Is washing cross stitch projects when finished essential?
No. However, did you do any of the following?...
If you answered yes to any of the above then its likely that your work would benefit from being washed, before you frame it.
However, it is not difficult to do. Let me guide you.
It is best not to wash a piece of work if....
Another thing to keep in mind is that the dye used to produce colored threads may not always be colorfast.
Some of the chemicals that were previously used to "set" colors are now prohibited due to environmental issues, and it is possible that the colors could now run. This is mostly a problem with red threads.
However, I have to say that personally I have never experienced a problem with dyes running in my own work. If you use quality threads and fabric the change of such an accident occurring is reduced.
I lay the rolled up towel on the floor, take off my shoes and socks and tread on it. Just walk up and down the length of the towel a few times to press the water into the towel. I call this my happy dance.
Place a clean, dry towel onto your ironing board.
Unwrap the stitched piece and lay it, face down, onto the dry towel and gently ease into shape.
Taking a warm iron, press the work from the back, to help it to dry. Do not use steam and make sure to keep the iron moving at all times. You don't want to scorch it!
When the piece is ironed smooth leave it laying flat to air dry thoroughly.
Hopefully this article has taken the worry out of washing cross stitch, hardanger and blackwork pieces for you.
If you are going to frame your work, then you may find my page on stretching the fabric before framing helpful.