Floor frame to the rescue

This post is by way of a ‘thank-you’ to several people and companies who’ve helped me out over the last few weeks.

If you’ve been following my stitchy ramblings, you’ll know that I’ve recently started needlepointing on a piece of linen scrim (scrim supplied by MacCulloch & Wallis – thank you).

¬†It was a bit of a shock to the system after all the hessian I’ve used over the early part of this year, but with a lovely texture that quickly had me hooked.

But… those tiny holes…

It’s not the number of them that’s the issue, it’s seeing them – they are sooooo small! In anything less than brilliant daylight, I’ve been struggling to stick the needle anywhere near its proper destination.

The problem is so much more difficult in the outer corners of the design, where not only am I trying to find the holes, but it’s impossible to keep the frame steady without growing an additional arm or two.


Then came the lovely Janet Granger to the rescue. You know how sometimes in Webland, there’s a sort of synchronicity – well, just as I was struggling in the dratted corner, I read this post from Janet ‘My trusty needlepoint floor stand...’

I’m not a natural with frames, but the last 12 months or so has seen me experimenting with a variety of different ones, but the idea of having a floor stand – well, that was revolutionary. It also brought on a touch of image consciousness. Am I the only needlepointaholic who has to deflect jokes about it being something medieval ladies did in the solar… a floor stand would surely do nothing to bring needlepoint into the 21st century.

But faced with the alternative of a twisted shoulder and impending¬†blindness, what was I to do? I took Janet’s advice and bought a floor stand.

IT’S BRILLIANT! (thank-you Janet, – and a huge thank-you to Theresa at Stitchaholicswho somehow contrived to have the frame with me less than 24 hours after I ordered it – wow.)

Stitchmaster wooden floor stand – oh joy!

I didn’t order the light or magnifier – I thought I’d try the frame out for a few days first, to see if we’d be friends.

Having both hands free is liberating – who cares if I look as if I should wear a wimple.

But I still needed to shine light into those dark corners.

We had an old clip on lamp from IKEA that I thought would do the trick and it probably would have, if we hadn’t managed somewhere along the way, to lose the transformer it plugs into. The husband thought it would be quicker and cheaper to go and buy a new lamp, so off I went to IKEA…(I don’t normally need asking twice if there’s the prospect of a trip to IKEA)

And so, here it is Рa little JANSJO lamp (thank-you IKEA Р£10) Рjust the job. Bright, flexible and lightweight. They come in some fabulous colours, but I played safe with white. Beats candles I suppose.

Have you ever visited ruined castles or very old manor houses, with window seats set into the walls? Well, I know exactly who sat in them and what they were doing.

So far, I don’t think I need the magnifier – the light is good enough, but we’ll see.

And finally, this is what the scrim piece looks like at the beginning of this week. Happy stitching.

Linen Scrim Diversion…


Just when I thought I’d sorted out what I’d be doing for the next few weeks, along comes the delivery of linen scrim, and within no time at all, I’m diverted off on to another track.

I wanted to try the scrim, because although I adore the variable, loose weave of the hessian that I’ve been using, it is hairy and I think gives me a few issues with sneezing and sore hands.

Linen scrim seemed to be a useful alternative.

I quickly set up a piece on the 17″ frame – it felt as if it needed a frame – and put needle to the canvas.

getting started with the new linen scrim

The first thing that struck me, was that this scrim is going to take a lot of stitching – sooooo many stitches! (I estimate about 20 stitches per linear inch – 400 per square inch). I’m not afraid of working large or slow pieces, but this felt a touch daunting.

I estimate it’s taking about 400 tiny tent stitches per sq.inch

But once I’d experimented with different strands of wool/silk/cotton, I found I’d somehow become attached to it. I had originally thought I’d just do a few square inches to see how it worked, but now I’m sure I’ll carry on with it.

As with the hessian, I find that the softer canvas feels attractive to work on.

On the plus side of using the tiny gauge, I now have a good excuse to use some of the yarns I’ve been keeping from Stef Francis and Oliver Twists – yarns that would have been lost on a bigger gauge piece. I’ve also tried out some Anchor Perle cotton. It fascinates me how each different type of thread lies down in the canvas with its particular character.

So, a delay on progressing the stonework idea – but a bit of an education going on instead.

Happy stitching.