Monday, January 30, 2012

Like your fabric tight?

I'm fanatical about tautness. Strange but true. I find the tighter my fabric is, the more even and neat my stitching is. If my fabric starts to get floppy I get grumpy.

So needless to say, I've never been a fan of scrolls. I can't stand how floppy the fabric is. I've tried several and never could get my fabric tight enough. I've also tried the little clips you can get to hold the sides taut and those never worked well enough either. Add to that once the project is on the scrolls, it's pretty much there until you finish it unless you don't mind spending ridiculous amounts of time getting it all situated and stretched! So you have to have lots and lots of them if you're a serial starter like me.

I never much liked hoops either. Yes, you can wrap them so they don't leave marks (as badly anyway), and yes they're light and easy to hold - but I use a stand so that doesn't really matter anyway. I just always found that even with a fairly large hoop, the stitching area was too small for my liking. Now I'm not talking about 20x30 stitching area or anything crazy like that, but I like to be able to stitch a couple pages before having to move it around all the time. Plus, I don't like taking my fabric out every night, I'm too lazy for that. Just never been my thing.

Once I discovered q-snaps, I thought I was set. Nice tight fabric (most of the time, until of course they stretch out and you need new ones). Adjustable in tension, at least the way I mount the fabric in mine. Mix and match sizes, from 6x6 up to 20x20. BUT, what do you do when you want to bead? It's all good as long as your project matches one of those sizes, but when you're doing a monster project that's 27x36, like Antique Lace, it doesn't work. Ask me how I know. I know some people say they cover the beads with fabric and put the snap over it. Tried that. Broken beads. Tried lots of things actually, but nothing I was particularly happy with. That was actually what drove me to search for something better. I hate leaving all the beading until the end, but when your frame isn't as big as your project, you pretty much have to. Scrolls are good for beading - but read my comments above. Of course I could bead in hand, but ick. I was ready to throw the project out the window doing it in hand. I really hate it. I ended up using every extender I had to make a q-snap frame that was 11x27, then I could just leave off the bottom clamp and let the fabric hang loose on the bottom while I beaded. That's all well and good but it was still a PITA. With the number of q-snaps I have, I technically could have made them 27x27, but my arms just aren't long enough to reach!!

So I started searching and asking around about other types of frames, and someone pointed me towards these:

This was last summer. After looking at the price and adding in the shipping, one frame was over $100. A little bit of sticker shock there. Just for the frame! No stand, no nothing. 4 pieces of wood (well six actually, there are small dowels that hold your fabric in place). So I wanted to research them before dropping the cash.

After hearing from a couple of close friends how great they were and how much they liked them, I was sold and got Jon to get me some for Christmas. Technically Boxing Day. After a bit of a mix up with shipping (see my last post) they finally arrived today. It was worth the wait and certainly worth every penny I spent on them, including the addtional $26 customs charge - which brought the grand total to just under $150. So yeah, a little bit of an OUCH, but I'm really glad I got them.

Set up takes about the same amount of time as q-snaps (because I fiddle a lot to get the fabric tight). On my first try (I've only tried once so far) it was about 3 minutes from being parts to actually being in my floor stand. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The nice thing is that unlike most scroll frames, you can swap your fabric out as often as you'd like, so if you're a serial starter like me, you don't need a set for each project. You might need different widths for larger/smaller projects, but that's about it. Changing projects is a breeze.

How's the tension? I have never in my life had my fabric THIS tight, even in q-snaps or hoops. It's awesome. Worth every penny. Now I'm saving my pennies to get some more widths!!


  1. Nicole, thank you for this post. Truly. I've invested in scroll rods only to have them sit on my floor in my sewing room, unused. Like you, I want my fabric taut when I stitch. Question. How long from payment to when you got your package? Did you have a long wait? Again, thank you for this post. Abbie

  2. Hi Abbie,

    They were actually pretty quick to ship. I ordered on Dec. 26 but of course they were closed for the holiday and processed my order on the 29th. It shipped on Jan 4th, and actually got here on the 10th. The mix up was that Needle Needs didn't send me a ship notice so I didn't know it was on the way, and then Fed Ex went to the wrong door (back door which is never used) so I didn't see the delivery slip. So it would have been two weeks.

    1. Thank you Nicole. Another question I had right after I sent my first one was are you able to use these on a floor frame. If so, how is that working for you? I really like these. Watched the video on them and LOVED that the tension was tight on the sides. I so don't like droopy sides like you can get with scroll rods. Abbie

  3. The sides are definitely not droopy!

    I'm using them on a Lowery Workstand with the corner clamp - though I've been told they work with the side clamp as well.

    I've got the base of mine under the foot of my sofa. If not for that, it might tip over. A friend is using the 36" width in these and she said she's put books on the base to keep it upright and it's okay like that. Another friend is using these with a K's creation metal floor stand and said that the clamp works okay to hold them, but she definitely needs something on the base to keep it from tipping.

    I'm not sure what other types of stands they work with, but they definitely fit in the clamp of both of these styles.

  4. Nicole... fun purchase.

    As an aside, based upon your comment that you have to throw out your Qsnaps once they get loose, just wanted you to know that if your snaps get loose all that you need to do is run them through the dishwasher and they shrink back to size. Also, there's another brand that they sell at HobbyLobby that have little ridges that are better at gripping the fabric and staying taut. So if you're ever back in need for something for a smaller project.....

    1. Dishwasher? I only have a sink. lol

      I have tried putting them in really hot water to soak and they did tighten up, but had one of them crack after doing that. Now I just buy the replacement clamps when mine start to get loose - they're not terribly expensive, about $3 a pair if I remember correctly. I'll still use them for small stuff and for traveling.