On one side of the coin, you can call it serendipitous. On the other side of the coin, you can call it unfortunate.
You see, I have a new needlework stand – a Needlework System 4 table / lap stand.
(Update: Please note, this is the older version of the stand. The newer version, with the solid base, is far superior!)
I’ve always wanted one, but I could not justify buying one. I’m not short of stands.
But, due to the sad circumstances of needlework shop in Kansas City closing down and the subsequent Kansas Department of Revenue auction of all the goods therein, and thanks to a pal who bid on this and another stand that were “lotted” together, I now have a a Needlework System 4 Table / Lap Stand.
As it only cost me $40 including the clamp (that’s the serendipitous part – normally, the two together are around $225), you can understand why I didn’t pass it up.
Though I’ve reviewed the Needlework System 4 floor stand (5 years ago), I’ve never been able to give an informed opinion on the table stand, having never tried it. So, besides having a really good tabletop stand (perfect, especially, for travel), I can now review the thing for you! So we all win!
Well, all of us, except the shop. I’m always sad when a needlework shop closes.
The table stand with the frame clamp works much like the floor stand, except that the stand rests on the table. It can also sit on your lap, if you like to sit in a comfy chair or sofa and work with both hands free.
I use the frame clamp on mine, but there are other options for the Needlework System 4 stands – they have a Q-Snap option, for example, as well as a scroll frame option. I’m a stretcher bar / slate frame / hoop person myself, so the clamp works best for me.
You can read my previous review on the Needlework System 4 floor stand and frame clamp, if you’d like more detail on how the frame clamp works. I even have an old video on there, to show you how the whole head turns so that you can easily access the back of your work.
At first glance, you might think that the frame clamp on that forward-bending neck might throw the table stand off balance, that it would tip forward all the time. But indeed, no! It is weighted just right. I can bring the neck all the way forward so that the clamp hangs low off the edge of the table, and the frame still doesn’t tip.
I haven’t tried the contraption as a lap stand for an extended period of time – just a brief test to see that, yes, it does work as a lap stand.
Interestingly, the neck of the stand is the same piece that’s used as the “extension bar” that’s sold separately for the floor stand. It comes with the lap stand (it’s part of it), but you can remove it and use it as an extension bar on the Needlework System 4 floor stand if you happen to have one.
Needlework System 4 Table Stand Pros & Cons
1. Very sturdy, very well made.
2. Completely adjustable. You can set it at whatever angle is most comfortable for you, and it works great. Want it up high next to your face? No problem! Want it low so that your work hangs over the edge of the table? Equally no problem! Anywhere in between works great, too.
3. Light and portable – great for travel, classes, events, seminars, and so forth.
4. Takes up very little room and folds down easily.
1. Well, if you want good equipment, the fact is, good equipment costs money. And this is no exception. It is pricey. The stand itself (sans frame clamp, Q-Snap attachment, or scroll bars) runs about $100. But it is useless without the “head” (choices previously mentioned), and they run anywhere from $114-$150. The frame clamp runs around $120-$125 depending on where you buy it.
2. The manufacturer’s customer service is not so good. In one instance, I had an issue with the rotation mechanism on the frame clamp after a few years of use. I knew it was just a matter of changing a washer (one of them split, but I wasn’t sure of the size, because I had lost it). The manufacturer was not helpful with a response and wanted me to ship the whole clamp to them. Since I didn’t want to be without the clamp at the time, I trouble-shot the problem on my own until I found the right 12-cent washer from the local hardware store. I expected a little more help from the company when I corresponded with them, so this was a little disappointing.
3. The company used to boast that the stand was guaranteed for life, from what I understood when I purchased my first Needlework System 4 stand. I’ve scoured their website, though, and can no longer find any mention of a lifetime guarantee. However, on the Stitcher’s Paradise website, they have a brochure for the stands, and on this page, is states states that there is a lifetime warranty “against defects in materials and workmanship.” On this page, it states the stand is guaranteed for life. If a lifetime guarantee is important to you, I’d suggest contacting the company to verify before purchasing.
If you’re looking for your own Needlework System 4 stand, you can find them through your local needlework shop (if you’re fortunate enough to have one), or online, they’re available through Needle in a Haystack in Alameda, CA; through Threadneedle Street in Issaquah, WA; and through other similar online shops that carry floor stands.
Questions, comments, suggestions? I’m all ears – leave a comment below!