Most of our embroidery projects incorporate some sort of backing or stabilizer. This is usually placed behind the fabric (or paper, or plastic!) that the project is meant to be sewn onto. Water soluble stabilizer allows you to sew without a substrate, (ie cloth, paper, etc) and instead create an object that exists on its own in space. It occupies a strange place between sculpture and drawing.
First: a cross stitch pattern provides stability, weaving a new piece of "cloth," providing structure for the image.
Here is the final product, before I dissolve the stabilizer:
And after a dunk in the sink. Dark because it's still wet.