Embroidery hoops are familiar toanyone who does cross stitch or hand embroidery, but there is a lot toknow about these ubiquitous tools. In this post you will learn all about embroidery hoops, including the different kinds of hoops, how to pick the right one, and how (and when) to use them.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about embroidery hoops. Looking to add some hoops to your toolkit? See our full selection in the Stitched Modern shop.
DoI need to use an embroidery hoop?
The decision to use an embroidery hoop (or not) depends on a number of factors, including the type of stitching you are doing, the fabric you are using, and your level of experience.
When you are doing hand embroidery, having your fabric held taut in an embroidery hoop can be particularly beneficial. Tension helps you make neater stitches. It can also prevent puckering in the spaces between stitches.
Some forms of hand embroidery, like sashiko, does not require a hoop.
For cross stitch, using a hoop isnot as essential, although like with hand embroidery, it can help you make more even stitches.If you are new to cross stitch, using a hoopcan help you handle the fabric, see the holes more clearly, and keep your stitch tension more consistent.
Fabric choice also makes a difference. I tend to use a hoop more when cross stitching on linen than when working with Aida because having the fabric taut helps me better see linen's finer weave. A hoop can also be particularly useful when cross stitching on dark fabric or when using specialty threads.
When it comes down to it, the choice to use an embroidery hoop or not is up to you. Some stitchers always use hoops, others rarely do. It depends on what feels comfortable to you.
Types of embroidery hoops
There are several differentkindsof embroidery hoops. They all hold fabric essentially the same way - that is, sandwiched between an innerring and an outer ring. The main difference between the types is how tension is created on the fabric.
This is the most common kind of embroidery hoop. A screw on the outer ring lets you increase and decrease tension on the hoop. Screw tension hoops come in a range of materials, sizes, and shapes and are widely available.
With these hoops,tension is created by a metal inner ring that slots into a grove in the plastic outer ring. Often used for machine embroidery, spring tension hoops can also be used for hand embroidery and cross stitch. They keep fabric nice and tight, but the handles are bulky and can get in the way.
Flexi hoops have the look of real wood, but they are made from a flexible vinyl that fits tightly over an inner plastic ring. They hold the fabric super tight, but they can be hard to use. I like them best for framing a finished piecerather than using them while stitching.
These aren't technically hoops, but Q-snaps are a very popular option for cross stitchers. They're lightweight, comfortable to hold, and come in lots of sizes.
Plastic vs. wood
Plastic is inexpensive and can be a good choice for beginners. Some plastic hoops have moulded edges that help keep fabric extra tight. Be sure toseek out high quality plastic hoops. If the material is not sufficiently sturdy, plastic hoops can warp and bend.
Like plastic hoops, wood hoops come in a variety of sizes. They also come in a range of widths, from narrow to thick, so you can choose what feels right in your hand. The different widths also accommodate different weights of fabric: thinner hoops for thinner fabric, and thicker hoops for thicker fabric.
When purchasing a wood hoop, look for one with smooth, round edges that don't splinter and snag. Also look for quality brass fittings. Our favorites are these beechwood hoops made by Hardwicke Manor. They're smooth, solid, and lovely to hold.
Beware of the inexpensivewood hoops you find at most big box craft stores. They typicallyhave rough edgesthatsplinter. Theyalso gap and warp, and don't hold the fabric well. Save yourself the aggravation and avoid these.
Embroidery hoops are most commonly round, but you can also find oval and square shapes. Round hoops are available in a large range of sizes, while oval and square sizes are more limited. You don't necessarily need asquare hoopwhen you are stitching a square design, but it can help if you want to fit the entire design within the hoop.
How big should my hoop be?
Hoops are available in a range of sizes from as small as 3 inches in diameter to as large as 12 inches or more. (Hoops designed for quilting can be even larger.) Smaller hoops are generally easier to hold while you stitch than larger ones. I tend to most often reach for hoops that are between 5 and 8 inches.
