Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Stands – Videos & Reviews


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Lately, Ye Olde Inbox has been jammed full with questions about embroidery frames, stands, hoops, and the like.

When questions start arriving in bulk (a good sign that somewhere, there’s a spurt of growth going on in the embroidery world!), I try to address the topic here on the website for a couple reasons:

1. It makes it easier to refer folks to one article; and
2. If 20 people are asking, there’s a good chance that many more are wondering, but not asking.

Needlework System 4 Stand

So let’s chat a bit about embroidery stands today. While we work through some considerations, I’ll link up to some older articles on the subject, and I’ll provide you with some information and resources.

Input here would be great – the more information and opinions that we can gather can help other stitchers make informed decisions about their purchases. So do feel free to leave input in the comments section below!

Investing in the Right Stand for You

Ultimately, if you’re considering purchasing a floor stand or lap stand, it boils down to is this: You’re making an investment – and I use the term investment on purpose: these tools cost a lot of money (floor stands usually being more expensive than lap or table top stands), but they pay dividends by making your stitching life more pleasant and more efficient, and hopefully, by lasting a long time.

Just like any major investment you would make, do research and get opinions, and, if you can, try the tools yourself before purchasing.

Even if you have to drive two or three hours to a shop to try a stand you’re interested in, do it if you can! Better to lose a whole Saturday and a tank of gas, then to invest a good chunk of change into an embroidery stand that you don’t like. Trust me on this. I’ve made the mistake for you!

Embroidery Stands I’ve Owned & Used

To put things in perspective so that you know that I have tried other stands besides the three stands covered in detail below, I’ll admit with embarrassment that I’ve been somewhat stand-crazy over the years.

Always being on the lookout for the perfect piece of equipment, I’ve bought several embroidery stands myself that turned out to be less than I had hoped for. I’ve also been fortunate to be on the receiving end of people getting rid of embroidery equipment (“It was my mom’s, I don’t know what to do with it”), leftovers from shops, my friends coming across good buys at garage sales or thrift shops, and so forth. So many stands have come my way, one way or another.

Among the stands I own now or have owned in the past are: the Lowery Workstand, K’s Creations stainless steel floor stand (similar to the Lowery), K’s Creations scroll frames, a couple table stands from American Dream Products, Lacis wooden floor stand, Lacis wooden table top tambour stand, and several unidentified stands meant to hold scroll frames or stretcher bars, including z-arm stands and a stand with a wooden clamp on the side arm.

There are, believe it or not, a couple stands that I’m still curious to try, but investing in them would be silly, when I have exactly what I need in the three stands that I use all the time.

Needlework System 4 Stand

The first stand that I use all the time is the Needlework System 4 floor stand with the frame clamp, which I reviewed quite a while ago.

Needlework System 4 Floor Stand

Sorry for the repeat photo! It’s the only photo I have of the whole stand in use…

This stand is streamlined, easy to use, sturdy, and perfect for most of my stitching needs. I use it primarily with stretcher bars (Evertite frames, to be precise), as well as with smaller slate frames.

Needlework System 4 lap / tabletop stand

The second stand that I use all the time is the Needlework System 4 table / lap stand, also with the frame clamp. My version is the older one, with the tube bar as the base. Now it’s made with a tray as the base.

You can find the Needlework System 4 stands on display at many local needlework shops in the US, but they aren’t usually stocked at shops. You can often test them at the shop and then order them from the shop. Online, my favorite source for them is Threadneedle Street in Issaquah, Washington. The proprietress of the shop is super friendly and helpful, and they usually stock the Needlework System 4 components, so orders arrive pretty quickly. They’re also the most competitively priced options online.

You can also find the NWS4 stands through Stitchers’ Paradise in Florida, another shop with good, quick service. Incidentally, they also carry Evertite stretcher bar frames.

Extension Arm for Needlework System 4 Stand

A note: if you stitch in an arm chair or on a sofa and you’re looking at the Needlework System 4 stand, it’s worth getting the extension arm (shown above).

The Necessaire from Needle Needs in the UK

A few years ago, I reviewed the Millenium Frame – an embroidery (or needlepoint, cross stitch, and so forth) frame produced by Needle Needs in the UK.

It’s a terrific frame – I find it works great for tensioning up fabric for embroidery projects. It’s easy to use and to set up.

Millenium Embroidery Frame

Needle Needs works hard to keep the Millenium frames coming – they’re not always in stock, but if you keep an eye on their website, you can catch them when they have them and place your order. Especially for overseas customers, delivery might take a while.

They’re a purchase you have to plan for well in advance, rather than a quick, last-minute purchase.

Necessaire Floor Stand

Shortly after reviewing the Millenium frame, I reviewed the Necessaire floor stand, too. I’ve found the Necessaire floor stand very useful for all kinds of larger frames especially. I love it! It’s comfortable to use, it’s easy to use, and it’s very well made.

My opinion on both Needle Needs products (the frame and the stand) has not changed over the past few years I’ve been using them. I still recommend them, even though – again – they aren’t “I want it now” items. You must plan in advance if you want either of them, and plan to wait once you order them. Needle Needs is a small family run business, and they do all the manufacturing and distribution themselves.

Of the three stands that I use regularly, the Necessaire is the “youngest” – being only a few years old – but it looks and acts just like it did when I first got it, which is really wonderful for a wooden stand.

Nicola Parkman, who writes a lovely blog devoted primarily to counted work and called Stitching by a Cornish Sea, uses the Needle Needs frame and stand as well. She produced videos answering her readers’ questions about the stand and the frame and made them available via YouTube.

Nicola’s videos are informative, and on top of that, they’re charming! She demonstrates quite clearly how both are set up and used, and they answer many questions for folks who have not seen the Millenium frame or Necessaire stand in action.

