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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Just a Thought Needlework Stand – Review (& Introductory Sale)


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It’s just been released – Judy O’Dell’s Just-a-Thought needlework stand! And it’s lovely, and I’m excited about it, and I want to tell you all about it!

Update 2023: Judy has retired and this stand is no longer available.

I was very fortunate to receive a stand for review, after reviewing the prototype and giving feedback on it earlier this year. Even though I did receive the stand from Judy (thank you, Judy!), the review below is objective. I don’t get any kickback or anything if you buy a stand or if you don’t.

You’ll hear pros and cons, along with my own thought processes while unpacking the stand, putting it together and using it.

I’ll also compare the stand to other stands that I own, so that you have a good idea of what the Just a Thought Needlework Stand is and what it isn’t.

And all this, just in time for Christmas! If you have a needlework stand on your Christmas wish list, this one may fulfill all your Christmas dreams!

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

The Just a Thought Needlework Stand is an all-wood needlework stand, made for holding medium-small to pretty darned large frames so that you can embroider with both hands free.

It works whether you’re sitting on a straight-back chair, a sofa, an easy chair (that allows something underneath it), a task chair or sewing chair – anywhere you can sit that you can have the stand positioned in front of you, with the base extending under your seat.

Let’s take it out of the box:

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

The stand arrives via UPS in a very large box. When you open it, you’re met with industrial bubble wrap. (I love bubble wrap.)

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

The stand was very securely shipped, with everything well packed and protected.

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

Ahhhh – the beginning of a love affair with an embroidery stand. The wood is beautiful! It’s smooth as glass, it’s a lovely color with a lovely finish.

At this point, I was seeing many differences between the prototype I saw earlier this year and the finished product – exciting and beautiful differences!

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

The stand comes with assembly instructions and all the hardware packaged in a neat, separate bag. In fact, it even comes with the Phillips head screwdriver you need to assemble the base. That’s very handy!

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

The instructions are simple and clear, and there’s really no difficult set-up here, although, if you have problems with your hands, you might need someone to help you attach the base, as the bolts are good and tight and the base is quite heavy.

The procedure: attach the base to the main shaft, attach the “head” of the stand to the top of the main shaft, and attach the arms to the head. Simple. With the exception of the three sunk bolts in the base, the other bolts feature an comfort-grip plastic knob to make it easy to adjust them.

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

This is the most interesting part of the stand. This is the “neck” of the “head.” It fits over the main shaft. Think of the top bolt as a pivot. (There are two positions you can place the top bolt in – one about two inches higher than the other, in case you want to adjust the height of the stand slightly.)

The lower bolt regulates the “swing” of the head, so that you can tilt it to a comfortable stitching position, depending on where you’re sitting.

The stand will hold your work perfectly parallel to the floor, or it will allow you to angle your work down towards you (especially helpful if you’re sitting on a low sofa – you’ll need to angle the head a little downwards).

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

Once the main shaft is attached to the base and the “head” is attached to the top of the main shaft, you bolt the arms on. The arms are long – about 22″. Between the bolts and the support pegs, they accommodate a frame of about 18″ deep. You can use a deeper frame if you want, but you have to rest it over the bolts on the back.

The wide arms can hold a pretty large frame! And the weight of the whole stand allows for heavy larger frames without a problem. You can also move the arms inward on the “head” (see the sunk washers across the head there?) to accommodate smaller frames.

Just-a-Thought Needlework Stand

When you’re not using the stand, the swing arms can be swung out of the way as shown in the photo above.

So, there you have some photos of the stand, unboxing the stand, assembly information, and the basic gist on how the stand works.

Stand Comparisons

I have owned just about every major needlework stand on the market, mostly for the purpose of reviewing here on Needle ‘n Thread. There are a few stands that I use consistently: the Needlework System 4 floor stand, the Needlework System 4 table stand, and the Necessaire floor stand from Needle Needs in the UK. Additionally, I’ve taken to using a hoop on a stick fairly regularly these days.

I also use a pair of trestles to hold large slate frames that are always set-up in my workroom. And I use hand-held hoops a lot, too.

For the sake of comparison here, we’ll talk about the Necessaire, the Needlework System 4 floor stand, and the Just a Thought stand.

