Hope this finds you well? This week I want to chat to you about stretcher frames versus hoops.
While stitching the projects for the new book I have become increasingly frustrated with trying to remove hoop marks. It is fine if one is using DMC stranded cotton and the piece of embroidery can be washed, but in some pieces I have used silk threads which cannot be washed. Despite binding the inner and outer hoop and using a hoop cover to keep it clean there is always a faint line left by the hoop which I cant seem to remove and it just spoils the overall appearance of the stitching.
Many years ago I would often use stretcher frames but found the use of thumb tacks not only tedious but very sore on my fingers, so reverted to using hoops only. I knew stretcher frames to be the answer to preventing those pesky hoop marks so racked my brains to think of an easier way to use them and it came to me! In the middle of the night, as is so often the case, I got this brilliant idea to use two sided tape. I have tried it out a few times and it works – so much easier then hammering in thumb tacks, far kinder to your fingers, less noisy and much quicker to assemble. If like me you are fed up with hoop marks and want to try stretcher frames, here is my method below:
You will need
- Siesta bar frames – these are as light as a feather and come in different lengths. They can be purchased here from Siesta or from any good online needlework store. You will need to google them and find a store nearest you. They are made in the UK so you might find it difficult to source in the USA but you can always order online and they will ship to you. I suggest you purchase a pair of 8, 9 & 10 inch frames these will do for most projects.
- If you cannot source Siesta bar frames you can try using an artist’s stretcher frame from an art shop- the kind that you buy with canvas on – you will need to remove the canvas. They are slightly heavier so make sure it is as slim and lightweight as possible.
- Two sided tape – the acid free kind is good but any narrow tape with a medium – strong adhesive, about 2cm (0.7 inches) wide will do.
- Thumb tacks – you will need a couple of these to fasten the corners.
- Assemble the frame by interlocking the bars.
2. One one side of the frame only apply pieces of two sided tape to each bar as shown. You can tuck the excess onto the inside of the bar.
3. Remove the tape to reveal the adhesive.
4. Place the non sticky side of the frame onto the back of your fabric. Make sure that your design is centered in the frame.
5. Pull one side of the fabric on to the bar and stick down on to the tape. Repeat on the other side. Make sure you stretch the fabric as far as it will go so it is drum tight.
6. Now pull the fabric on the other two sides of the frame and stick in place. Check to see that there are no weak areas – the fabric should be pulled taut. If necessary you can remove the fabric from the tape and adjust to make it tighter.
7. Fold the corners in and apply a thumb tack to hold the fabric on each corner where there is no tape.
8. Turn your frame over – your fabric is beautifully stretched over the frame and ready to stitch. Make sure you keep it clean in a cotton project bag whilst stitching.
9. To remove after stitching, just peel the fabric off the two sided tape. If the tape is intact you can use it for another project, if not peel off the tape and re-apply new pieces for the next project.
And there it is, we learn something new every day isn’t it wonderful!
Till next time, wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.