Ideally, choose a hoop that is about 1-inch larger than the design you are stitching. Holding a hoop that is larger than 8 inches can be unwieldy, so for larger pieces, it's okay to recenter the fabric in the hoop as needed, just be sure to always take the fabric out of the hoop when you are not stitching.
Another option for larger pieces is to use aQ-snap frame.
How to use an embroidery hoop
Whatever style of hoop youchoose, the process of putting your fabric in it is essentially the same. For this example we will use a screw tension hoop.
1. First loosen the screw and separate the inner and outer hoops. Place the inner ring (the one without the screw) flat on your work surface. Drape your fabric over the inner ring with the right side up.
2. Slide the outer ring over the fabric and inner ring. You may need to loosen the screw even further to get it to fit over. Don't be tempted to pick up the inner hoop as you put the outer hoop on. Keeping it on a flat surface will help you line up the inner and outer hoop so they're even. You can press the outer hoop down with your hands and not worry about itslidingoff the other side.
3. Tighten the screw part way. Make it tight enough that the outer hoop will not slip off when you pick it up, but not fully tight.
4. Carefully pull the edges of your fabric to tighten it. Work your way around the hoop pulling evenly on all sides.Be firm about this, but don't pull so hard that you warp the fabric. This will help even out the fabric and remove any bumps and folds.
5. Once your fabric is taut, tighten the screw the rest of the way.
Tips for getting good tension
When you're using an embroidery hoop, the saying goes your fabric should be as "tight as a drum." Meaning, when you tap on it, it should be firm without any give.
The first step to getting good tension is to pull evenly and firmly all around your fabric toget it tightin the hoop. I like working around the hoop in a circle. Another option is to pull on one side and then the opposite side (the left and then the right, for example). Your goal is to even the fabric out and get it tight, but not to warp or distort it.
Once your fabric is taut. you need to tighten the hoop screw to makes surethe fabric doesn't slip. Finger tightening is usually enough, but if you find your hoop is hard to tighten, a small screwdriver can help. You can also use foam grips that fit over the head of the screw to help tighten it.
Another step to take to keep your fabric nice and tight, especially when using a wood hoop, is to wrap the inner hoop with cotton twill tape. Called binding your hoop, this creates extra friction to hold the fabric. It also has the advantage of minimizing creases in your fabric and crushed stitches, particularly when working with delicate fabric or when using specialty thread like silks.
CanI keepmy fabric in the hoop whenI'm not stitching?
The danger with leaving fabric in a hoop when you're not stitching is that it can create creases that are hard to get out. If the hoop is large enough to encompass the entire design, you can get away with leaving the fabric in the hoop, but it's a good idea to loosen the tension a bit when you're done stitching.
If your hoop is smaller than your design, you definitely want to take the fabric out when you're done stitching for the day.
What if I have a lot of extra fabric?
If you're working on a project that is much bigger than your hoop, you will have excess fabric that hangs down around the hoop. This fabric can get in the way as you move between the front and back of yourhoop as you stitch. One solution is to use these clever silicone hoop huggers to bundle up the extra fabric. They are flexible and fit most hoops.
Ready to find your perfect embroidery hoop? Check out the full selection of hoops, frames, and accessories in the Stitched Modern shop.
The bolt up at the top put the smaller piece underneath. And the larger piece will go over the top IWhy do we use embroidery hoop? ›
Embroidery hoops stretch the fabric tight and can help preserve the structure and weave of the embroidery fabric, which in turn will help keep your stitches neat. Fabric naturally gathers under tension, but keeping it tight in a hoop will prevent your stitches from creating wrinkles and puckering the fabric.Do you have to use a hoop when embroidering? ›
For cross stitch, using a hoop is not as essential, although like with hand embroidery, it can help you make more even stitches. If you are new to cross stitch, using a hoop can help you handle the fabric, see the holes more clearly, and keep your stitch tension more consistent. Fabric choice also makes a difference.How do you do an embroidery hoop stitch? ›
Some people like to throw their needle all the way through like this I just prefer to go down pullWhat is the meaning of embroidery hoop? ›
Definition of embroidery hoop
: either of two hoops fitting snugly one over the other for holding fabric taut while embroidering.
