Updated February 13, 2020.
Leigh Shafer was a talented finisher based in Arizona, who finished many lovely projects for me, including the mini-sock shown above. In Jane Zimmerman‘s most recent email newsletter she shared the most wonderful tips about what we as stitchers need to know in order to get the best results from the finishing.
Leigh was gracious enough to give me permission to post it here for you.
Once you have finished stitching your project, you need to consider how you want it finished. Will it be a pillow? A standing figure? Do you want ornaments that you can hang on your Christmas tree? Do you have favorite colors, or do you have one color that you absolutely hate? How will the finished piece be used or displayed?
All of these thoughts must be conveyed to your finisher so that you and she can be in agreement on the finished product.
Do you want a pillow? Ok – what kind? Knife edge with cording, ruffle,
lace, a fabric border framing your stitching? Perhaps you like the look of a more formal boxed pillow with just self cording. Will the pillow get a lot of wear? Will you want to take out the pillow form and dry clean the work occasionally? A zipper closing will make this much easier to do. Let your finisher know. Most finishers I know prefer to do pillows with zipper closings – it gives a neater, more finished look to the piece.
Have you stitched an additional two or three threads outside the design area so that no bare canvas will show when all the finish work is done? This is not an absolute rule, but it is a good idea.[Some finishers preffer not to have this, ask if you are not sure. – ed.] Have you selected fabric and trims or will you let your finisher pick for you? Here is where your finisher needs to know what you like. Please be as specific as possible as to colors and styles. If you have a contemporary or formal home, you don’t want a pillow with a lot of cutesy “stuff”. If you have children and/or pets, a delicate fabric won’t survive the normal wear and tear if the pillow is to be in a family room. If a certain color, even in a small accent capacity, really grates on your senses, let your finisher know.
Remember, a finisher is not a mind reader. You may have spent several months or even years stitching your masterpiece. You’ve spent a considerable amount of money on the canvas, the charts, the threads – you want it to be finished to show off your work to the best advantage. The more information you can give this person to whom you are entrusting your work, the better the job she will do for you, and the happier you will be with the final result.
Here’s a little bit about Leigh’s background, she wrote, “I was a store owner in So Calif in the 80’s, I’ve been a member of EGA and ANG since the early 90’s, have stitched all my life, and taught for the past 30 years. I started finishing my own pieces for my store, customers saw my work and wanted me to do their finishing. So, I’ve been finishing for over 20 years. For the last four years, I have done some of the finishing for the ANG auctions at seminar.”
Leigh passed away a few years ago. I think of her every time i look over to mty couch & see the lovely pillows she finished..