Thursday 19 June 2014

The Tools of the Trade

As with any hobby there are some things that you just must have. Cross stitch is no different.

Some people prefer to stitch free-hand. Personally I find it results in untidy stitches and very dirty fabric (no matter how many times you wash your hands).

Others prefer to use an embroidery hoop:

These are great as a starter and, even when you become more adept at cross stitch, it's always good to have a hoop in your stitching stash.
I only ever use them for small designs. They do tend to badly crease the fabric and, once again, means a lot of contact with your hands; so they get dirty.

Then we have the frame. These come in many guises so I'll only mention my preferences.

Firstly we have the Symphony No-Sew frame.

These can be bought here: Willow Fabrics - Symphony frame

The Symphony frame has a hollow cross bar which the fabric is pushed into. It is then held in place by a long dowel. Like this:
They have excellent tension, but do suffer from the fact that, over time, the thread on the tightening nuts does degrade.

Finally, and relatively new to me, is the Able Stretcher frame from Viking Loom
There are various sizes and, this is what they look like:

The Able Stretcher is adjustable and the tension on it is amazing. The only downside is that when it's set smaller than it's actual size (see first photo) the arms extend beyond the design area; which means it could get in the way. But, if you're using it at the full size this is not an issue.
It's made of very hard plastic. It's heavier than a hoop but about the same as a frame and can be used with any floor stand.

Talking of floor stands...once again there are many on the market. My personal preference - and one I had to save my pennies for - is made by Lowery.

You can buy here: Sew and Sew - Lowery Workstand
Here's mine:
 The Lowery stand is metal and very sturdy and heavy. It's not cheap; but you get excellent quality. Accessories are extra. Personally, I couldn't live without it when stitching.

Then we have a brilliant accessory. Maybe not an essential; but, once again, I personally wouldn't be without it.
This is the Tanto Thread Organiser. Which can be bought here: Tanto Thread Organiser
One of the excellent things about this is that you can buy extra thread wheels separately; so you can have more than one project on the go and just swap them over as needed.

Finally, an absolutely must in my opinion....somewhere comfortable to sit:

I hope you enjoyed my essentials list.


  1. I have a Lowery as well, absolutely love it for my HAED designs. Most other projects I stitch in hand or with a hoop depending what it is.

  2. That Lowery appears to be AMAZING. Thank you for sharing the link to where to purchase :D

  3. You're welcome Carla. If you get a Lowery, you won't be disappointed!

  4. I have a Lowery, use Able frames and keep the back of my work as tidy as possible! So glad to hear that other,people have the same views!