Friday, September 30, 2011

Embroidery hoop turned into lap stand

I started a new French Knot rug a few days ago, this one is twice the size of the one I made for the dining room and I was really struggling to try and hold a hoop and make nice consistent knots, you kind of need 3 hands for that, coupled with the fact that I only have a certain short focal distance where I can actually see what I am doing, I needed a solution, BIG TIME!!!!! And here it is, a hoop turned into a lap stand. A local shop sells something similar, but knowing that I had wood at home, I thought I would make one myself.

Here it is without the embroidery, I am going to tell you how I made mine, because I know quite a few of you are stitchers too and maybe this can help somebody else. I started of with a hoop that I had, mine is just a bit larger than 12" in diameter.

I used wood that I had lying around in the garage, so I am only going to give length measurements, I don't think thickness and width are that critical. I started with the two short pieces that is glued to the hoop, they are 3 1/4" long, I cut out a slot where the hoop needed to fit in and filed it a bit round on the edges for the hoop to fit around it, I more or less just eyeballed the two sides to be more or less straight across from one another and just glued them to the hoop, holding it with a clamp while the glue was busy drying.

Here is a front view of the hoop glued to the two side pieces where you can see the curve. Next measure the distance between your two pieces of wood and deduct the thickness of your wood twice from that measurement, mine worked out to 10 7/8". Cut a piece of wood to that length, this is your bottom cross bar that will be glued and screwed to your base. Cut your two uprights next, mine are 12" long, the maximum I could make it, as I wanted to be able to use my magnifying lamp with it. Now glue and screw the two uprights to the cross bar. Next I drilled a hole 3/4 inch from the bottom into the two short side pieces that connects the hoop for the bolt, I suppose it would be easier to first drill the holes before you glue it to the hoop. I drilled two holes on each top of the uprights, one 1" from the top edge and the next one 2" from the top edge. I cut a base 5 1/4" wide and 17 " long from 1/4" thick MDF, but you can make it any size that suits you, now glue and screw your base and cross bar together. I am going to glue a piece of felt to the bottom of the base to protect my clothes from the screws.

You are almost there, next bolt your hoop part to the uprights, I used wing nuts as they are easier to tighten, I put a washer in between the uprights and the hoop supports as well as on the outside, the bolts I am using has a square piece on the shank, as you screw it tight it sinks into the wood a bit and will help prevent everything going loose in a hurry as you swivel your hoop. Now for the very last step, insert some embroidery and enjoy stitching!!!!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Monster is actually a Gentle Giant and more tools..............

Although the Band Saw is big and scary looking I think it is going to be my favorite tool and it is the quietest of all my power tools, I love the fact that I can feed really hard wood through it slowly. I was able to cut wood less than than 1mm thick on it. As wonderful as the saw is, the wood still needs some sanding to get it really smooth. After buying the saw we had to come up with something that wouldn't cost a lot to make and after some internet searches we decided to use the lathe to make a drum sander. We just used what we had on hand, later we will make a longer drum, but this works great for now. The table consists of two pieces of wood that is hinged at the back and a screw in the front makes the thickness adjustment. This article describes the whole thing much better than what I can.

Here is the result of some sanding I did yesterday, I am very happy with how everything works and that I can now make my own sheets of wood. This is all local South African wood, the pieces on the left are Mopane wood and the one on the right is Candle wood. I see some furniture building in my near future :-)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I spent the last month in stitching a chair seat, the two finished ones I stitched more than a year ago, long before I started my blog. There will be six in total, they are destined for six dining room chairs that will be made somewhere in the next year or so. I get bored easily so I chose this chart with six different animals :-)

When I saw the rug chart with the birds I knew it would go perfectly with chair seats. I made sure that I used some of the same colors for the rug and the Queen Anne chair seats to tie them all into a coordinating color scheme.

I started a hexagon quilt after a lot of talk on the subject over at the Petitpointer group, I am making it with the traditional English Paper Piecing method, one hexagon measures 1cm (3/8") from flat side to flat side, I am basing mine on an antique quilt from the 1800's. If you think making a dollhouse quilt with such small hexagons is crazy have a look here, it is almost unbelievable BUT definitely stunning!!!!!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monster of a Band Saw

I added a monster of a saw to my workshop today. I am at the stage where I want to cut up hard woods into thin boards for miniature furniture and I mean HARD, I almost blew the motor of my little Proxxon table saw and realized that I need something much more powerful. I have made mistakes in the past with choosing tools, so I first did a lot of research on what tool professional woodworkers use to re-saw thick stock and they all use band saws, even for cutting wood into veneer and I figure the thicknesses we use in miniatures fall into the veneer category. has a wealth of information for serious woodworkers and I find I can use most of their info for miniatures too. I am really looking forward to experimenting with this saw, now I need to learn how to change blades and set it up for properly for use. And I promise I will be CAREFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!