Just a Thought (JAT) vs Needlework System 4 (NWS4)

Both stands are good stands.

The NWS4 is a metal stand. The JAT is an all-wood stand.

The NWS4 requires the purchase of two components – the stand itself and the attachment for holding frames or q-snaps or whatever type of frame you want to use. The components aren’t cheap. A total NWS4 stand will cost you upwards to $250 – $300, depending on which head attachment you buy.

The JAT requires the purchase of just the stand.

The NWS4 is limited in the types of frames it can hold. The clamp holds stretcher bars, the scroll frames are a separate component and you must use the ones that come with the component, or you can purchase the q-snap component and use that. The clamp will also hold small to medium sized slate frames that have a flat bar at the top and bottom.

The JAT is not limited in the type of frame you can use. Slate frames, scroll frames, stretcher bars, the Millenium frame – all work on this stand. You can even set large hoops on it, or you can rig small hoops by using a soft-shoed clamp from the hardware store.

Both stands allow access to the back of the work. With the NWS4, you turn the “head” component to get to the back of the work. With the JAT, you just flip your frame. Flipping the frame is easier than turning the whole head component on the NWS4, and the turning mechanism on the NWS4 becomes more difficult over time, requiring the replacement of washers and so forth, to get the thing to turn easily.

The NWS4 stand is lightweight. Although it lightweight, it does remain balanced even when holding heavier stretcher bar frames and the like. Because it’s lightweight, it is easier to transport.

The JAT is not lightweight. It would not be easily mobile, but it can certainly be moved from one spot to another.

The NWS4 stand collapses. It can be folded up for easy storage, with a small storage footprint.

The JAT does not collapse (with the exception of the swing arms that can be swung out of the way). It’s storage footprint is fairly large.

Both stands can be used at a chair, sofa, couch, etc. But the NWS4 stand can be used from the side of a sofa or an easy chair, so you don’t have to have the stand resting in front of you. In order for that to happen comfortably, though, you have to buy a special extension arm. The NWS4 stand could also be used if the stitcher is in bed, again, with the special extension arm.

Both are made in the US.

Summary: The JAT is a great stand for more permanent use. I find it more stable feeling than the NWS4, which can be a bit jiggly because it’s so light. The JAT is quite heavy and not really suited to transporting, so if transportation of a stand is your main concern (you want something, for example, to tote back and forth to classes), then the JAT probably won’t do it for you, unless you don’t mind lugging something larger and heavier around with you. The JAT does not conveniently break down for storage, so if space and storage is a concern for you, this might be problematic. At the same time, though, the JAT is a beautiful stand. So if you have the space to leave it set up, it won’t detract from its surroundings – it’s quite attractive. For small stretcher bar frames, I prefer the NWS4 frame clamp. For heavier and wider stretcher bars, slate frames, or the Millenium, if choosing between the NWS4 and the JAT, I’d go with the JAT. On price point: the JAT right now is $120 (+ shipping); the NWS4 runs upwards to $300.

Just a Thought (JAT) vs. Necessaire (N)

The JAT and the Necessaire (hereafter, the N) are very similar stands. The concept behind both is pretty much the same. Both stands are convenient because they hold a variety of frame types and sizes, because you can easily access the back of the work by flipping the frames, and because they can be adjusted in tilt and at least a little bit in height.

Both stands easily accommodate slate frames, scroll frames, stretcher bar frames, the Millenium frame, q-snaps, large (12″+) hoops and smaller hoops if rigged with a clamp. These types of stands are not really really meant for hoops, but I find you can always rig them.

Both stands are well made. The N is made from beech, while the JAT is made from maple. The N is made in the UK; the JAT is made in the US.

The N is significantly lighter, compared to the JAT. It’s easier to move physically because it doesn’t weigh as much. It can also be transported more easily, although it is not technically a collapsible stand.

The JAT weighs a lot more, especially because of that larger mono-ped base, which is quite heavy, but is also what lends that overall stability to the stand. There’s a definite feeling of stability with the JAT because of the weight, more so than with the N.

The storage footprint of the JAT is larger than the storage footprint of the N.