So, for your viewing pleasure and your information, here’s Nicola Parkman demonstrating the Necessaire floor stand:

And here she is, demonstrating the Millenium frame:

Email subscribers, visit today’s article on Needle ‘n Thread, if you can’t view the videos. You can also find them on Nicola’s page on YouTube.

What About You?

I use one or the other (and sometimes all three) of these three stands practically every day. They have served me well, and they’ve held up over the years amazingly well.

Compared to the other stands I’ve owned, these are the ones I highly recommend, without reservations.

But keep in mind that personal preference, circumstances of use (stitching space), and intended use definitely come into the picture when choosing stands. If you can, try a stand first, before purchasing.

Now, to turn it over to you! Do you own a floor stand or a table top / lap stand? If so, what kind do you own, and what do you like about it? Does it have any specific flaws? Would you highly recommend it and why? Or are you on the lookout for something better and why?

If you can share information here on Needle ‘n Thread about your floor stand experiences, you’ll help others make good decisions about investing in a floor stand. And good decisions lead to happy stitchers. And happy stitchers make the world a better place. So, leave some feedback, and make the world a better place!

Also, if you have any questions about floor stands, don’t hesitate to ask below!


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(85) Comments

  1. I have a system4. I have had it since it first came out in the 90’s and I love it. Thank you Mary for the tip about the extension piece. I will definitely be ordering one as I stitch in a recliner a lot and had trouble getting my stand close enough.

    1. I ordered my extension from Needlethread on Monday and received it on Wednesday. Fastest service I have ever seen. Works great.

  2. I LOVE my Lowery stand. I work mainly on scroll bars and the side clamp on the Lowery holds scroll bars, stretcher bars and even my slate frame easy and with no complex maneuvering. I have also gotten the extra-long L bar for it and the light clamp. I have an armchair orts bag that a friend made me on the clamp and it works great for having my orts bag there and a needle roll on the top to store spare needles so they are at hand when I want them. I will agree that a GOOD needlework stand is not cheap. Yes, you can get the cheap wooden ones at the craft store that are hard to access the back of your project or don’t hold heavy projects stable.

    The only negative things I can say about the Lowery stand is that it is a bit tricky to find accessory parts if you have the stainless steel version like I do. The gray powder coated version seems to be the most common and the parts are not interchangeable and you need to have something holding down the base. Either under your chair or couch. I ended up making some brick covers and I just have some bricks on the base as my recliner moves and comes off the base when the footrest is up.

    PS I will agree with you about the owner of Threadneedle Street in Issaquah, she is my LNS and I love to go in there to browse. She has so many neat little treasures that are not on her website, it is like walking into Aladdin’s cave with fun treasures nearly floor to ceiling hidden behind the delicate lace curtains that show to the world.

  3. I have had a Lowry stand for many years and find it very efficient for me,
    Except for the fact you need to loosen the screw and turn over to end and
    Begin threads. Space is an issue in my house, so as much as I would
    Like to try other stands, this one would have to wear out first, and I
    Can’t see that happening. Would be nice if there were a library of
    Needlework stands you could check out for a while to see how you like
    Them! Sue in Bermuda.

  4. I too have used many different floor stands over the years, but I found the perfect one (for me) 10 years ago and I’ve never used anything else since. It’s the Mark 2 Floor Stand, and all the accessories, from Hearthside Craftworks, in Canada. http://www.hearthsidecraftworks.com

    I do 99% of my stitching sitting in a swivel rocker, which means that any stands with leg extensions that go along the floor (feet?), don’t fit under it. Also I like to pull the stand close to me so that I can sit back in the chair. The Mark 2 has feet that are wide apart so that the legs are on either side of my chair. If I ever need to use a wheelchair, it’s wide enough to fit over it. The back of the feet have wheels, so that it’s easy to move the stand. Luckily, the Millenium frame just fits in the clamps.

    The Mark 2 is a great floor stand.

    1. Thank you for mentioning the Mark2. I also own it and it’s perfect for me. I often wonder why so many folks don’t choose it! -lol

      It’s nice looking, it’s stable, it accomodates scroll rods and qsnaps from very small to 30″ width. The base is just right for my chair (swivel, like yours), and the little tray and chart reader are within easy reach.

      I’m VERY happy with the purchase and expect to have it for many more years.

      Patricia in California

    2. oh thanks for that Patricia. I love my Qsnaps and don’t want to stop using them (I know a lot of embroiders say you shouldn’t use them but I much prefer them to a hoop or a scroll frame), but it can be hard to find out whether a stand can accommodate them or not!

    3. I own, very proudly, 2 stands, The Original and the Mark !! I love both!! One thing that I most like about then is how functional they are and that rotate 360°, making so easy to work on the back of the fabric and ends threads. I have many, many floor stands, also for table and lap, but nothing compare with the Hearthside Craftworks stands. This is also a family run business and have a fabulous customer service. The best investment I made for my hobby 🙂

  5. Hi Mary,

    When I first decided to try needlepoint about five years ago I researched several wooden table models. I also saw the System 4 models. However I was not sure I would stick with embroidery/needlework and did not want to invest that much money at the time. I ended up buying an oak table model by Elan. I love it. It is strong and is easily broken down for travel. It was perfect for me as a beginner. It is still my only table stand. Over the next few years I was able to see the System 4 table and stand models in use by some of my embroidery friends. I was able to see up close and ask questions about them. I knew one day I would get a floor model. When my husband saw that embroidery/needlework was not going to go away anytime soon he surprised me with a System 4 Floor stand for my birthday! It is wonderful. It also can be broken down easily for travel. It is strong and so easy to turn to see the back of your work. It does not tip over with large projects. I would recommend a System 4 to anyone. So I have two very different types of stands as far as materials go. One oak and one steel. But I love them both and would recommend either one of them.