Basic Embroidery Techniques | Beginners' Embroidery TutorialWhat material is used for embroidery hoops? ›
Fabrics for embroidery
As a rule, natural woven fabrics are usually best for hand embroidery techniques. Choose from cotton, wool, linen or silk for your background and select the appropriate thread-count for your technique and threads you are using.
Can You Embroider Without a Hoop? : Cold Weather Crafts - YouTubeHow do you use an embroidery hoop with thick fabric? ›
Machine Embroidery Hooping Basics Tutorial - YouTubeCan I embroider without stabilizer? ›
Stabilizer is the foundation of your embroidery and is a necessity to support your fabric and thread. Without the use of the proper stabilizer the registration of the design may be off, you might have puckering, and your fabric may distort. Your choice of stabilizer can “make or break” your stitch out.
Normally it is fine to move your hoop to an area where stitching has already been completed. I often do this when working cross stitch. As long as you don't put the work away after your session with the hoop still on it, the stitches will not be damaged.How do you back an embroidery hoop with fabric? ›
4 Ways To Back The Embroidery Hoop - YouTubeHow do you get embroidery hoop marks off? ›
Embroidery Hub Ep. 08: How to Get Rid of Hoop Marks - YouTubeWhat is hoop size in embroidery? ›
There are three common sizes of embroidery hoops: 4 x 4, 5 x 7 and 6 x 10 inches. Some machines will take more than one hoop size, others will only offer one.What is the value of embroidery in one's life? ›
Answer: It is inspirational. We all need inspiration in our lives whether it be in our homes, our careers, or our person. Creating a beautiful piece of embroidery tends to make us more aware of our surroundings – we find we are stimulated by colours and forms that we may not have noticed before.What embroidery stitch is the easiest for outlining? ›
Of all the basic embroidery stitches, running stitch is the easiest to master. This quick stitch is perfect for borders and outlines. You can change the look by lengthening or shortening the stitches.How do you embroider for dummies? ›
Embroidery for beginners | TOP 10 stitches! - YouTubeWhat do I need to start embroidering? ›
- Fabric. In general, you can embroider on any fabric. ...
- Embroidery Floss. Stranded Cotton. ...
- Needles. Embroidery or Crewel Needles. ...
- Embroidery Hoops. ...
- Scissors. ...
- Fabric Marking Pens.
- Needles. From L to R: crewel needle, tapestry needle, milliner needle. ...
- Hoops and Frames. An embroidery hoop keeps fabric taut, so your stitching doesn't pucker the fabric and your embroidery doesn't come out warped. ...
- Embroidery Scissors. ...
- Light and Magnification. ...
- Smart Storage.
- Cotton. Cotton is one of the most versatile fabrics that there is when it comes to sewing and embroidery projects. ...
- Linen. Linen is another common fabric used for embroidery, especially for clothing. ...
- Canvas. ...
- Denim. ...
- Aida Cloth. ...
- Even-weave. ...
- Muslin. ...
Generally, fabrics with thread counts under 150, such as muslin, cotton, Aida, linen, Flour Sack and Osnaburg, will allow you to pull a needle and thread through without any problem.What do you call someone who does embroidery? ›
embroiderer - someone who ornaments with needlework. embroideress - a woman embroiderer. needleworker - someone who does work (as sewing or embroidery) with a needle. Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection.How hard is it to learn to embroider? ›
Learning embroidery doesn't have to be difficult, and it definitely shouldn't feel like a huge investment of time and money. It's actually an easy and inexpensive hobby to jump into! To get started, you only need a basic pattern for beginners and a few supplies.What can you embroider by hand? ›
- Table runners.
- Kitchen towels.
- Rugs and mats.
- Toilet paper.
- Bathroom towels.
