The Ekman Quilter's Floor Stand™  and Sit-me-Down Hoop™

Addy Harkavy, <addy@TheExperimentalQuilter.com>

This is a product review with a history that begins in northern Maine, some six to seven hours north of Portland. Gerry Ekman is a quilter with some pretty specific needs. She wants to be able to quilt wherever she is so she can make the best possible use of what passes for spare time. Her husband, Larry, is a woodworker who owns a wood shop. Mr Ekman makes fine custom furniture and takes pride in his craftsmanship, putting in the time to make things right. He does this for a living, but one look at his work tells you it's more than just a living. Working with wood is his passion.

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Mr. Ekman in the shop

Fast forward, then, to Mrs. Eckman's wanting to be able to quilt when she and Mr.Ekman take to the road in their van. Keep in mind that getting "somewhere else" from northern Maine -- even somewhere else in northern Maine -- can be quite a trip. It takes the Ekmans about three and a half hours to get to Bangor, which is still quite a way from Portland (allowing for leg stretching and maybe a potty stop).

One fine day Mr. Ekman presented Mrs. Ekman with what is now known as the Ekman Sit-me-Down Hoop™. She knew exactly what to do with it. She used it in the van and was hooked. But she thought it was so good she used it in the living room, the dining room, at the boys' basketball practices, and anywhere else she wanted to sit and quilt. Pretty soon, some other quilters noticed Mrs. Ekman using the rig, and they wanted one, too.

So Mr. Ekman made a few more, and the other quilters were happy. And after a while, the Ekmans came down to the Portland area, and one of the hoops got into my hands. I liked it a lot. But I also like a floor stand, so I asked Mr Ekman if he could design and build a floor stand that would be light weight, highly adjustable, would swivel in all directions, would be portable, and that I would be proud to call my own. He made one pretty much to order, and, as they say, the rest is history.

The Ekman Quilter's Floor Stand™ exceeded my hopes and expectations. When I saw the prototype (and that wasn't even the final version!), I felt like Gollum in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (the creature who kept

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The Ekman Quilter's Sit-me-Down Hoop™
Hoop but not cat included with each unit

the gold ring in his pocket, calling it "Amy precious" and kept it with him at all times). Needless to say, I played with the floor stand, and I had a very good time, indeed.

The Ekman rigs are sanded absolutely smooth, ready for finishing with a Tung oil finish or gel stain. All edges are rounded. There isn't a sharp edge in evidence anywhere. The stands are made from solid ash; and the hoops are made from three plies of ash, bent in Mr. Ekman's own shop to his exacting standards. The hardware is functional and appropriate for its tasks. The hoops swivel on articulated arms, and both rigs are elegant in their simplicity. Had the Shakers designed hoops on stands, they might have done it Mr. Ekman's way.

Both the floor stand and the sit-me-down can be adjusted to fit any quilter's sitting height and position, not to mention propensity to wriggle. Though light in weight, both are very sturdy and very stable. Both are portable. The floor stand can be carried (the base serves as a handle; all edges are rounded for easy carrying!), hoop attached, by inverting the hoop over its swivel post and re-attaching. Amazing! And the hoop on stand weighs only ten pounds, complete with its hoop.

Both can be stored in a closet or under a bed. The hoop-on-stand can be stored in a

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The Ekman Quilter's Floor Stand™
Mrs. Ekman apologizes for the chair rail in background!

space as low as six inches (15 cm) high and measures only 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) when the hoop is inverted and reattached.

Every Ekman unit is numbered and is covered by a three-year end-to-end warranty.

How does the Ekman Quilter's Floor Stand compare with the Grace Hoop2?

Very favorably! Both are highly adjustable, stable, and swivel to any position. The Grace Hoop2 features a square hoop; the Ekman rig offers a round hoop. Both are portable, though the Ekman is much lighter in weight and requires less storage space. The Ekman hoop is ready to finish; the Grace Hoop2 requires fairly substantial sanding. Both offer excellent warranty service and should last a lifetime and then some.

Specifications:

The Ekman Quilter's Floor Stand™

Retail price $299

The Ekman Quilter's Sit-me-Down Hoop™

Retail price $199

The Ekmans can be reached at <ekmanhs@ainop.com>

Further information is also available through PineTree Quiltworks <pinetree@quiltworks.com> or visit their website at http://www.quiltworks.com

 


 

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