    Barbara La Belle

  6. I can afford non of these stands at present. Sigh. So I opted for a sit on frame. I have been looking for quite a long time and finally stumbled upon http://www.crewelwork.com. The owner of the shop, Phillipa Turnbull, is a specialist in historic English crewel work. She sells the “Elbessee” seat frame with 3 hoops (6″,8″ and 10″). This same frame sold by The Royal School of Needlework. And that is what decided me…if the Royal School sells it, then it must be a good frame. The frame and an optional wing nut tightener including shipping from the UK cost L55 (or about $75 US). I also had a lovely correspondence with Phillipa where she answered some questions I had before purchasing. You can also get a separate clamp that will hold a slate frame which I am considering purchasing; but that must be purchased from a different company in the UK.

    I am thus far very happy with it. It is a new experience for me – not having to hold the hoop or slate frame in my hand – and I am enjoying embroidering with a hoop for the very first time.

    I am sure that there are others who might find themselves in the same situation and I think considering such a frame as the kind I purchased might be a nice, workable alternative until such time as one could afford the beautiful but expensive (for my purse) frames reviewed by you.

    Finally, Mary Corbett, I would like to say thank you for your lovely site and all the helpful information and wonderful things I have learned from you. Your work is absolutely beautiful and something to aim towards. I look forward to your every post.

    Best regards,

  7. I purchased a NeedleNeeds frame and stand and have found both to be terrific. The frame keeps the material drum-tight and the stand is perfectly balanced. My first attempt with the frame resulted in me tightening it a tad too much which caused the wood to split but a handy blob of wood glue saved the day and I have learnt from my mistake. The only downside with NeedleNeeds is the time it takes to receive your frame/stand once the order has been placed – about 6 weeks in my case – but I guess that is the price you have to pay for such a quality product.

  8. Dear Mary

    I have and I love both the system 4 stand and the Needle Needs Necessaire stand. I like the system 4 stand because it great to stitch with hoops and small enough if you don’t have much space. I like the necessaries stand because again it great if you don’t have much room and it’s great for larger projects. I’m toying with purchasing a table top stand but I will have to save up for that and also because I already own 2 stands I have justify owning a table top stand. Thanks for the review Mary and sharing the videos I’m just about to watch them.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  9. I love my System 4 table/lap frame and think their clamp is the best around. The floor stand for the System 4 simply takes up too much space to work in my stitching area so my floor stand is the Lowry stand. Nearly all of my stitching is done on stretcher bars and both stand work well. I really wish the System 4 would come out with a floor stand base more like the Lowry or K’s metal plate.

  10. This is quite embarassing to admit, but since I couldn’t afford a proper stand, I bought one of those folding table thingies ( like a table-mate) for 13 euro (about 18 dollar), and cut a hole of about 9 by 11 inches in it with a craft knife. My frame or hoop just rests on the table. This is handy, because I like to change the angle at which I work, and the frame or hoop is easily rotated (or turned over).
    The height of the table is adjustable, and you can change the angle of the table relative to the floor (in which case I clamp to frame to the table).
    It is a very cheap and workable solution (although my “stand” has been much nicer since my husband – annoyed by the lack of neatness of my knife-work – replaced the plastic tabletop with a wooden one).

    1. Hi Saskia!

      Crafty! : ) I think Ill try making something similar during summertime and try out the whole stitching without holding the hoop. Im a little scared, shhh, but I do want to work on larger pieces. The idea of not holding a hoop is akin to a childs safety blanket being taken away! Waah. Besides, I love crafting and engineering different things and making a stand gives me an excuse to bug my male friends to let me play with power tools! And if i fail miserably, theyll know what to get me for christmas/birthday ^_^ bwahaha.

  11. For classes, “moonlight stitching”, and travel, I use the Artisan Design Elan stand. Love it. Have to readjust a bit but it folds up flat to travel.
    My all time favorite and the core of my stitching nest is the Stitchmate, made by Roger and Victoria of Cozy Cottage. My stitching is always waiting for me and hinges out of the way without readjusting or moving the base, and I can stitch for hours, flipping over and such, with out moving any screws, knobs, or wheels. It fits recliners and overstuffed chairs beautifully. Sadly, Roger died and the website is gone. I hear rumors that someone may buy the design. He did such a perfect job. The stand looks like fine furniture and is finished except where fabric may touch. I bought all sorts of accessories and would buy more if I could. He made a travel stand for me, too, but tried not to sell those.

  12. Since I don’t stitch in an uncomfortable, straight-backed wooden chair, I wouldn’t use a floor stand. I have an Elan lap stand which I love. It stays in place on my lap, while I am comfortable on the couch or on a chair with padding!

    And it is great in keeping hands-off stitching in place for whatever my hands want to do.

    And I have had it for so many years that the cork pieces that came with it disintegrated, and the company replaced them FOR FREE, no postage, nothing. The replacements are some composite which will probably last longer than the original, natural stuff.

    1. Hi, Sally – Well, I don’t stitch in a hard wood chair usually, either. I have a very comfortable, “ergonomic” computer chair that I use out in my workroom. If I’m inside, I’m on the sofa or in an easy chair. I used the wood chair there for the photo. The NWS4 stand and the Necessaire can both be comfortably used at a couch or at an easy chair (Nicola’s videos demonstrate the use of the Necessaire at a comfy chair). Just to clarify, in case anyone wonders…!

  13. Hello Marie
    Well I am disappointed, I bought a floor stand frame and I am always forced to move my part to run my points, I actually turns … The only advantage is the weight of the fabric that was not on his knees and yes it allows dub correctly needle upside down and the more I can not stop my son break up the eye, bad day …

  14. Last year, I renewed my interest in embroidery when I found NeedlenThread.com and happily participated via this website in Mary’s “Strawberries” Needle Painting Online class. Margaret Cobleigh was the instructor. As one of our “Class Chatter” conversations with Margaret, I brought up the description of my Auntie’s Embroidery Hoop. I wrote:

    “My Auntie (who passed away many years ago) did lots of embroidery in the 1930’s and so I figure the hoop that I inherited is somewhere around 75 years old. There is the main piece that fits on the arm of a chair or on the edge of a table. There is a slider bar that moves up or down for hoop height. Both the main piece and slider bar have wooden knobs that screw to hold the pieces in place. At the top of the slider bar is the 8 inch hoop that can also be adjusted up and down with a screw and wing nut. The main piece has a stamped “Made in England” message.”

