There was really no reason not to finish the little tambour embroidery project I started night before last.
All told, there are only a few hours of stitching in the piece. I’m still on the learning curve, but even then, chain stitch can be accomplished much faster with a tambour needle, compared to a regular needle. Certainly, a skilled tambour embroiderer could finish this project in at least half the time – probably a lot less!
Yesterday, I showed you my temporary and rather cramped tambour set-up, where I was using a small 4″ hoop clamped awkwardly into the frame clamp on a different stand.
I dug through a bunch of hoops yesterday, until I found one of the 10″ hoops that fits the Lacis table-top tambour stand.
Using the larger hoop on the tambour stand accomplished two things:
1. I could work a little faster – I didn’t have to move the 4″ hoop around anymore, and the frame clamp was no longer in the way.
2. I was able to take pictures of this apparatus, to show you what it’s like, in case you’re looking for something similar.
This is the table top tambour stand and hoop sold at Lacis. This particular hoop was not the original that came with the stand – it was a replacement, after the hardware on the original hoop broke.
The hoop that comes with this particular stand is not the best in the world – the hardware is pretty flimsy and the wood is not very hard – but the stand is pretty handy for a couple reasons.
First of all, it holds just the edge of the 10″ hoop. It doesn’t clamp on the fabric. You can hoop up large pieces and still clamp them into the frame, so that you can work with both hands free.
Whether you’re doing tambour work or just regular surface embroidery, having both hands free increases the speed and comfort of embroidering.
Secondly, the side clamps rotate around, so that you can turn your work and access the back relatively easily, without taking the hoop out of the clamps.
Pros of the Tambour Stand
The pros of the table top tambour frame from Lacis are:
1. It’s relatively affordable, at about $31, which includes the hoop.
2. If you use a large hoop (10″) often, you can hoop up all kinds of larger projects to enjoy having both hands free while stitching.
3. The construction of the stand itself is fairly sturdy.
4. You can rotate the hoop to get to the back of the work.
Cons of the Tambour Stand
1. It is restricted to a thin 10″ hoop – the hoop cannot be smaller or larger than 10″ round, and it assumes the use of a hoop that is 7/16″ thick.
2. The hoop that comes with the stand is rather flimsy. The hardware bends, when tightening with a screw driver. That said, it is not as flimsy as the $1 craft hoops sold in most craft stores. And you can always bind the hoop to provide better tension on your fabric.
If you’re looking for a table top stand similar to this, search “tambour frame” in the Lacis online catalog, and it should come up.
Beware the Floor Stand
Incidentally, they also sell a “sit or stand” floor stand onto which you can attach the holding clamps of the table stand, and use the floor stand with the same hoop. I bought that floor stand about seven or eight years ago when looking for an “affordable” floor stand that would hold hoops, but it wasn’t long before I felt my money had been wasted. I thought it awkward to use, and eventually, the joints began to wear, so that it didn’t tighten up as it should – it got wobbly. I’d say be wary of the floor stand, but, with the exception of the quality of the hoop, the table stand works well for the price.
So, back to the leaves!
Another wonderful aspect of tambour embroidery, especially if you’re working on household linens where the back is exposed to view, is that the back is exceptionally neat.
The chain stitch on the front results in a backstitch on the back. If you’re using spooled thread, and stitching a more or less continuous line, there are not many starts and stops.
This is where I began the stitching, one one side of the corner of the leaf design, and….
…this is where I ended the stitching, at the end of the design around the corner. I never cut the thread once, between these two points.
The loose ends will be run under the threads there, and clipped close, so that they are barely visible.
So that was my quicko tambour project. I’ll see about getting some tutorials and resources together for you soon! In the meantime, I have a couple other projects calling me.
Ahhhh… the Sirens of Embroidery. They’re forever beckoning.