Securing Your Pattern While Stitching

What do you do with your cross-stitch or needlework pattern while stitching? How to you secure it or keep it close so you can refer to it when needed? Someone asked this on a cross-stitch forum recently, and I had never really thought about it from a beginner’s perspective. Is there some secret to keeping the pattern close by while stitching? Well, no.

The many methods stitchers use to secure their patterns are as unique as the stitchers themselves. Here are just a few possibilities:


The humble clipboard is a great way to secure a pattern while stitching. The hard back makes it easier to prop the pattern up against the edge of a table or sofa or balanced on the arm of an upholstered chair. A clipboard is also inexpensive and can be purchased just about anywhere office supplies are sold.

Magnetic board

A magentic board is a little fancier than a clipboard. You place your pattern on the flat, metal board and secure it in place with several magnets that can be adjusted as needed. I use a magnetic board like this LoRan model. I think mine came with a stand, but you can also purchase the stand separately. I love the stand because it allows me to prop up the pattern on a table very easily, but it also collapses so it doesn’t take up a lot of space when I don’t need it.

I also discovered this “prop-it” magnetic needlework pattern holder which looks pretty interesting.

Light stand with clip

If you want to get really fancy, you could try a craft lamp that comes with a built-in clip for holding charts. Here is just one version of a lamp with a clip like this. I know stitchers who use lamps like this and love them, but I don’t have one. I would be afraid the chart would knock the lamp off balance or that the clip wouldn’t be strong enough to hold a pattern securely, but I could be completely wrong.

Frame with clip

If you use a frame to hold your needlework fabric while stitching, there are clips that can be attached to frames. This little “graph gripper” pattern holder might work for very small patterns, but I don’t think it would support a full-size sheet of paper.

I also found this StitchSmart Stand which includes an LED-lighted magnifier and a chart holder. Your frame attaches to the stand. If I used a frame to stitch, this stand would be tempting.

Knee/lap/table/arm of chair

Finally, the simplest method — which is also completely free — is to simply prop up your chart against whatever is handy. Balance it on your knee or lap. Balance it on the arm of a sofa or chair. Lay it on a table. Although I love my magnetic board and stand when I’m stitching at my desk in my home office, when I stitch anywhere away from my desk, I just prop up the chart as best as I can, wherever I can. It’s all good.

Do you have a favorite method or favorite stand or clip not mentioned here? Please share in the comments!

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4 Responses to Securing Your Pattern While Stitching

  1. My original magnetic board got bent and I was going to buy a new one as I was sure I would be lost without it, but until I had time, I made do with a flat baking tray turned upside down and put pattern and magnets on that. That was 10 or more years back and I’m still using the baking tray lol.

  2. I use a scrolling type frame and fold my chart in half then paper clip it to the edge of the fabric. Depending on the area I’m working on I can switch the chart to the left, right, up or down. It works a treat :-)

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