The JAT is a lot broader across the top of the “head” than the N. This makes it easier for the JAT to accommodate very wide and heavy frames.

The N has two lengths of arms available. It comes with the longer 18″ arms, but you can buy shorter support arms. The JAT has one length of arms.

The N has a chart-holder across the top of the head, where you can prop a chart. The JAT does not.

The N is adjustable to three set levels of tilt. The JAT can be adjusted to tilt to any level within its tilt scope. You can get a more “customized” tilt with the JAT.

The N is often on backorder and it takes a while to arrive (especially if you’re outside the UK). Right now, the JAT is in stock.

Summary: Both stands do the same thing, essentially. And they both do it well, though I think the JAT feels more stable overall than the N. For those of us who live in the US, and assuming portability and storage footprint are not concerns (neither stand is really made to be a portable stand, but the JAT is less portable because of its weight), there’s really no question. I’d definitely buy the JAT. Price point: The JAT is $120 (+ shipping) right now (through December 24, 2014). The Necessaire is £111.56 (approximately US$175 + shipping).

Pros & Cons of the JAT in Summary

If you don’t have a floor stand and you use frames of various sorts, and if you live in the US, the JAT is a great stand to get! The pros are abundant: it’s well-made; it’s stable; it’s easy to assemble; it’s attractive; it’s affordable.

The only “cons” (depending on how you look at it) is that it is not easily collapsible or transportable. But – it’s hard to count those as cons, unless you do a lot of traveling or you pack away your stand often. The weight to the stand gives it real stability.

Where to Find the Just a Thought Needlework Stand

Update 2023: Judy is retired and no longer sells these stands.

Within the US, Judy said shipping to the farthest destination away from her is $45. So that’s the most you’d possibly pay in shipping, and in most circumstances, shipping will be considerably less. For international orders, Judy does sell internationally, but – and this is a mighty big but – the shipping is more than the cost of the stand.

Finally, Judy is also happy to talk to shop owners who might be interested in carrying her stand. So feel free to contact her, if you fall in that category. All the contact information is on this PDF about the stand.

So, if you’ve been hankering for a good floor stand to hold your needlework frames, now’s the time to dive in! The stand’s on sale through December 24, for $120 (+shipping). After that, it’ll be the regular price of $149.

Put it on your Christmas list – but order it today, if you want any chance of getting it by Christmas!

(No affiliation here. As mentioned above, I did receive the stand from Judy, with no obligation for a positive review. I also advised on the prototype earlier in the year. But I don’t receive any kickback or anything, just so you know. I really do like the stand – I would have bought one for myself. And if I didn’t like it, I’d tell you why!)

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(51) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    I’m late today been cleaning for Christmas all afternoon yuk! I haven’t been stitching for a while and really missing it. Anyway the JAT sounds and looks like a lovely stand the colour of the wood is beautiful and if I lived in America I would probably consider buying it, but I already have the (N) and I am very pleased with that and also the (N) is available here in the UK so less cost on delivery. But the JAT overall is a lovely stand. Thanks for reviewing the JAT and giving us your views on it I do love to hear about new embroidery stands on the market so thanks.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Have you (or someone out there) ever tried the Lowery stand? I’d love to hear a review of that stand, especially compared to some of the others you mentioned.

    1. Yes, I have. It was not a favorite of mine – I liked it, and if it were the only stand I’d ever used or tried, I’m sure I’d like it a lot. It has several points that recommend it, but it also had several that make it less desirable for me. I returned mine for a different stand.

  3. While I am still a beginner, I was thinking just last evening that I need to get a floor stand as what I am working on was straining my hand. I have to hold a 12 x 12 frame in teh left hand.

    I look forward to this item!!

  4. Hi Mary,

    My Needleneeds stand is my go-to stand when I’m working on a slate frame. However, I had my father make an extra set of legs to support the edge of the frame that’s closest to me when I stich because the weight of my arm resting on the frame and stand caused it to wobble. Is this JAT stand studerier in terms of being able to support the weight of your arm while stitching?