    Margaret replied and shared a weblink of a company in the UK that makes similar wooden hoop/clamps.

    I found that the current version of my Auntie’s hoop looks the photo labeled “table clamp.” Over the past year, I have used this hoop/clamp series attached to a table in front of my favorite living room chair while I watch TV. I am really enjoying doing thread painting…especially using ideas/patterns from the “Strawberry” class, Trish Burr, and/or the magazine “Inspirations”…while using this hoop/clamp.

    Does anyone else have a hoop/clamp similar to my Auntie’s Embroidery Hoop?

    1. Hi, Bonnie – Yes, those are German made hoop stands – they come in the seat variety (that you sit on or rest on a table) and the clamp variety. They’re also available in the US through shops that carry goods from Access Commodities (for example, Hedgehog Handworks could special order them).

      Just a note, though, for those interested in the sit-on hoop stands: invest in the good, German-made versions. There are “knock offs” available online though places like Amazon and Overstock, for something around $20-$30, but these are shabby imitations. The hardware doesn’t hold up, resulting in a wobbly set up. And apparently, the wood is not smooth, and the hoop doesn’t grip like it should.

      So, if stitchers in the US are looking for seat stands for hoops, make sure you look for the German-made versions, rather than the cheap knock offs. Much better to invest twice as much money into a tool that will last. The good ones will run anywhere from $70-$90.

      In Australia, good ones can be found through Vetty Creations.

      In the UK, the Crewel Work Company also carries them, with three interchangeable hoops in various sizes – 6″ – 10″.

      I haven’t used any of them myself, but I’ve heard loads of feedback from folks who have, and who like them. I’ve also heard from folks who mistakenly bought the cheaper knock-off versions, and regretted it.

      So I’d advise looking for “made in Germany” (or England) and avoiding “made in China” variations.

    2. Yes, Bonnie and Mary. That is the frame I bought (see the previous comment from Judy S above).

      I bought mine from Crewel Work Company

      It is made in England. As I said, I am very happy thus far. Some day I will buy one of the floor frames reviewed. But for now, this frame is working out well.
      Best, Judy S

  15. I have been lucky enough to to be given a real live RSN slate frame. Which is good, because I am about to start the certificate of technical hand embroidery with them in JUST OVER A WEEK! Oh so excited. And terrified! I am wondering how to set up at home with that big slate frame. At Hampton Court I will get trestles, but at home I have nothing. I am also totally without funds for buying stands as all my cash is going on the course, and also I am scared of getting the wrong thing and wasting money. Should I just save up for a pair of trestles? Do I need one stand/trestles for a heavy slate frame and something else for smaller/lighter frames? Completely paralysed by indecision, and as such, I have nothing!

    1. If you’re going to use medium to large slate frames in the future, save up for trestles (assuming you have room for them). For smaller pieces, a different type of stand is preferable, I think, although I have used trestles for smaller pieces, too. You can always add scrap fabric to the sides of smaller pieces, to mount in a larger slate frame, which can then be comfortably accommodated on trestles.

    2. The RSN also has a satellite in San Francisco. You can always contact that branch to find out about materials and equipment. I am sure shipping local will be much easier than from the UK.
      Lucy Barter runs the SF courses.

  16. Mary, excellent review! I have, over many years, acquired 90% of the System 4 ans it’s accessories. I am amazed at its stability! The setup you pictured actually astounded me because it is so stable. I recently purchased the “banner” style scroll frame which rolls on the sides rather than at the top and bottom. It was a requested Christmas gift that I intended to use for a silk needlepoint German Sampler I had purchased eons ago. To my excited surprise, I have used it several times. Denise at Threadneedle Street responded to my questions ( I wanted to use longer scroll rods than it was intended for). She even consulted with the manufacturer. Yes, it does work. I have also used the warranty. I returned a 20yr old worn out part and $12 to the manufacturer. Within a week, I had a new part.


  17. Thanks to your initial review, I bought a Millenium lap stand and frames. I love them! I had attempted to use another highly touted system before but never got the tensioning quite right. The Millenium is easy enough even for me. Thanks for your thoughtful reviews and recommendations.

  18. Would like to invest in one of these in the future. I usually sit on the couch to stitch which inevitably ends with me curling my legs up under me and leaning on an armest, and then achy stiff joints & muscles later. Do they have any models that can adjust for sitting in a chair & sitting in a couch? Or is it better to have one for each setting?
    I try to be mindful of my posture but I always end up in what I call my ‘curled up with a book’ position.
    I love your website, you have such great information. I’m a relative newbie and your tutorials & articles on tools, threads & techniques have been a helpful resource. Thank you.

    1. Hi, Harmonie – The NWS4 works at a chair and at a couch, as long as you have the extension arm. It only requires about 1-1.5″ of space between the bottom of the chair or couch and the floor, for the balancing leg to fit under the furniture. The “curled up with a book” position works great for stitching in a hand held hoop, but if you lose track of time, you might freeze in that position forever! Just kidding… but it can lead to join aches, if you’re not careful to shift now and then.

    2. Harmonie, you might want to get a gel filled cushion from a medical supply store. They were initially designed for physical therapists to use with their patients, but there ARE some LQS that now carry them.

      The cushion is about a foot in diameter, with a smooth side to protect the furniture, and the other side has little fingers to actually sit on. It is about 2 inches thick.

      They sre great because they trick the brain into telling you that you are about to fall unless you are keeping your back upright and straight.

