When I write my course descriptions, I usually include the size of the design. Most prospective students would then know which size hoop to bring. And it had not occurred to me that this is not necessarily the case when students are required to bring a traditional slate frame. As the number of 'please help me' emails soared the past couple of weeks, I thought it best to explain the process in a blog post. So here we go!
When people already own a slate frame, it usually is the 24-inch/61 cm variety (this refers to the length of the cotton webbing attached). Not only is this the size used at the Royal School of Needlework, it also makes for a perfect combination with a pair of trestles. The frame is wide enough so that you can place a normal chair between the trestles and under your frame. The trestles and frame form a nice working table. The 24-inch slate frame is also large enough for most embroidery projects. However, if you need to travel by air, this frame is too big for your suitcase. Airlines mostly charge exorbitantly to transport your odd-sized frame (even when rolled together). So, what do you do?
Buy a smaller slate frame especially for when you are travelling to courses and classes. Or when you do not want to invest in trestles. According to Jenny Adin-Christie, her slate frames up to the 15-inch variety can be used with a Lowery Workstand. I have been successfully using her 12-inch frame with Lowery Workstands in my travelling classroom (for instance at Glentleiten) and at home. Especially when you clamp the 'arms' (the part with the many holes) instead of the bars with the cotton webbing, the whole set-up becomes extremely stable.
But what when they happen to have trestles at your class? Not a problem. They then usually also have some spare pieces of wood which can be temporarily attached to your slate frame. You basically elongate the two bars with the cotton webbing so that it then fits perfectly on top of a pair of trestles.
Okay. That probably made sense. But now you still don't know how to go from the size of the design to the size of the slate frame required. It is basically the same as with a hoop. First question: size of the design. In the case of my class at the Alpine Experience in June, the design will be c. 30 x 13 cm. Next question: what are you planning to do with the finished piece? Do you want to frame it in a particular way which needs more or maybe less extra fabric around the edges. Add this to the size of the design. This is going to be the minimum size of the fabric that you are going to need to attach to your slate frame. In the case of the design for the Alpine Experience, you would probably not go any smaller than a 15-inch slate frame.
I hope you found this explanation useful!
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