    Liebe Grüße,

    1. Hi, Kathy! Yes, I like the NN for slate frames, too, but you’re right, you can’t really rest an arm on it. This is sturdier in that regard. You can rest your arm on your work, if the work is horizontal, and even if it’s at a little tilt. I wouldn’t say you could put your whole body weight on the front of the frame, but as a normal armrest, yes, it works. This is the PDF that Judy produced about the stand, and she talks about that: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/JAT-needlework-stand.pdf – at the end of page 4. This stand is a lot heavier than the Necessaire from Needle Needs, and I think the front balance achieved from the shape and weight of the base makes a difference when it comes to stability and arm-resting. The bolt mechanism on the neck holds really firmly, too, so there’s no slow sinking going on!

    1. Hi, Kelley – Nothing “attaches” to this stand. There’s not “attachment” mechanism at all. You place your frame on the extended arms. To access the back of your work, you just flip your frame. It’s not an ideal stand for hoops, unless the hoops are large. It can work for smaller hoops, by rigging some kind of clamp to hold a smaller hoop, but I wouldn’t personally do that, just because it would be a pain to clamp and unclamp the hoop. This type of stand is ideally suited to frames, and most ideally suited to wider frames, 16″ or more wide, although it does work with narrower frames, too.

  5. Thank you for the review, this looks like a stand a lot of us have been looking for. Quick question: is the overall height adjustable? I know the frame support tilts down but it looks like it is set at one height, no adjustments up or down on the support upright. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Catherine – yes, the height is adjustable, but only a little bit adjustable – You can choose the top “pivot” hole, or one about 2-3″ below it. There are four bolt holes on the shaft, two at the top for the “pivot” – one about 2-3″ higher than the other – and two below for the “swing” that correspond with whichever pivot hole you choose. I’ve got mine set up on the top pivot, swung so that it tilts down at just a slight angle, and I can use it comfortably on a sofa and at a regular chair. If I wanted my work horizontal and I were sitting at the sofa, I’d lower it to the second pivot hole, I think. The majority of the positioning depends more on the tilting than on the height adjustment, but I think the two choices are well placed.

  6. Looks like a nice stand. I’m still using my 25 year old Grippit floor stand that isn’t made any more. I have replaced the base with a newer used one, but still use the original clamp section. Tried the K’s metal floor stand, but didn’t like it. I also have a larger floor stand that was made by Shay Pendray that I use for really large projects and scroll frames.

  7. Hi, Mary – I come to your site every day and always learn so much! It was really interesting to read this review. I own and have used for many years a Gazelle needlework stand – I don’t remember how I came to this particular one, but it is what I have and what works for me. However, I am very interested to know if you are familiar with it and, if so, how it ranks/compares with this JAT stand and others that you know. I always wonder if there is “something better” out there.

    Here is their website: http://www.artisandesign.com/html/gazelle_2.html

    Many thanks for your always informative posts!
    Arlene C in NJ

    1. Hi, Arlene – No, I haven’t tried the gazelle 2. To tell you the truth, I’m always wary of needlework stands that have a wooden clamp function. I’ve tried other stands with wooden clamp / turn functions, only to find they give out over time. But perhaps this one is different! It looks somewhat complex, compared to the simplicity of this type of “hold and flip” sort of stand. But it’s nice that it comes in from the side. I wonder how well it works over the arm of a chair or sofa? Or is the side approach just so you can have your feet free to put them on a footstool or something…?

    2. Hi Mary,

      (I know this is an old discussion, but…) I’ve had a Gazelle 2 for about a year and a half. I did have trouble with the clamp seizing up on me at the beginning of the summer, I think due to the wood expanding in the suddenly warm weather. I emailed the company and they told me that they want their stands to be a lifelong investment and encouraged me to send the clamp back so they could fix it. The clamp itself is wood, but it has a really sturdy metal bolt and metal fixings inside the holes, so I think they will last a long time.

      I have only one complaint about the stand. The clamp is really designed to hold Artisan Designs own scroll frames and so the top and bottom pieces of the clamp are angled to hold a round frame edge. It comes with little adapters that attach to the clamp to make the gap flat, but when you attach them, the bolt is just a tiny bit (maybe 1/16″) too short to accommodate an evertite stretcher bar frame. I use the clamp without the adapters with my evertites and it works well enough, but the grip isn’t quite as solid as I’d like and it “droops” away from the clamp if I put too much pressure on it. I have a 14″ square set of stretcher bars on it right now and it works fine, but I don’t think it could handle anything much heavier, definitely not a slate frame.