  19. I use the System 4 travel stand with an extension arm. I also have an attachment that I can use if I need to attach my light to the stand. I have used this stand for years and it has served me very very well. It is extremely well made. The only problem is that, with use, the clamp will eventually loosen. This is not really a problem though because you can send the clamp back to System 4 and they tighten the clamp perfectly for you. The only cost is the shipping, which for me is $12. They do this very quickly and I usually get the clamp back within a few days. I really love my system 4. I do have a couple of other stands for specific needs and actually have some other System 4 clamps for other specific needs.

  20. For years I stitched with a C-clamp holding the stretcher bars to a table and I still carry the clamp with me if I am stitching away from home on a piece that is on stretcher bars. A few years ago a friend ordered a beautiful floor stand from an English needlework shop–it was a Lowery and I was completely taken by it–all stainless steel. I ordered 1 and use it all the time here at home. The only time I take it with me is when I am taking an all day class. It does break down into parts that are easy to store in the car and are very easy to re-assemble. The base on mine is very heavy so tipping is not a problem. I just spent the past month working on a project on 12″ roller frame with 22″ dowels and the frame held it securely and did not tip at all. I splurged and bought all of the accessories but have used only the daisy dish which is mounted on the stand. All of the other accessories were in the way so are all in a bag packed away. I stitch sitting in a standard dining room chair. JoyceAnne

  21. I agree with the prior comment to the effect that the best stand depends a lot on your seating. Over the years I’ve tried hand held hoops then various table and floor stands. When working in my favorite wing chair, I still use only a hand held frame. For very fine work I like a table stand clamped to the table. Perhaps my favorite floor stand is a wooden one which accepts hoops of various sizes. It’s signed by Erica Wilson who helped me select it in her shop in Nantucket the summer before she died.

  22. I am in the UK, and I use a Stitchmaster floor frame (the wooden version – now superseded by a metal version which costs three times the price, and doesn’t look as useful, IMO). I have a blog post about the wooden one which also talks about how I use an extra adaptation which my husband made me, so that it is possible to attach silk gauze mounted in card mounts on it. I use my Stitchmaster every day – it can hold rectangular frames, as well as hoops, and is very adjustable. I can move it in close to my chair (either a dining chair or an armchair). There is an attachment package for a Daylight lamp with clip-on magnifier, and a chartholder, which are very useful too. Love it 🙂

  23. What a coincidence! I spent the weekend thinking about how to make my Evertite framed Secret Garden project portable….to be able to take the project with me to quilt gatherings or classes. I have the desktop System 4 (the newer, much heavier version) and it certainly wouldn’t be the answer to portability. Anyone out there have any ideas? I could just put the project in a hoop, but I love the “hands free” feeling of putting the frame into a holder.

  24. Just a note: I followed up on your recent mention of the Millenium frame by watching Nicola’s videos as well as one or two others on the Needle Needs website. And was really attracted to their Aristo lap stand because of the ease of flipping the frame over for working/looking at the reverse… my thumbs are painfully arthritic and constantly having to phutz with wing nuts for loostening and tightening is an issue for me.

    The website didn’t list specific dimensions for the lap stand, so emailed them and received a pretty prompt response:
    Aristo dimensions
    Base: 18″ x 6″
    Height: 9″
    Can accommodate frame up to about 27″ wide

    Also asked about the Millenium working with needlepoint canvas and the answer is yes. (I figured if the answer was no that I could always machine stitch fabric extensions to each end of the canvas.)

    And they maintain a waiting list at least for the Aristo stand and will email that list when they are getting more in stock… they may do the same for any currently unavailable Millenium elements or the floor stand… not certain, however.

    Thought I’d share the info with your readers…

  25. Hi Mary & Readers,

    As a single-mom and college student the best use of my funds is always a primary consideration. I thought I’d share the financial aspects on my purchase of the Elbessee sit-stand hoop system. For the same price of buying one 10″ hoop/stand (Elbessee) in the U.S. I was able to purchase 3 hoops and the stand PLUS only $16 shipping (!) from the Royal School of Needlework. The total price was slightly under $100 and I have a good long-lasting system until I can afford to “move-up” to a floor stand set!

  26. First, like Mary I use the Evertite stretcher bars for all of my work. They too are a bit expensive, but I have been buying them a size at a time, to the point where I have nearly all of their sizes, and extras of a couple of sizes.

    I have a variety of the stands from K’s Creations.

    First I got the floor stand with one clamp. It is wonderful, but it’s size makes things a bit difficult when I need to get up quickly to tend to my husband, an Alzheimer’s patient. It is made of several sections of wood, making it infintely adjustable. AND it folds down to take with you when you want to stitch someplace else. It even has a carry handle!

    I also have their 1 clamp lapframe that is designed to sit upon while stitching. It will collapse to a very small size but the work has to be removed first.

    Next I have two of the adjustable bases, the baby base and the standard base, each outfitted with two clamps. These are designed to sit ON TOP of your lap. They will also fold up nicely, but for these your work does not need to be removed.

    I have made a tote bag for each of the systems so that my work can go with me as I take us around the countryside in our RV. The bag makes sure that the work stays clean and dry. If no rain is expected, a pillowcase works well too.

    The baby base is perfect for work that is 13″ or less in mounted size. The standard base picks up at the 14″ mounted size, and is reported to go up to 22″. Each of these bases CAN handle another 2″ or so by removing the dowel type spacers between the base arm and the clamp.

    A distinct advantage of the adjustable bases is that the work can be turned around so that you do not have to stretch to get to the top of the work. In less than a minute you turn the base around on your lap and reset the frame’s angle, then you can start stitching again more comfortably.

    Each adjustable base has a carved in area to hold things you want to keep close. I also have their “handy tray” which comes with 5 dowels to hold thread, 3 holes in two sizes to hold things like scissors, and a shorter carved area for the extras. Additionally I have their magnetic board holder for times when I am following a specific counted thread project, and their clamp on magnifier.

