present is 2 weeks late.

They re-did the framing job and the worst of the wrinkles are gone but I haven't gotten my refund because the employee says they can't give a refund on the evening shift. I will probably never get the refund as I find it very difficult to go to stores now, which is why my DH, daughter, or brother run the majority of the errands. Most errands are run in the evenings due to work schedules and availability of the cars. Anyway, here is a picture of the Raccoon Baby framed.

I love the mats and frame that Sam picked out for this piece, the mats and frame compliment the stitching very well. I will be giving it to Rachel on Tuesday. I hope she likes it!

Due to my experience with their framing department and framing employees this is the first and only piece I will ever give to Michael's for framing. They charge a lot of money, don't do it right, then blame the stitcher rather than their own incompetence when the customer is not satisfied.

I have been stitching for roughly 14 years. I am a careful, neat stitcher and never leave knots or tangles on the back that would cause lumps or wrinkles on the front. If my stitches are not coming out evenly, I remove them and re-stitch them. I was very offended by the attitude this man took with me and gave him a small lecture. I started out by telling him how long I have been stitching and where I learned my information about framing (some of it from people who work in museums and specialize in preservation of textiles in a museum). Even my first piece of stitching had even, non-lumpy stitches in it because I took the directions to heart. Those directions talked about not leaving knots or tangles on the back, how to stitch with even tension and all that beginner stuff. Here is a pic of my first ever completed cross-stitch. I know it isn't perfect, but I also know it was done extremely well for a newbie.

Ok enough complaining about bad framers and on to better things!
I've continued stitching Christmas Dreams by Joan Elliott and have some more progress on it. The hat is almost done. I am really enjoying stitching this piece!

And here is a close-up of the stitching.

It feels wonderful to be enjoying my stitching again. Feeling the need to stitch again also feels wonderful. Hopefully I will finish the hat tonight. I'm looking forward to showing off my first finish of 2010!

Thank you all for stopping by.


  1. Raven, what a terrible experience you had with Michael's. Have you considered doing the framing yourself ??? I buy the frame, mats and mounting board that I want and put everyhting together myself at home. It is not hard and saves a lot of money and aggravation. You can either use lacinng or acid free tape to mount it onto the mounting board. Foam core Mounting board can be purchased by the sheet at Michaels or Joannes or AC Moore's and is not that expensive. I keep a sheet of it around and use it for ornies or framed pieces or what ever I need. The pieces come in larger sizes. As far as your refund, I would call the store during the day and speak to a manager and tell him of your experience with that obnoxious man and the refusal to refund your money because it is evenings. that is non-sense, I returned things and received as much as $75.00 in the evening. They are just jerking your chain. Don't let them get away with it. Can you tell I am upset for you. Good luck !!! LOL HTH

  2. I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better and back in the "swing" of stitching! I'm sorry to hear of your experience with Michael's. I work in a frame shop myself, and we would never treat a customer in such a fashion. I hope you find a good framer you can trust! *hugs*

  3. Good grief - what a twit! I hope many other people stand up to him as you did. I used one of them, proabably Joann's many years ago and was very pleased but will be on my guard now! So glad to see you posting even though it's a bit of a rant, lol!

  4. Dusty: Yes I have considered framing myself but until recently I had not learned how to settle the difference between the stitched piece, the size of the frame, and the mat openings. Now I know how :) I will be trying to frame my own from now on. Thank you for the commment.

    Thanks DJ and Gillie!

  5. Yikes! I've never used a professional framer. I frame my own small pieces plus I've had a wood-worker create specialty framing for me - per my own design. He passed away a few year ago and I'm not sure what I will do. Apparently I won't be trying Michaels! Thanks for the info...
    An encyclopedia of needlepoint stitches…


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If you have any questions (looking for designer information of a piece I'm stitching, how to do cross stitch etc. ) please feel free to contact me. You will find my email address in my profile and I will do my best to either answer your question, or find information that can help you get your answer.

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Missy (aka Raven)