A bad workman blames his tools…

… but a good needlewoman praises hers – credit where credit is due! Mind you, having seen some of the gorgeous work that 17th and 18th-century embroiderers produced with never a daylight lamp, bead nabber or magnetic chart holder in sight I suppose a really good needlewoman will produce beautiful results whatever her tools are like, but I certainly find that some tools make my stitching life a lot easier and more comfortable.

Those of you who keep an occasional eye on my page of Planned projects may have noticed that Fruit of the Spirit has disappeared from there, but has not yet appeared anywhere else on the site. This is because it was originally meant to come out in May, and I did in fact start working on it then. However, it is now past the middle of June and it is not yet finished. And why? Because of a scroll frame.

Well, that’s not really fair on the scroll frame, which is a perfectly good one. It’s just rather bigger than anything I usually work with. At 12" it may seem small enough to some of you, but it simply doesn’t work for me; I find it cumbersome and heavy and uncomfortable, and consequently I only really worked on Fruit at my weekly stitching group (where I can lean the frame against the table) or during rare daytime stitching moments at the weekend when I seat myself at the dining room table. But in the evening in my usual comfy arm chair? No.

Perhaps a workstand might make a difference? I looked into what was available and of course also asked my fellow members at the Cross Stitch Forum. Many of them were full of enthusiasm for their Lowery workstands, and it did have one great advantage over most of the other stands I had seen: it grips the frame by the side bar rather than by the top scroll bar. With a top grip I’d always worry about damaging the fabric. Some of the other stands did have accessories to get round that, but why add an extra complication? I also like the fact that it looks very simple and relatively unobtrusive, and that it stands by your side rather than in front of you.

But would it really make a difference? And would I be able to work with the frame floating, as it were, in front of me? My husband agreed to act as stand-in stand, holding my frame the way the workstand would, and I found that apart from a slight wobble which I attributed to the fact that my husband comes with hands rather than metal clamps it really seemed the ideal solution. So I decided to take the plunge and order it – only to be asked whether I would like it for an anniversary present! I’m sure you can guess my answer …

And so I am now the proud owner of a Lowery workstand, and I love it. It is stable, easily adjustable, simple to swing out of the way when I need to get up, and the frame just sits there in front of me without my having to support it in any way – brilliant! I also made as much progress on Fruit of the Spirit in one evening as I had in the previous two weeks, so expect it in Mabel’s shop very soon.

Lowery stand