My trusty needlepoint floor frame, and the saga of the chartholder

I have had my needlepoint floor frame for about ten years now, I think. I used to stitch by just rolling the fabric up in my left hand, and stitching with my right, without using a frame at all. But my chiropractor warned me that if I kept on like that, with the amount of stitching that I do, I wouldn’t be able to stitch at all in a few years, as my left shoulder would seize up completely. I was already getting back pain and headaches  :0(

My tapestry frame. The rust-coloured bag holds the flex for the lamp when I’m not using it, and the green bag hanging on the left of the frame is to cover the magnifying lens when I’m not using it, so that I don’t set the house on fire!

So, I invested in this StitchMaster wooden floor frame – this is it, proudly standing in my conservatory. It cost about £35 at the time. I found it useful from the start. For one thing, I could stitch quicker, as I could use both hands at once!

I bought the Daylight bulb attachment with removable 2.25 magnifying lens almost immediately, as I love to do miniature needlepoint. That’s what I sell in my doll’s house embroidery kit business, so I do a lot of stitching on 32 and 40 count silk gauze fabric, and it’s a lot more comfortable to do with a suitable magnifier. The one for this frame is good, as it is right there attached to the lamp, so I always have good light and magnification at the same time. The lens is rimless, which is more restful on the eyes.

A rectangular frame sits on the lugs of the arms

By moving the arms closer together, a hoop can be supported in the same way

The frame can take hoops, rotating frames (both of which just rest on the dowels at the end of the ‘arms’), and, with the help of my husband and his woodworking shed, my stand has a special attachment that slots over the dowels so that I can clip my silk gauze in its card mount onto the frame, too.

This custom-made wooden bar has holes at each end so that it sits on the dowels, and a notch in the centre so that a card mount for silk gauze can be held securely

Recently, I decided to get the other attachment that goes with this model – the chartholder clamp.  Before that, I’d used a bulldog clip to attach my charts to the arms of the floor frame, but I decided I’d like the ‘proper job’. However, once I started searching online, I realised that almost all websites were mysteriously ‘out of stock’ of the attachment. I found a couple of sites that said they had them – until I tried to order from them, and then I was told that, actually, they didn’t have them in stock at all. So, I looked on the manufacturer’s website, and, sure enough, the chartholder and lamp attachment had both been discontinued – because the frame seems to be on its way out, too.

What a shame! It’s a wonderful product, and does just what you need it to. The floor frame itself is very adjustable for all kinds of needlework frames, as they just rest on the ‘arms’. It doesn’t slowly collapse, like several other makes of floor frame tend to, as it has a nifty ‘wedge’ that supports the main upright piece. The wingnuts stay tight – there’s even a wooden block that comes with it, to help you tighten the wingnuts without hurting your hand.

So, why should it be on its way out? Well, because there’s a shiny new METAL floor frame that’s been introduced to replace it. It’s called the new StitchSmart metal stand – the blurb about it on the website starts with the words ‘Wooden stands are over’. Oh dear, I do hope not. Apart from anything else, this shiny new metal one costs £80, with the chartholder and lamp/magnifier accessory pack (only available as a set, now) costing an additional £90. It all seems to be getting a bit expensive, and ‘modern’ for the sake of it …..

Anyway, back to my search for the chartholder attachment for my nasty, old-fashioned, wooden StitchMaster frame –

I looked on Ebay (always a good place to look for discontinued things), and found someone selling one for £4.99. So I bought it, got it within 3 days, and have been using it ever since. Lovely.

My frame with all its attachments in place, ready for a nice long session of stitching!

So, if you fancy getting a very good floor frame to help with your stitching, I wouldn’t leave it too long, as even needlework accessories seem to be getting a bit trendy!

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10 thoughts on “My trusty needlepoint floor frame, and the saga of the chartholder

  1. inlovewiththreads

    I’m not sure that trendy is the right word. I find it odd that they suggested that the wood frame wasn’t ‘in’ anymore and don’t understand why they wouldn’t carry both. A metal frame certainly wouldn’t work in my house. Or my daughter’s (in case anyone thinks that I’m oldfashioned.) The company is losing a chance to serve more than one type of customer.

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Yes, a metal frame would look dreadful in my house too – I loathe the ‘contemporary, metal look’. At the moment they carry both, but for a few months they were only pushing the metal one. I wonder if they brought back the wooden one due to complaints? I also think that people aren’t made of money, especially at the moment, and to expect people to fall for the idea that ‘this is new, and it just happens to be double the price of the previous version’ is naive in the current economic climate. Apart from the look of the metal frame, the wooden one *worked*, which is the main thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

      Reply
  2. Elmsley Rose

    Metal stands? Noooooo!
    Thankyou for showing the setup of the extra attachments from the front – it may seem like a small thing, but I’ve never seen a view from the embroiderer’s perspective, only side and “back” shots on the Net.

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      I really think the people who decided that a ‘contemporary’ style of needlework stand would sell well have got their heads on back to front! Metal just isn’t what you want when you’re embroidering, is it?! I think they imagine people wanting to just put the frame in the corner of their modern living rooms and look at the thing, rather than use it to hold their embroidery!
      The way the attachments fit so well onto this frame was what drew me to it in the first place – it’s just so well designed, and very comfortable to use.

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Dreaming In Stitches

  4. lesley

    Hi Janet,

    I am agonising over a floor stand, when I came across your post 🙂

    Currently, I stitch using a wooden hoop, holding it about 10 inch from my face due to my poor eyesight. As the projects get bigger (27 in to 30 in across in width), I feel that I should use a scroll frame, supported on a floor stand. The wooden Stitchmaster looks like a good idea as I like to flip the roller frame over to start and end.

    Would you be able to let me know :
    1) what is the full height extension of this wooden Stitchmaster ?
    2) I intend to prop a 30in (maybe 10 – 12 in in height) Millenium frame on it, would it fit the Stitchmaster arms ?
    3) can the length of the arms be adjusted by moving the screws ?
    4) is this wooden Stitchmaster stable ? It looks fragile from pictures in Sewandso site.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Thanks,
    les

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Hi, I think the Stitchmaster is great, and I stitch everything using it – from tiny silk gauze pieces to huge ‘Heaven and Earth designs’ pieces. To answer your questions: (1) If you extend each piece of the frame as far as it will go, the main back support is 38 inches off the floor up to the rectangular block piece that the lamp attaches on to – you can then angle the arms that you place your frame on horizontally from there, so effectively you can be stitching 38 inches off the floor.(2) Yes – I am using a 30 inch by 12 inch frame on it at the moment. You just push the two arms out from you, to make as wide a ‘V’ as possible, to support the roller frame on them. It’s a bit fiddly to stitch right at the very edges of your frame with a long frame, but you can always push your frame along a bit to reach to the edges. (3) Yes, you can loosen the wingnuts to re-position the arms either to be short or long, depending on the width of the roller frame, and how horizontal you want the arms to be. (4) Yes, it is stable. I push the legs under the chair I sit on to stitch, but that’s only because I like to stitch up close. With frames 30 inches long it will wobble a bit, but not enough to fall over. With shorter frames, it’s perfectly stable. I can’t compare it with other frames, though, but I love my one 🙂 You may like to consider asking your optician for glasses that are only used for stitching – I have a pair now which focus at only 12 inches from my face, which I don’t use for anything other than stitching on 40 count silk gauze! My optician thought I was a bit crazy to ask for a special pair of glasses like that, but they’ll do it if you ask.

      Reply

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