    There are additional accessories that are available, including an easy way to attach scroll frames in place of the stretcher frames and Q-Snap frames. They are NOT designed to use with round hoops.

    Most of the time I am using one of the adjustable base units because if needed it just takes a second to set the work on a table and take care of my husband.

    Each item is made of hard maple that is shipped sanded so it can be used as is or it can be stained in another color. And each knob is oversized which makes it easier for those of us with arthritis to tighten them without doing damage to our hands.

  27. I’m hoping that you’ve gotten my first e-mail on this and I just haven’t gotten a reply yet (haven’t checked e-mail lately). I’m not commenting on floor stands since I don’t have one and haven’t done anything that requires one….yet, but I’m sure that’s in the future. I’m also hoping that you have a source for the flip flop drops that you wrote about in 2010 (I think). I haven’t found them anywhere and believe they are the answer I’ve been looking for. The ones in your post have “needle’nthread” on them so I don’t have a website to go to. I love your posts and instructions. I understand everything you write and am having more fun trying your tutorials. Right now I’m going to start the long and short stitch lessons and really looking forward to it. I would appreciate any info you can give on the flip flop drops. Thanks

    1. Mary,

      Anita’s Little Stitches carries them. She also has a very nice tutorial. She does have a minimum purchase of $25 but she has so many nice things I never have a problem finding stuff. She has an excellent selection of needles, including bulk. Here is the link to the drops

  28. Hi Mary & friends,
    First – I have to confess that I am a “good tool junkie”, as such I have invested a lot in this past year on frames etc. looking for the perfect one. I started out looking for a good lap stand because that is where I used to do the majority of my stitching. However, I eventually moved to a floor stand because it was decidedly better for my back.
    Hands down the Needlework system 4 is the best that I have found. It’s never put away, there is always a project on it and I am so comfortable with its functionality.

    I did get the Needle works floor and lap stands, and they are very handy for setting up and for larger projects but I found the additional material needed just to set a a small piece not frugal. (can you tell I’m strong Scots?) Plus, flipping the work meant moving my magnifying lamp too often. I still have the Millineum and actually am currently thinking of a project that it will be sell suited for.

    If I had to choose I would opt for the Needlework System 4. I love it, it could be broken down if I wanted to travel with it and the gears and adjustability are so satisfying.

    I use round hoops with it. the hoops I prefer are the Susan Bates with a rib and groove that really secures the work. Occasionally I have to readjust the hoop as it sits in the clamp but it never been a problem.

    Think I will stick with this stand for a long, long time.

  29. Mary’s tambour work articles got me interested, and for that you need both hands. I’m pretty new to embroidery and didn’t want to spend a lot on a stand until I know I’m committed.
    So I ended up with an Edmunds Universal Craft Stand, bought at the local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store for just under $40. (Amazon has them, too). Very satisfactory so far. Its wood finish was a lot smoother than I expected; it screwed together easily; nice and stable on the floor. You can adjust it for almost any height and angle, and the joints stay in position. What I particularly like is that the frame holder has a groove, so it will take both flat frames and those with a roller, plus hoops. And it swivels so you can go from right side to wrong side. Plus, it is lightweight: I carry my project from room to room.
    The only downsides I see so far are that the feet sometimes get in the way of my footrest, and the frame holder screws are really long! They stick up in the air and look lethal. On the other hand, sometimes I hang my spool of perle cotton on one. Keeps it out of the way but it feeds just fine.

  30. Great overview, Mary!

    I have a VERY old floor stand, advertised in the back of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts (does anybody else remember that magazine? I have the complete run), which my husband bought for me as a birthday present. Still works great. The only drawback is that it only works with the scroll bars designed to fit that stand. Fortunately, I had the foresight to buy a couple of sets of them.

    I also have a lap stand made by Elan–don’t remember where I bought it, but it works great for smaller pieces that I don’t want to hold in hand.

    And just last week, I bought the supporting frame by Margaret Lee that you reviewed several weeks ago. I saw it last summer in person and loved the way it looked, so I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival.


  31. My problem is that I like having my needlework very close to my face (poor eyesight). Frame systems are never close enough. I have tried a variety, and also go back to a tension hoop and my hands. Does anybody know of a frame that would actually get the frame closer? (I am fairly tall).


    1. Hi, Keli! This is another one of the reasons I like the NWS4 with the extension arm. I can get it right up close – under my chin, if I want. I don’t have good eyesight, either, so sometimes, depending on what I’m working on, I like to have the work close.

  32. I can’t live without my Mark 2 floor stand. It fits around any chair I choose to work from,(and at my age, I may have to consider a wheelchair) the spring loaded sides make working on either side simple, and the optional adjustable brackets allow me to use Q-Snaps, stretcher bars and hoops. I use my K’s lap frames for traveling,especially the “Z” frame. But I would rescue my Mark 2 first in a fire! Expensive, but very well made, sturdy, and works. Easy to move with the wheels on the back. Just lift up the front and it wheels back.

  33. Mary,
    Some time ago I took your recommendation on the millennium frame and loved using it is much I invested in the necessaire floor stand too. I’m in the UK, so delivery was relatively quick. I sew lots of different types of embroidery from crewel and black work to gold work, needle painting and ribbon work. The millennium is simply the best frame and the necessaire the best stand for larger pieces of work. For smaller stuff I love to work in a hoop with a barrel clamp and I clamp that to a small inexpensive tv table so I have room for all my threads and tools too. Thanks for the original recommendation Mary. Evelyn

  34. My first stand was the Ergo from Artisan Designs. I loved that it fits into nearly any chair I am stitching in, but my downfall was when I had a long scroll frame in the clamp. As I stitched the frame would start to droop down. That problem was sort of fixed by making “squared off” side bars for my frame as the ones I have are rounded. It was going to cost more money to buy the chart holder, tray and their scroll frames and I would’ve considered it but I found the stand I currently use today.
    My second stand is the “Mark 2 Floor Stand” made by Hearthside Craftworks from Calgary Alberta and it will allow someone in a wheelchair to use it. It comes with the chart holder and a tray, and it’s own scroll frame, which is attached on both sides! No more drooping! You have to attach your fabric to the frame by stitching it in place, and I’ve tried to use my other frames (Handi-clamp) but this needs “Magivering” to work, so for now, sewing it is!

