If you are like my reader Kathy or me, then you find using stretcher bars challenging. I always seem to find myself wrestling with the canvas to get to attached securely to the frame, tightening it constantly, and then, as if that wasn’t enough, catching bits of the already stitched parts in the newly stitched parts so I can’t get it off the frame. It’s enough to make a person give up.
But scroll frames can be used effectively for needlepoint. I sent Kathy many of my tips for using them and she agreed to share the with you. She wrote to me about her problems with getting the canvas on the bars and keeping it tense.
First off what kind of thread did you use to lace the sides? You need to use a thread without much “give” in it. Buttonhole thread or a linen is best. I think pearl cotton should also work. Linen and cotton don’t stretch much. You can adjust the tension here by relacing the needlepoint (that’s one of the things I hate to do).
It sounds as if your canvas is about the size of the stretcher bar area. That makes things harder to roll because you need enough fabric on the ends to roll around the bar. Without it, the tension is too loose. In general, needlepoint canvas, is cut with 2 inch margins which isn’t enough for stretcher bars. What fixes this is making the canvas bigger. Since you can’t do that, you need to sew 4-6 inches of fabric to either end. This attaches to the scroll bars and you roll that up, giving things a good start. Then the fabric is rolled on the bars and most, or even all, of the canvas is exposed.
Finally, the loosening thing. If your scroll frame doesn’t have knobs on the ends, many do, buy a wing nut tightener at the hardware store. Mine is plastic and has a slot on one sided. The wingnut fits in the slot and you can actually grip it to loosen or tighten. It makes a HUGE differences. If you can’t find one, you should be able to do the same thing with pliers.
These tips should help you with the tension problem. These days I only use stretcher bars for belts, and just thank your lucky stars you haven’t sewn new needlepoint to the done stuff on the rods.