This edition of How To… is a little bit different. The question comes from my recent workshop with Leeds Libraries and Leeds Playhouse. I was asked the question a few times during the day I thought it would be a great topic to cover.
“Do I need to use an embroidery hoop?”
Like most of the of the questions I get asked, there’s no right or wrong answer but I will share my preferences and experience with you.
Using a Hoop…
Embroidery hoops are used to keep tension in your fabric while you work. The aim of the hoop is to avoid puckering the fabric which can make your work uneven. Remember to take your work out the hoop when you have finished stitching for the day. Leaving you fabric in the hoop can make marks on the fabric which won’t come out. You can also get a line of oils/dirt from your hands so make sure your hands are clean before you start stitching.
My preference is to use an embroidery for my work because I spend hours embroidering. I also invested in an Elbesee table clamp which is like a holiday for your shoulders. The clamp attaches to the edge of my desk and means you have both hands free to work. You can get a clamp that comes with a 10 inch hoop or a universal holder for your existing hoops.
I also have a seat frame that I use in the car and sitting on the sofa. Like the table clamp, you can get special hoops for the seat frame or a universal holder for your existing hoops.
I wrote a post called Tools of the Trade about using different types of embroidery hoops which you can read here.
Not Using a Hoop..
There are times when I don’t use a embroidery hoop, this is when I’m working on a thick fabric like denim for visible mending or a small piece of aida for cross stitch. If the fabric is stable enough to be held in my hands or too awkward to get in the hoop I choose not to use one. I’ve also stitched into paper which didn’t require a hoop.
Remember, what works for me might not be right for you. I recommend practicing your embroidery with and without a hoop to see what works best for you.