    1. Hi Terri,
      I am weighing Ergo vs. Mark II. I stitch in a recliner with legs that run forward along the sides. The legs of a stand will not fit underneath; therefore, they will need to go around or be wide enough to straddle the average La-Z-Boy. Some of my projects are larger requiring max. stability. This would be my first stand purchase. Since you have both stands, I am wondering if you could give me any direction.
      Thank you!

  35. HI Mary and all,
    After reading through the comments, I’m wondering about the NW4 System table stand. I use the Evertite stretcher bars, and currently balance the frame tilted on the edge of my sewing cutting table when stitching. If one were to use the NW4 table stand version, is the stand balanced or weighted in any way? How large of a frame would the table stand hold? I’d doing larger pieces of Ecclesiastical work that are in 16 to 20″ frames or larger. It would be wonderful if the table stand would hold frames that large…

    On a side note, there was a comment by someone earlier about needing her work close to be able to see it. I just got my combo Daylight lamp and magnifying glass. It is the table version with the 30 pound base stand. It was very expensive, but now I can see everything! It is an investment I will not regret. I’ll just never be able to easily move that base…… The other plus is the the lamp is so flexible and once in position, will not move until I move it. Now I’m not fighting to have my work up close to see what I’m doing. With good flexible lighting, I can look into stand options. Thanks for great suggestions.

  36. I have both the Artisan Design lap the Elan, and the floor stand, the Gazelle. I like them both, but I use the lap stand far more. It will hold any type of frame, scroll bars, hoop, anything and will hold any width although wider than 30″ becomes a st ability problem.

  37. I started reading the comments and thought a couple of the stands, including the Mark 2 and system 4 would work for me, but… I can’t buy them in the UK! does anyone know where I can buy a good stand in the UK? I only work with Qsnap frames so it has to accommodate them. I don’t like hoops or stretcher bars (I suppose I’m lazy!) …

  38. Thanks Mary for the reviews, and for getting this thread started :). Really appreciate everyone sharing as I seem to always be looking for the ‘perfect’ stand too.

    As several folks have noted; it really seems to depend on how you like to sit when stitching. My ‘sit’ has varied over the years as I have dealt with hip issues. It also seems to depend on the type of stitching I am doing. I stalked some deals online and now have a Mark 2 floor stand and one of K’s Creations lap stands that seem to cover most projects.

    A friend recently got a Millenium frame and she loves it! I am putting it in the budget but know I will need to wait. For smaller projects I have a stash of good/sturdy (ie; NOT the cheap wooden) hoops that I have built up over the years. Most are wrapped with linen on at least one ring and they work well for a variety of fabrics.

    I was also lucky enough to talk a woodworker friend into making me some slate frames. I had one of the last BWH sets I gave him to use as a reference and now I have a whole range of them :). Pegs don’t hold very well tho so I have switched to cotter pins slipped into plastic tubing. Very secure now and I luv to work with these for historic pieces. He has also made one set of trestles for me but they are kind of large so am hoping to work up some plans for a more streamlined set similar to the RSN ones. Then, of course, I have to figure out what is going to be the best chair to use with it :).

  39. I tried out one floor stand, but found I had to unloosen and then retighten the nut to turn my piece over to finish threads or untangle threads on the underside. Very inconvenient and I stopped using it almost immediately. There are lots of good suggestions here, so I will have to research which one of them will work for me. Thanks everyone!

    1. Maureen, those knobs are needed to hold the fabric as if you were using your hand. They hold the fabric in one place while you stitch, freeing up both of your hands to stitch with.

      Without the knobs the fabric will go in whichever direction that you want your needle to go with each half of each stitch, or you will need to use one of your hands to hold your frame, defeating the advantages of using a stand in the first place. You want to use one hand to bring the stitch up from the back of your work, and the other hand on the top of the fabric to stitch back down through the fabric.

  40. I’ll wait to see if you’ve found anything on the flip flop drops. I could probably make something similar but I’m thinking about the edges and if the threads would catch on any burrs left from drilling and cutting. Thank you for all the time, effort and skill you share with us.

  41. I have none of these, as most embroidery I have done in the past was on crazy quilting, hence no need of hooping or anything. But more recently I have been doing some more serious embroidery and I do need this stuff. I bought a Needle Needs frame from England but the postage for the stand, not to mention the stand itself, was prohibitive. So nothing daunted my Dearly Beloved set to and made me a stand. Heavily influenced by the NN stand it may be, as it was made for the NN frame, but it is all his work and it works for me. Sadly one of the dowels on the frame warped, but I think it has now returned to straight (timber tends to do this sort of thing when the moisture levels in the atmosphere vary from time to time). Maybe that means a metal frame would be preferable but I don’t know of any. Do you?

    I can’t really justify the expenditure (or even really afford it) for anything else mainly because of the shipping costs which seem to rise with indecent regularity.

  42. I have both the Needle Needs floor stand and their lap stand(and three millenium frames-love them!). I like the lap stand a lot, but I tend to use quite large frames and I often accidentally knock my frame off my stand, which is a little annoying, haha! I like the floor stand too, but it is a little bit too low for me, requiring me to bend over the frame too much, and that hurts my back too much. I usually put a bunch of books under my frame to make it stand a bit higher. And I have the same problem with the frames being a bit too heavy and big to stay stable on the stand. The stands are beautiful quality, but I’m wondering if I should look at a stand with a clamp instead..

