Now that you have spent many hours completing your cross stitch project, it's time to put those finishing touches on it. Go back over your piece and make sure you didn't miss any stitches or make any obvious mistakes. If your are keeping your piece or giving it to a friend or relative as a gift, you may want to stitch your signature or initials on the front of the piece. Make sure it's tastefully small.
Washing your cross stitch:
Some people chose to hand wash their cross stitch when they are finished in cool tap water or distilled water using a mild liquid detergent. I am not comfortable with this process, so proceed at your own risk. Rinse the soap out with cool water and lay a white towel on your cross stitch and roll it up to dry. Do not wring out your cross stitch. Do not dry clean. I generally just check my cross stitch for any marks and spot clean if necessary with a clean, white, wet cloth. If your are careful with your project while you are stitching and store it appropriately when you are not working on it, there should be little or no spots to deal with. To store it appropriately take it out of the hoop or Q-snap when you are not working on it and roll the fabric and store it in a plastic bag to avoid stains from accidents or dust. You can also purchase a beautiful fabric roll to keep your projects in when you are not working on them called a Needlework Project Keeper. Keep in a sewing basket or tote where you keep the rest of your stitching supplies.
Watch for Color bleeding when washing your design.
Color 'bleeding' or 'running' is when the dye from floss comes off of where it should be, and attaches itself to another part of the cross stitch. It is generally red dye bleeding onto light colored fabric. Fortunately, it does not happen often, but you have to watch for it. This is why I am not comfortable with washing a cross stitch after you have spent hours and hours stitching it. The cause is usually excess dye that was not completely washed out of the threads in the dying process. This is why it is recommended that you prewash red threads before you stitch, but in reality, very few people do this. What you do want to do is watch carefully for any signs of bleeding when you are hand washing. If you see any signs of bleeding, stop washing, and start rinsing under cold running water right away. Rinse for several minutes until the water runs clear.
You will want to gently iron your piece on a medium setting to remove any creases or wrinkles. Make sure your iron is clean of starch or water residue before using it. Be careful not to "burn" your piece. Do not use steam. It may be helpful to us a pressing clothto iron your piece. Follow the instructions given on the pressing cloth. Any wrinkles not removed in this process will likely disappear when stretching your cross stitch on a frame when mounting.
To frame or not to frame:
There are many ways to display your cross stitch after you have completed it. You can sew it onto a pillow, put it in a decorative embroidery hoop, hang it with bell pulls, frame it, sew it into a table cloth, or quilt, etc.
I prefer to frame my pieces and display them all over the house. I suggest you have your piece professionally framed with acid free products to avoid yellowing of your fabric. Choose a border that compliments your design. There is glare free glass available that works nicely. Just consult your local framing shop. Framing can be very expensive, so if you have a family member or friend that is good with woodwork, you may want to ask them if they can frame your picture for you if you pay for the supplies.
Storing your piece:
If you prefer to store you piece until you decide what you want to do with it, lay it flat on a soft cloth, roll it, put it in a plastic or cloth bag and keep it in a moisture free place in your house.