stretchers vs hoops in counted cross stitch
I'm starting a large project and have never used stretchers. The person who designed the pattern suggested using them. How does it work? I know you'd need a pair for the width, but what about the length. Do you use shorter ones to be able to get to the work and roll it as you go?

Also, is it necessary to use either a hoop or a stretcher? I've done hand quilting in my lap and it worked out very well. I really need some input here.

Thanks, Jane T.
Posted by: Jane T. on 02/16/17
Hi Jane,

It really comes down to personal preference, unless a frame of some kind is needed, like for canvas work or silk gauze.

You seem to be talking about two different things- stretcher frame and scroll frame.

A stretcher frame consists of two pairs of bars -length +width that fit together and are rigid. The fabric gets tacked on to the frame and you do not adjust the size. So your stretcher frame has to be a few inches larger than your project so that you can stitch into the sides and corners.

A scroll frame is somewhat adjustable. You buy rods the length of your fabric - design size plus some allowance for framing and side bars which determine how much of the project you can actually work at a time. The fabric is attached at the top and bottom and you roll it as you complete a section.

A lot of stitchers also work 'in hand' with no frame or hoop and are quite happy with the results.

Does that help?

by: MissKitty on 02/16/17
I have a friend who only stitches on all frame. One advantage is that the rolled up part stays clean and protected. Unless, of course, you spill tea on it. I'm always paranoid I will spill tea on my stitching!
by: Simon Purple on 02/17/17
Yes, it helps a great deal, thanks. I think I'll start out without either and see how it goes. This one is @15x16 so getting to the center stitches would be awkward - at least for me with arthritis in right hand. If I should need to use something it sounds like the scroll bars would work best. Haven't done cross stitch in awhile so am eager to get going.

The center of the piece (Castle Sampler) is quite dense so I plan to hand stitch a grid to stay on track. Any help or suggestions here?

Also, this is on 25 count Lugana - what size needle would work best. I'm thinking fairly thin but am not sure of the size. Large eyes would be nice.

Thanks again, Jane T.
by: Jane T. on 02/17/17
I don't use frames or hoops for anything smaller than 5"...I should say UNLESS there is a lot of beading.

I think MissKitty meant to say that you buy scroll bars for the WIDTH of your project...I add 3" to each side (total of 6 inches--for the framer) and 3 1/2" (total of 7") to the top and bottom (for the framer, additional 1" for the 1/2" Velcro tape used with my American Dream scroll frames. I use the 8" stretcher bars (the vertical bars that determine the length you are working on at a given time....

I think your choice has a lot do with how you work a project...I start in the middle, even the "cover-all's".
That starting in the corner thing just doesn't feel right to me--but I'm an old, set-in-my-ways dog. Do what feels and looks right to YOU! :) In the end, you are what makes or breaks a project!

Just do whatever you need to do to enjoy what you're doing...the only time I pre-washed floss (because it was over dyes) I swore I would NEVER order them again! So tedious! But, of course, I ate that "never". :)
by: VCESS on 02/17/17
I prefer scroll frames, mainly due to the fact I'm handicapped from a right brain stroke that effected the use of my left arm. Once you get use to them they work very well for keeping fabric tension. Not to mention accessability for large cover all projects.
by: dave001 on 02/17/17