    Thank you for this lovely post! I was just thinking about this, you must be a mind reader or something!

  43. Kathy K
    Received your reply to my plea for a flip flop drop website and went there immediately and ordered. I don’t know how you found this site (I’m not very computer wise so I don’t experiment), but it’s wonderful. Anyone who is looking for cross stitch (& embroidery) can find some really cute and useful kits, designs and supplies. I will be using her more often. Thank you….thank you…..thank you!

  44. Good day Mary,
    Have you used the “Elbesee Embroidery Seat Frame”?
    Is this the one you referred to (Beware the Floor Stand), in your post about Tambour hoop stand?

    Please reply


  45. Hi, I was given a Giraffe Stand 392 by Maria Products and was hoping someone would know how to attach the hoop to the stand. I did not get any instructions. The gentleman’s wife had passed away so he had not used it and has no idea where the manual might be. I have lots of projects i could use this for and would like to set it up correctly. I have searched but only find sales sites.The phone number has changed as well.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  46. I use a Stitchmaster floor stand with my Millenium frames. I find that the frames are too heavy for the stand and it is very easy to over-balance the stand towards you. I have also had problems with the stand, in that the slotted bar that the head screws onto, is very weak at the top end. It has split into the slot twice, at the point that the screw is inserted. I have glued it both times, and I am just waiting for it to split again. There appears to be too much leverage on this screw point. When it goes again, I intend to order the Millenium stand.

  47. Hi Mary – thanks for such a great site. After much debate and based on your review and reader comment I decided to invest in the NS4. I purchased it through Cross Stich Station/Stitchers Paradise in FL. It was delivered within a week. I have no idea how I’ve gone this long without a floor stand…guess I had no idea what I was missing. Thanks for much for the information It’s well made and definitely worth the investment. I can clearly see getting many years of use from it.

  48. I am glad to find this site! So far the seemingly best floor stand I have found is Edmunds.

    A couple of weeks ago I came upon 25 “new” crewel kits I had stowed away. I did have a pvc frame that I got rid of years ago.

    I remember passing the name Needle Needs but I did not remember I had all of those crewel kits!

    Now the major supplier seems to be Edmunds.

    I would like to know the following:

    Which is the best stand – the sturdiest, most flexible for different size pieces etc

    And more to the point should I buy different size stretcher bars that will fit on the stand, using tacks and the magnetic piece that is sold along with them. Apparently a rubber mallet is used to get the tacks into the stretched cloth.

    Does any of this make sense to you?

    What should I be looking for?

  49. I have recently became disabled and was so glad when I came across this site. It is a godsend!

    What sort of stand you would recommend for someone who embroiders sitting in bed? I can rarely get up and when I do sit it is usually for a very limited time so I spend all of my time in bed. I was thinking about trying out the hoop on a stick but am not sure if it would hold up and/or be comfortable in a bed. I would welcome any advice or suggestions.

    1. The needlework system 4 with the long arm extension would work, with the frame clamp, assuming you use frames. You’d clamp the frame from the side. If you use hoops, you can also use the frame clamp but the hoops would have to be somewhat large to work really well in the frame clamp. Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. And thanks again for this site. It has been a lifesaver.

  50. I use the Giraffe stand, when i use a stand at all. It accommodates hoops, scroll frames and Q-snaps, as well as various types of stretcher bars. It fits nicely under my chatr so I can get the work quite close to me. When i bought it, the price was reasonable (20+ years ago). I have seen them in a few brick and mortar stores as well as online.

  51. Hi,
    I am interested in this frame. Please I what to know where to order and the price on this.

    Thank you

    1. Shantala, if you put the name of the one you think you would like into a search program you should get a variety of places you can contact.

  52. Thank you for suggesting that we watch Nicola’s videos. They are a pleasure to watch and so informative. I love the tip about putting wadding in the rolled fabric to protect speciality work.

    I am on the point of wanting a floor standing frame so these videos have been extremely helpful.

  53. I generally do cross stitch and am using the white tubular stitching frames, Do the floor stand you recommend handle the roundness of these frames? I have an older wooden floor stand and am getting really tired of the constant re-tightening. Due to health and space restrictions I will probably be sitting in a desk chair w rollers. I could possibly use the table top model if it adjusts enough down from the desk height

    1. No, the floor stand with the clamp does not, but the floor stand with the q-snap attachment does. You just have to purchase the correct head attachment. It would be the needlework system 4 stand with the q-snap attachment.

  54. Hi Mary I’m very grateful for your excellent website packed with so much helpful information. I am looking to buy my first floor stand. I like to stitch on the recliner sofa and will therefore require good reach. The needle system 4 looks amazing but I haven’t been able to find any information telling me any dimensions for the stand to work out whether it will be suitable. I live in the UK so I won’t be able to try it out beforehand. You said this is a good stand for use with armchair or sofa and wonder what your thoughts are on suitability of using it from a sofa in reclined position assuming the extension arm would be a necessity (i wonder if the lady who posted about getting the extension arm for reclining found it adequate?)

    1. Well, I think it would. But I’ve never tried stitching while reclining. But you’d definitely need the extension arm! Maybe other people have used it this way and will chime in.

  55. Hi Mary, can you offer an option to the Necessarie Stand…I have the Millinieum Frame and am ready for a stand however the Necessarie is out of stock. Thank you so very much!!!

    1. Judy O’Dell (of “Just a Thought” needlework designs) used to sell a similar stand here in the US, but I don’t believe she is selling them anymore. So right now, I don’t know of a substitute. You can always prop on a table, but it’s not the same, is it?

  56. I have just received the Nurge Legged Embroidery Stand … I can’t get the Legged part to tighten up with the pole. The stand just spins around without tightening.

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