I mentioned last week that I’m moving Needle ‘n Thread into a new space. I can officially call it a “studio,” I suppose, because that’s where I’ll work, design, stitch, mail things from, and (tentatively) offer some small classes and the like.
I’m very excited about it! Once I get things situated, I’ll take you on a little tour of the apartment (flat) that’s half of a duplex that I’ve rented. I’ll tell you the whole story of why I ended up going with a residential space despite my deepest dreams and desires of setting up shop in our pretty historical downtown district, discuss the obstacles, the pros and cons of the set-up, and give you some before and after photos of the simplest and affordable cosmetic changes I’m making to the space. Perhaps if you’re considering expanding a space – maybe you have a small home needlework business, too? – it might give you some ideas.
But, first things first!
While I haven’t started transporting the daily essentials to the place (I start that today), I did take advantage of all the empty space to assemble my trestles. Yes, I will Finally have a Dedicated Trestle Space! I want to show them to you and give you some information on where you can find them in the States.
The advantage of a slate frame with any embroidery project – but especially a long-term embroidery project – is that you can achieve drum-taut tension with it, and adjust it as need be while your project is underway. I use slate frames (or similar off-shoots) for ecclesiastical embroidery projects that will be on the frame for a while.
Here’s a photo of the trestles I’m setting up, already set up for use at the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design:
The trestles are made by K & A Embroidery Supplies. They supply the trestles for the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design, and for those who have found trestles through Lucy Barter (who teaches there), you will recognize these as the trestles that her husband makes. They’ve gone into full production as a small business, and you can find their website (just gone live!) here.
With the way the trestles above are situated, you would sit in the chair, put your larger frame in front of you on the right and left bars of the trestles, and then stitch away!
The large embroidery frame would be unattached to the trestles, and if you need to access the back, you just flip the frame. If you need to leave you workstation, you move the frame out of the way. Simple!
The K&A trestles are made from solid oak. They don’t have a finish on them, but are sanded smooth. All the parts fit together perfectly, and, thanks to the simplicity of the whole trestle concept, they’re very easy to assemble.
I timed the assembly process, in fact. It took me just under 18 minutes to assemble the set, from opening the box and unwrapping the pieces from all the bubble wrap to the finished trestles. They’re pretty intuitive when it comes to putting them together, but there is a nice little instructional flyer enclosed with the parts, in case you need it. The whole process involves using an Allen wrench or hex key (included) to screw in 12 bolts.
The little chain you see attached to each leg of the trestle holds a cotter pin, which is used to hold the top bar into position. I like the fact that it’s attached with a chain to the set – you can’t lose it! And I like the fact that it’s a simple cotter pin and not a custom made wood peg of some sort, because …well, if you did lose it somehow, cotter pins are easy to replace.
The disadvantage of trestles is that, when they are set up, they require a large footprint, so if you have limited space, that’s definitely a consideration.
They also can’t be used while you’re sitting in a sofa, easy chair, or recliner. They require a task chair or stool, or a kitchen chair or the like.
But the advantages? Well, these will last you a life time. They’re easy to set up. They can easily be moved relatively flat against a wall and out of the way. They are the ideal solution for large frames. They’re nice looking, very sturdy, and they work great on carpet or hard floors.
The Nitty Gritty – Where to Find Them and for How Much
Update, 2023: The company that was making these is no longer making them.