If you're a cross stitch hobbyist, you probably have several unfinished projects in the works and one or more pieces that are just about completed. A couple of more hours of stitching and one of them is bound to be completed, which means it's time to start thinking about how you're going to display your masterpiece.

If you're like most, you want to show off your finished pieces and preserve them to the best of your ability. Many times this means hiring a professional framer to do the job for you. If you decide to have your project framed, following are a few things you should do to your piece before you take it to the framers. 

Launder It

It can take months - sometimes years - to finish an in-depth piece. During this time, you constantly handle the piece, transferring dirt and oil from your fingertips to the fabric and floss. Before you take it to the framers, you have to clean it to ensure that your colors are as vibrant as they should be. Hand wash the piece with a drop of mild detergent in lukewarm water. Place the piece on a clean towel and let it air dry. 

Iron and Spray It

After it's completely dry, sandwich the piece between two towels with the front of the piece facing down. Iron the piece by applying an iron set on medium heat to the top towel. It should only take a few passes to iron out all the kinks. Since most cross stitch pieces are framed without glass, it's also a good idea to spray the front of your project lightly with some sort of fabric protector, which will repel dust and dirt. Again, let the piece dry thoroughly before taking it to the framer. 

Print A Card

If you want to be able to easily identify the piece, print a card with your name, the name of the piece, the date of completion, and anything else you would like to include. Take the card with you to the framer so they can affix the card to the back of the frame or on the front of the piece, whichever you prefer. 

While you may be able to frame small projects yourself, it's always a good idea to leave the larger projects to the professionals. After all, you've spent countless dollars and hours to finish the piece, why wouldn't you want to preserve and protect it for as long as possible? (For more information, contact The Picture Frame Factory)