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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It Holds Embroidery Hoops, Too!


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Way back a gazillion and some odd years ago, I wrote a review of the Needlework System 4 stand and frame clamp.

I’m told that this review has sold a lot of Needlework System 4 stands, and I’m happy to hear that! It’s a great stand. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the Needlework System 4 stand is my favorite embroidery stand for average sized projects. I’ve been using mine for some 12 years on a regular basis, and I’m still using it. I’ve had to replace some of the washers and make some minor adjustments, but for a stand that gets a regular workout and isn’t really treated with kid gloves, it’s held up really well!

When people email me and ask if I still recommend it after all these years, I give a hearty yes.

Lately, many inquiries revolve around the fact that there’s no mention of “embroidery hoops” with this stand. Is it possible, so the inquiries go, to use an embroidery hoop with this stand?

Here’s my reply.

Needlework System 4 stand and embroidery hoops

I do it all the time!

Yes, you can easily use a hoop with the Needlework System 4 stand, but there are a few caveats.

First, you have to have the right components. To have a fully operational Needlework System 4 stand, you have to purchase two components: one is the stand itself – the part that extends from the floor upwards – and the other is the “head” component that attaches to the stand and holds the embroidery work. If you want to use the stand with hoops, then this latter piece must be the frame clamp.

Second, your hoops can’t be too small… and, in some regards, they can’t be too big, either.

Needlework System 4 stand and embroidery hoops

My frame clamp is holding a 6″ hoop that’s 5/16″ deep.

To fit it in the frame clamp, I just put it into the space between the two “plates” and tighten them. I make sure the hoop part is not pushed too far back – that there’s enough of the hoop for the clamp to grab onto. And I normally turn the hardware part of the hoop so that it is outside the clamp area. It will work with the hardware inside the clamp, but I can move the hoop around better in the clamp if the hardware isn’t part of the equation.

Now, if you’re using a bigger hoop – say, a 10″ or 12″ hoop – the clamp works, too, but I find that a 6″ or 8″ hoop works best for me.

The clamp will also work with small, 4″ hoops, but it doesn’t leave much space for embroidering! I’ve used it successfully with hoops that small, though.

A 5/8″ thick hoop is perfect in the clamp for me, but it will also hold thicker 7/8″ hoops and thinner hoops, too.

Fabric in the Hoop

Even if you have what seems like a lot fabric in the hoop, you can flip up the fabric over the part of the hoop that’s in the clamp, and fold it off to the side.

If you’re working on a huge project and the hoop is in the middle of the fabric, the clamp might not work as well for you – so just be aware of that. I’m working on a 36″ long x 14″ wide runner, and it works fine for this project, but if I were working in the center of, say, a 54″ table cloth, it would be more difficult to situate the fabric and hoop in the clamp, and the weight of the fabric could cause the hoop to tip.

So there you have it! You can definitely use the frame clamp on the Needlework System 4 stand to hold regular embroidery hoops, and, keeping a few of the tips above in mind, it works great!

Where to Find

If you’re looking for the Needlework System 4 stand, you can check out the manufacturer’s website here, where you’ll find a store locator. They are sold through many fine needlework shops in the US and Canada. If you have a local needlework shop that carries the stand, you should stop by and try it out, to see if it’s for you.

If you don’t have a local needlework shop that carries the stand, Needle in a Haystack online (located in California) carries it and its parts, as does Threadneedle Street in Issaquah, WA. I’ve ordered from both places and they’ve arrived quickly.


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(14) Comments

  1. I love my System 4 – I have a floor stand as well as 2 table stands. I also have the roller bar clamp. I use the table stands constantly for 8” hoops which works on most items. I also find it very easy to travel with any of these stands. I like doing embroidery sitting at my work table and this is a perfect frame holder.

    But I also find that one stand does not serve all needs. I use a Millenium stand for large works( 13” +) on stretcher bars or roller bars.( particularly samplers)

    I use a Lowry for belt frames and smaller stretcher bar frames when I am not working at a table.

    I use a floorstand hoop holder for working
    10” hoops or larger. I particularly like the hoop holder for working crewel work.

    For Goldwork I use a slate frame that I place on trestles.