      Eventually, I’m going to get a Necessaire or Just A Thought stand (when my teacher salary allows), but overall, I’m quite happy with the Gazelle.

  8. Well, now if I ever get around to teaching myself to use frames of some type, πŸ™‚ but since I have no stand to hold them I cannot teach myself to use them, it is a vicious cycle…… I do like to take my embroidery with me, but I could certainly keep a project home and two others in my grab and go box.

    It comes with a Phillips screwdriver. Great to hear, though I already have a full toolbox. My dad started buying my brother and I a garage toolbox and tools to put in them when we were ten. I wonder if Judy can chop off a buck or two if the person does not need the phillips.

    Will the stand hold large (quilt sized) hoops. I do not quilt, but the local fabric/craft stores all have large craft sized hoops that I could use for embroidery but have never even tested.

    Where is Judy and hubby located? Is there a way to pay for the stand and go pick it up with no shipping? I say that not even knowing how many thousands of miles away from me she lives.

    1. Yes, it can hold large quilt size hoops. They’re not really ideal for embroidery – almost impossible to keep good tension on them – but it’ll hold ’em. They would just lay on the bars.

  9. This sounds like a great stand. I want to get a good floor stand – it’s just not in my budget right now. Thanks for your review of this one. It looks great!

    I went ice skating for my first time today. Fun!

    Sarah πŸ™‚

  10. Will the stand hold a 24 in slate frame? I too have trestles but because of the feet a 24 inch slate frame makes the feet too close to get the chair in. I have some smaller slate frames as well that won’t work on my Lowery.

  11. Hi. This is timely, I have been looking longingly at stands. I am leaning towards the Necessaire mostly because I live in Scotland so shipping from America is quite an added cost. But I would prefer a stand that can come in from the side for various reasons, and I wondered if the Necessaire has that capability.

    Many thanks for this review!

  12. One more ‘pro’ from me. I like to work on several projects at once. There is NO changing of anything with Judy’s stand. Take one project off, put one project on. This is one reason why, even though I have other stands, I was so excited to see the JAT stand. I don’t actually have mine yet (coming tomorrow!!!), but I already know I will love it.

  13. Thank you Mary. I have been looking and researching and second guessing myself about a floor stand for months now. This looks perfect for what I want. I sure appreciate your honest reviews. It is like talking to a close friend and getting their advice on something. πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Mary,

    This stand is just what Ive been looking for. Thanks for doing a review on it.
    I straight away sent her an email asking a few questions about cost after conversion and cost of shipping over to Australia.

    She replied that shipping to Australia is more than the cost of the stand itself but will get back to me with an exact cost.

    I must say its very disappointed that I might not be able to get it due to shipping charges.

    There must be something we can do….. Besides getting hubby to build me one πŸ™‚

  15. Thanks for replying Mary. Because of all the work you’ve done explaining the various floor stands, I now have a much better idea of what is out there and how each is used, which means I’ll be able to choose my next one more intelligently. I’m thinking at this point that the JAT stand is looking pretty good. Going to take more time to study it, but right now I’ll likely do something after replenishing funds from Christmas shopping. Thank you for all that you do to keep us informed.

  16. The link to the PDF still doesn’t work . . . . I am very interested in see more about this stand. Can you send it to me? thanks

  17. I have enjoyed my new JAT stand for about a week now, with daily use. I loved it immediately. So simple and thoughtfully crafted. It’s in my little corner of the world in our living room and actually looks quite lovely. The color just happens to match our wood perfectly. But that’s not why I love it. It’s so easy to use and works just the way I want it to work. I’m able to easily use my Dazor Lamp on the side (it’s on a pedestal w/rollers). I can easily flip my frame (Evertite) over to anchor some floss or do whatever is needed, and can easily rotate my frame in whatever direction is desired without turning any knobs. This is my best ever floor stand and I will keep this one for life. Bravo to the designer and the manufacturer. I hope someone out there looking for a new stand gets to read this remark so that you know it’s a good stand made by good people.

