Cross Stitch; Frame, Stand or Hoop?

When doing cross stitch there are a few different ways to hold the material. This post discusses the different aspects of each.

Cross Stitch Stands

cross stitch standPlease excuse me while I ponder all of the possibilities and functions of some of the more complicated cross stitch stands (like the one pictured.) Cross stitch stands are versatile yet cumbersome things. If like me, you like having access to both the back of the cross stitch as well as the front then look no further. Cross stitch stands are also amazing for those larger pieces as you can simply roll the knobs at either end to make the fabric taut and readjust the patterns position.

I have not had any issues with staining when it comes to using stands. However they are quite immobile. In that, you can’t exactly hop on a train with it.  They can get pricey as well, if you are buying one that is already assembled. They are quite an investment – anywhere from $25.00 AUD to $150.00 AUD. So be sure to research or view the stands before you decide to purchase one. Though to be honest they are quite simple to assemble yourself. Though I have yet to construct one from raw materials, with the right tools and a pattern/plan anything is possible!

Lap Frames

cross stitch lap frameLap frames come in many versatile shapes and sizes with varying functions. They can act as mini embroidery stands, which as the name suggests – rest on your lap. Or they can just be a simple frame that holds your piece while you work on it. Like the cross stitch stand they are able to work on larger patterns than the embroidery hoop. Rarely do they mark the fabric. The most basic frames will hold the entire pattern, meaning that if you play it right you can get away with not ironing your finished cross stitch.

Like the stands the price of frames varies in price according the the complexity of the piece. However they are extremely simple to put together yourself from whatever you have on hand. They can be made from plastics, woods, though preferably not metals. The biggest downside in my opinion with the more simplistic lap frames, is that you do not have easy access to the back of the fabric. Meaning that if you are doing a 1×1 half stitch and have eyes that are as bad as mine then you have to turn the whole ruddy thing around. Which can be a tiresome bother if you are doing it often.

Embroidery Hoops

embroidery hoopThe most traditional (and my preferred) means of holding a cross stitch. An simple embroidery hoop is both inexpensive and easy to travel with. However it does have it’s drawbacks when working on larger patterns or stiff fabrics. On AIDA cloth for example, the embroidery hoop will crease or even leave markings on the fabric. While you should always iron your completed cross stitch, the stains made by the hoop can be a bit of trouble. This is because I always find washing cross stitches a frightening process. After all, who wants their completed cross stitch to unravel? No one. Especially not when you have just completed it. As such I would suggest the hoop for small designs or designs that you wish to have framed by the hoop itself. For larger designs, stick to stands or frames.

Final Thoughts

Paraphernalia ProsCons
Cross Stitch Stand- Versatile designs
- Easy access to back of fabric
- Good for large patterns
- Bulky
- Can be expensive
Lap Frame- Easy to build
- Relatively cheap to buy
- Good for mid size patterns
- Only some designs offer the user easy access to the back of the fabric
- Too large to transport
Embroidery Hoop- Convenient carry size
- Cheapest option
- Good for small patterns
- Stains and Creases Fabric often
- Doesn't work well with AIDA cloth