    For small cross stitch projects I have a Daylight frame holder with light/magnifier and a clip to hold the chart.

    I admit there are frames in many rooms of my house. I find the light changes and is more suitable to one type of Needlework versus another. I cross stitch in my sunroom, embroider in my work room, needlepoint in the TV room and do crewel in my bedroom.

    I admit this is all after doing Needlework for 30+!years and collecting lots of “toys/tools”

  2. I love this embroidery stand, and have had mine for many years, too. Over time, I found a solution to the problem of the hoop (or frame) being too large to be held securely in the clamp. A piece of thin basswood plywood from a hobby shop can be inserted under the hoop on the bottom jaw of the clamp, and the hoop will have support extending beyond the clamp. The wood can be covered with a scrap of fabric, cut to size so it doesn’t get caught up in the underside of the stitch cloth, if the wood touching the fabric is a problem.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Thank you so much for this great article about the Needlework System 4. I am wondering if this stand would work with the Millennium frame from Needle Needs? I am guessing no.

    1. No. The clamp won’t hold the Millennium frame. I was able to clamp one end of the frame and rest the end on a table, but it’s too awkward to maintain that position. Better off with a stand that allows you to rest the millennium frame on the arms or to use trestles or a table to prop it on.

  4. Mary, I am just itching to stitch your pumpkin design! Hope it is available soon, as the “Fall is here” bug has bit me!

    1. We had drizzly and relatively “chilly” weather this past weekend here in Kansas, Jan – I don’t think it ever got out of the mid-70’s, a little breezy and wet. The first hint of fall? I like to think so, but considering August still has several days left on the calendar, I’m guessing it was just a tease, and we’re going to get walloped with some more hot & humid before all is said and done! Still, it never takes much for the “fall” bug to bite! I’m planning on having these out in September. Thanks for asking!

  5. I agree the System 4 products are the best on the market. When it comes to embroidery, however, your hoop and clamp method work but have you considered using Q snaps with the Q snap System 4 holder? Works well for embroidery and cross stitch or any type of needlework done on a fabric ground. Madonna’s carries System 4 in the shop and we ship globally. Happy stitching!

    1. I don’t much care for q-snaps for regular surface embroidery, as they don’t consistently hold fabric drum taut, especially when it comes to finer linens and cottons, etc. I much prefer a hoop!

  6. I have owned a Lowery floor stand and lap/table stand for over 10 years. LOVE it. This was long before there was a System 4. It has always been hard to find. Do not know what the cause for lack of marketing has been. It is a British company. Looks like Stitchers Paradise carries the line. All of these are pricey, but both are great products that will enhance you stitching time. Everything you said about the hoop applies to the Lowery. I have had no maintenance issues over the years. I do like the smaller base on the Lowery. Sturdy.
    Stitch On!

  7. I love my System 4. I have the frame clamp, and find it really very versatile. Thanks again for helping me figure out what to buy.

    Buying it was a bit of a wrench, given the price, but it does exactly what I want it to do. It’s very stable and strong, but not heavy. I’d bought a Daylight stand at first because it was fairly cheap, but it broke almost immediately, so I felt lucky I could return it.

    I sorta wish I’d gotten the travel version where it’s got a slightly different mechanism for adjusting the height, but I don’t have any major complaints. (It’s just that some times my clamp is in the right position and all I want to do is raise it. As it is, sometimes it takes a bit of fiddling to get it where I need it. Nothing major, and once it’s in the right spot it’s very stable and steady til I move it again.)

  8. This is not a question about the stand, that looks lovely and I might have to invest one day and add it to my closet full of needlework goodies, but I have been watching you stitch this piece and I am wondering how you transferred the design. It looks like a commercially pre-printed design, but I know it is an original but it doesn’t look like it was done with any of the methods you describe in your design transfer post.

    1. Hi, Kelly – In my studio, I have special equipment for transferring (printer, ink, press, tables, etc.), but it is not a feasible set-up for home use, due to size and cost. It’s the method I use for preparing my ready-to-stitch towel sets and for transferring designs for kits. For people stitching at home and transferring their own designs, you’ll eventually settle on a method that you like best, that works up quickly for you. For this type of embroidery, for example, I would probably trace the design using a pencil.

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