Here at Jolly Red, we are big fans of tapestry frames. For those of you who have never used a frame before and are thinking about trying one, we all got together in the workshop and jotted down some of the reasons that they appeal to us:

1. Getting into good habits George only recently started using a tapestry for the first time last year to stitch a tapestry she’d inherited. The canvas was quite soft so she put it on a frame to hold it firmly so she could see which bit she’d be stitching next. She sums up our feelings when she says that for her “it just feels right.”

1. Keeping in shape Because your canvas is held in place, a frame reduces the likelihood of your work going out of shape while you stitch and on a similar theme, a frame keeps your work under tension, which in turn helps to keep your stitching even.

3. Being organised A frame is easy to pick up and put down, and helps you to stay organised. The next time you settle down to resume stitching there’s no faffing about, or trying to ‘find where you were.’ It’s all there, in front of you – and you’re all set to carry on!

4. No tangles! Using a frame avoids a scrunched up canvas, with stitches going off in all directions. Scrunched up canvases are a heck of a job to stretch back into shape once the stitching is complete, as they are literally pulling in all directions.

5. You can use both hands to stitch. If you use a tapestry frame you can rest the edge of the frame on the arm of a chair or sofa and work with one hand pushing your needle through from the back of canvas, and the hand on top pulling through to create the stitch, before pushing through to the back again.

6. No more lost needles under the sofa! You can minimise the chance of losing needles by using needle magnets, attached to the side of your canvas.

7. Stitching for a deadline If you’re stitching for a special occasion such as a wedding or anniversary and have a deadline coming up prop your frame somewhere that you’ll see it the next day as a gentle reminder to pick it up again. In front of the TV is a good place if you stitch in the evenings! Even a regular twenty minutes or half an hour of stitching will make a difference and help you to stay on target with your stitching.

8. A shield of protection from cringey moments We’re surprised that this benefit isn’t discussed more widely. If you stitch in front of the TV in the evenings, lift up your frame to shield your eyes from the awful moments on TV that you just can’t bear to watch. We’re thinking Bush Tucker Trials, that sort of thing.

9. Health benefits! Once you’re settled with your frame, you are far less likely – in our experience – to nip to the fridge or over to the crisps cupboard for those sneaky and very tempting evening snacks. Best of all, you’re being productive and using your time wisely to create an heirloom of the future. Win, win!

Staying awake On the same subject, you’re less likely to nod off in front of the TV if you stitch in the evenings, so you’ll have no wasted evenings slumped on the sofa, which shouldl in turn lead to a better night’s sleep.

10. Portability If you have your tapestry on a frame you are free to stitch in the house, in the garden, and while out and about visiting friends or relatives. Your trusty frame’s there, ready and waiting for you to add your next stitches. Just pick it up with your wool, and you’re off!

Travelling with your tapestry? If you enjoy stitching on holiday, take out the side bars of your frame and keep the clips in place then roll it up and put it in your suitcase – don’t forget to pack the side bars…or the screws…or your wool!


So… how do I know what size of frame to buy?

Choosing a tapestry frame by mail order can be a tricky business. Ideally one would nip out to one’s local needlework retailer and select the right one, but sometimes that just isn’t possible and buying online is the only thing to do.

There are lots of different frames on the market in all different shapes and sizes. The ones we stock on our website are British made ‘no sew’ clip frames. They’re easy to use and assemble, and amazing value. The top and bottom edges of your canvas slot into grooves in the horizontal roller bars which are then held in position with sturdy clips which fit around the rollers. The roller bars slot into side bars with screws and washers and once your frame is assembled you are ready to stitch. The whole process takes 5 – 10 minutes.

We have another blog post about choosing a tapestry frame, which is useful if you have a canvas or kit already and need help to choose the right size of tapestry frame.

You can choose a tapestry clip frame in 12″, 18″, 21” and 24″ widths.  As the name suggests no sewing is required, you just clip your tapestry on to the frame and hey presto you’re ready to start. The 18″, 21” and 24″ frames come in two different heights.

We help this helps and answers any questions you may have had about frames. Happy stitching, and let us know how you get on if you’re using a frame for the first time!


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