Choosing the right size tapestry frame

January 9th 2017

Ah, tapestry frames. The ‘Marmite’ topic of the stitching world! If you love them then you will already appreciate the benefits of using one, but if not…well, that’s fine too. Each to their own!

We at Jolly Red are definitely in the ‘love’ camp. Today we have some tips to help you if you’re about to buy your first tapestry frame (for yourself or as a gift for a stitching friend or relative) and don’t know how to go about choosing the correct size for your canvas.

We hope you’ll also find it useful if you’ve never used a frame before and are toying with the idea of giving one a go. Perhaps your stitching tension is a bit uneven, or your canvases come out a bit wonky?

The frames that we stock are clip frames, made in the UK. No sewing is needed to keep your canvas attached to the frame. In the photograph below you can see how the clips hold the top and bottom of the tapestry canvas in place, and the canvas can be rolled up or down if necessary by loosening the side bars with the nuts and bolts.

Elephant starter kit canvas is on a 12″ clip frame, CF129. The internal width of the frame is 12″. The printed area of the Elephant canvas is only 4″ x 4″ but as there’s a lot of canvas around the design (3″ all round), a 12″ frame is a good choice.


Next, we have Pop Art Puppies (design approx. 7.5″ x 7.5″) on one of our smaller 18″ frames, a CF189:


Dinosaurs are enjoying roaming the few inches of extra space that our larger 18″ frame, CF1812, gives them. The Dinosaur Sampler is 8″ wide x 10″ high.


If you will be stitching designs that aren’t quite as wide as 16″ x 16″, a 21″ frame could be a good idea. Peacock Star (approx. 14″ x 14″) is here on a CF219 frame, the smaller of our two 21″ frames.


If you want to buy a frame that should cover you for most projects that you are likely to stitch (unless you are going to choose very wide designs), then go for a 24″ frame.

As you can see by E for Elephant below, you can put a small design can go onto a large frame. E for Elephant is on a CF249 frame. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you need to switch between projects – maybe to stitch for a wedding, or a new baby’s arrival.


Finally, the largest frame we stock, a CF2412 24″ frame. On this frame you can see a bit more top to bottom of the design as you stitch compared with a CF249 frame.

CF2412 is shown here with an Arts and Crafts Tiles canvas.


A few tips for using a tapestry frame

*Rest one side of the frame on the arm of your chair or sofa, or rest the front of the frame on a table as you stitch. This gives you the flexibility to use both hands while you work, with one hand pushing the needle up from under the canvas, and the other pulling the needle and thread through to form the stitch.

*Slacken off your canvas if you’ll be leaving it on the frame for a while before going back to it.

*If you’d like to take your tapestry with you so that you can stitch on holiday, unscrew the nuts and bolts, take out the side bars, and roll up your frame – remembering to pack the side bars (and your wool)!







You said it!
Kind words from happy customers

Philippa, Stroud

"Thank you so much for helping me select the backing colours...I am very pleased that you suggested this combination. I think it brings out the colours in the tapestry in the best possible way to make the cushion look terrific." - Philippa, Stroud

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