  18. Dear Mary,
    I was impressed by the description of the stand and ordered one. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the tongue of the base of the stand was quite long, and that all the comfy chairs in my house are constructed with wooden bases such that the tongue cannot fit under them. I tried a work-around with the stand in front of the arm of the chair and both support bars on the side towards the chair, angled in, but I developed a crick in the side of my back, and my carpel tunnel syndrome, which I usually have pretty much under control, was aggravated by the position in which I had to use the stand. So, regretfully, I’ll have to pay a large amount of money to ship this back. So, if you plan to order this, investigate how the underneath of the chair you want to use it with is constructed, to be sure it can go under the chair.

    1. Dear Christine — I’m so sorry this stand won’t work for you. Have you considered buying a new chair, something just for you and your stand? I have no idea of your circumstances, but it’s just a thought. I’m so settled in to working with this stand that I can’t help but regret you won’t be able to use it. Nothing’s perfect. There isn’t any one stand 100% just right for everyone. Honest best wishes in finding the right combination of stand/chair just for you. Happy stitching.

    1. Kep, the pedestal, from the floor to the top, measures appr. 31″; however, there’s another piece that attaches to the pedestal, and that raises it more (add another 4″). But this attached piece is adjustable in terms of angle, and that would affect the height of your needlework. The width of the horizontal bar for your stitching is about 24″, and there are then two vertical bars, 20″, attach to the horizontal bars. This is where your needlework rests. These vertical bars are adjustable so that you can make the best choice (width) for the piece on which you are working. Does this address your concerns? I’ve been very happy with my stand.

  19. I purchased the Just A Thought lap stand and am very disappointed with it. It’s a sturdy frame but it’s too high for me. I purchased the CraftOptics lenses and can’t use them with this frame as I purchased the lens that focus further away, I can’t see anything close up with the lenses (within 8 inches). This stand puts the needlework within inches of my face. Also, my arms start aching from holding them so high to stitch, I’m used to frames and scrolls that are closer to my lap. When I change the angle to lower the scrolls, my hands hit the back of the stand when I sew and the fabric is more vertical vs. horizontal over my lap. I’m going to have my husband drill holes in the stand to see if I can lower the bars so the scrolls are closer to my lap and further from my field of view so that I can use the CraftOptics lenses. Also, the arms are short. I’m sewing a large pattern and the scroll frame doesn’t fit on the arms without having to raise it up onto the knobs/screws that attach the arms to the frame. I tried reversing them and screwing them in from the underneath side of the frame, but that didn’t work because there is no screw retainer on that side of the wood, there’s nothing for the screws to grab onto. The frame is very sturdy, so sturdy it falls over if I’m not sitting on it. I’m hoping once the new holes have been created, I can lower the arms about three inches and keep the angle that I’m most comfortable stitching with. Sitting on it is no problem, I’m wearing jeans and I can’t tell it’s under my legs. My complaints are that it’s too high for my preference and that I wish the knobs were underneath the bar, not on top of the arms. I think that drilling holes will give me more options for positioning the scrolls in a more comfortable position.

    1. I would like to edit to add that I have been able to place the arms under the horizontal bar, and attach them with the knobs from the bottom. There is approximately 5/8″ difference, but that doesn’t interfere with the frame being placed on the arms, just raises the top end of the frame a bit, but no biggie, frame is now laying smoother on the arms much better.

  20. Hello Mary,
    Trying to order the JAT needlework stand but having trouble with Judy Odells email as my emails are not getting to her.
    Can you help me with her email or where I can order the stand from.
    Many thanks, and love how you help anyone with embroidery.

    1. Hi, Kaye – The last couple times I’ve emailed her (this was a while ago), I didn’t hear back, so I don’t know what her situation is now. You might look her up on facebook – she used to have a facebook profile, so you might find her there.

  21. Need a stand I can sit on . Does this stand permit this.
    Also, what are dimensions for taking needlepoint
    and cost
    Sherry Fix


    1. The frame isn’t attached to the stand – it sits on the extended arms of the stand. Yes, it can hold needlepoint frames. But I don’t know if she is still making and selling these. I have heard she is not. I have not been about to contact her.

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