I pretty much always work my embroidery pieces with some kind of stand, so I thought you might like to know a bit more about them - I've reviewed a few of the ones that I've tried below. If you want to buy one, click on the image and it should take you to the retailer's website - I don't make any money that way, so these are genuine reviews!
Why do I need an Embroidery Stand?
You don't need an Embroidery Stand, but they do help you to retain good posture and that means that you can stitch for longer! I've been a dance teacher for many years, so I'm very keen on maintaining good posture while I stitch to reduce stress on my neck and shoulders, especially during long periods of stitching. I've included a link to one of my favourite neck and shoulder yoga videos at the bottom too!
Free and easy...
If you're new to embroidery and are just checking it out, or you are staying away from home, this is an easy way to work.
Prop the left end of your frame on the arm of the sofa, or a table perpendicular to your seat, and rest the right end in your lap (illustrated by the cushion in the photo!). This means that you're left hand is in position underneath, and your right hand is on top, ready for stitching! If you're left handed then pick the position that's most comfortable for you.
Lap Stand with Clamp or Hoop
I like this lap stand for small informal projects and settings. It works ok with small roller frames (12 x12 or less) and it's great for hoops. It's easy to put together and take apart, so it's great for travelling as it will fit into a bag with your project and you can use it pretty much anywhere you have a seat! It's great for workshops and train journeys, as well as sitting outside in the garden.
Opus Floor Stand
I like this stand for small/medium projects and it works well with roller frames, and other rectangular frames. It also works with hoops. It's my go to stand when I'm teaching as it folds down which makes it easy to transport, and my students can stand around it making it easy for them to see what I'm doing. Some of my students also bought this stand and found it useful for bringing to class. It's easy to flip the frame over to get to the back of the work, and it also works if you've put your project in the frame portrait style. It's a good height for sitting on the sofa with too...
Getting your work in and out of the clamp can be a bit faffy, but it's okay. We had a problem with it sinking down with the weight of the roller frame, and this was due to the manufacturer making the middle section in soft wood (the rest of the frame is hard wood) which meant that the stay bolts didn't stay properly. I don't know if this has been corrected or not, but we were able to get the softwood section replaced with hardwood. It also bounces slightly when you work, however despite these flaws, I do really like it!
Stitchmaster Floor Stand
I like this stand for smaller projects and it works well with roller frames, and other rectangular frames. It's less good with hoops, especially smaller ones. Once it's assembled it's easy to use - you just sit the frame on the stand and it rests of two pegs - no clamping required. It's a good height for sitting on the sofa with too...
I find the frame slips around a little bit, which is a problem sometimes, but it's equivalent to the bounce that you get with the opus! You can also buy lamps and magnifiers to go with it. They do a lap stand version which some of my students have tried, but they didn't get on too well with it.
Lowry Floor Stand
I have to confess that I don't own one of these and I've never used one, although I have seen one in use at a workshop! I've included it here as it is reputed to be the Creme de la Creme of Embroidery stands! It is expensive, but it is supposed to be well designed and easy to use. I think that it comes with optional attachments (lights etc).
Slate Frame and Trestles
If it's a big project that you're after doing, I recommend using a large slate frame. You'll need two trestles to support it and the Ikea Finnvard are ideal (and cheap!), I recommend getting them in Beech, not White. The white is some kind of paper composite material and the pegs on the slate frame dig into it easily.
The Finnvard also come with a shelf which is really handy for storing your threads, scissors and reference books.
That Yoga Video....
David Prosychen does really good, clear yoga videos for beginners, he's an experienced yoga teacher in real life, so you don't need to worry about whether he knows what he's doing or not. This is a great class for releasing your shoulders, arms and hands - so that you can do more embroidery of course!