- Curtains/Shower curtains.
You should use an embroidery hoop if your hand cramps when you stitch in-hand, i.e. just holding the fabric. An embroidery hoop can make it more comfortable to hold the fabric, so you can stitch longer. Embroidery hoops are also a great way to frame your finished cross stitch projects.How do I keep my embroidery hoop tight? ›
How to keep fabric tight in an embroidery hoop - YouTubeAre embroidery hoops reusable? ›
Can You Reuse Embroidery Hoops? Once you're done stitching on the hoop, simply remove the outer ring from the inner ring and take out your project. Hoops are meant to be reusable, except if you want to use the hoop for finishing.How do you float fabric in an embroidery hoop? ›
How To Float Your Embroidery Project | Brother PE 800 - YouTubeHow do you float in the hoop? ›
How to Float or Hoop a Dishtowel for Machine Embroidery or Applique ...How do you float a stabilizer under a hoop? ›
FLOATING STABILIZER - YouTube
Dryer sheets are very similar to backing materials used to stabilize fabric and prevent it from puckering during embroidery.Is embroidery backing necessary? ›
Because it acts as the foundation for your embroidery, backing is an essential piece needed for most machine embroidery projects.How many layers of stabilizer do I need for embroidery? ›
The heavier the fabric and/or the denser (more stitches) the design, the heavier the stabilizer that is needed. You may get better results using two layers of a lighter stabilizer than a single layer of a heavier stabilizer, especially when stitching a heavy design on a lighter weight fabric.Should I use a hoop for cross stitch? ›
You should use an embroidery hoop if your hand cramps when you stitch in-hand, i.e. just holding the fabric. An embroidery hoop can make it more comfortable to hold the fabric, so you can stitch longer. Embroidery hoops are also a great way to frame your finished cross stitch projects.How do you loosen embroidery hoops? ›
How to Use Embroidery Hoops plus Hacks and Toubleshooting - Part 2Can you put embroidery hoop over stitches? ›
Normally it is fine to move your hoop to an area where stitching has already been completed. I often do this when working cross stitch. As long as you don't put the work away after your session with the hoop still on it, the stitches will not be damaged.How do you cut fabric for embroidery hoops? ›
4 Ways To Back The Embroidery Hoop | Hand Embroidery 101What size hoop should I use for cross stitch? ›
Choose a hoop that is 1 to 2 inches bigger than the edge of the stitches. You will want to have enough room on the sides for your needle to end the thread without struggling. When you finish a project your hoop can be as close to the end of your stitching as you want.What is the best cross stitch hoop? ›
Susan Bates non-slip hoops are the best to work with, but not so much to display. If you having trouble with the fabric slipping when you are stitching, these are a great option. The lip on the inner ring grips the fabric to keep it secure and tight. These hoops are a great option to use when you need a larger size.What can I use if I don't have a cross stitch hoop? ›
USING A PLASTIC CLIP FRAME OR Q-SNAP
Next up is using a plastic clip frame, which works like an embroidery hoop to hold your fabric nice and tight whilst stitching. A popular brand of frames are Q-Snap however here in the UK they can be slightly harder to get hold of, so this method isn't accessible as using a hoop.
The best way to hold your embroidery or cross stitch hoop & frame ...How do you wrap an embroidery hoop with bias tape? ›
Most stitchers don't do this. (They SHOULD do it!) - YouTubeHow do you wrap an embroidery hoop with ribbon? ›
Begin with the end of the ribbon on the inside and wrap it at a diagonal angle around the hoop. Pull it tightly and pinch it flat on the inside and outside as you go. When you get to the other end of the circle, wrap the ribbon an extra time around the end of the ribbon to hide it.Can I use a hoop for large cross stitch? ›
Cross Stitching 101: Hoops or Frames to hold my work? - YouTubeHow do I know what size embroidery hoop I have? ›
Embroidery machine manufacturers will identify their hoops by sizes, usually in inches. The hoop sizes for each machine will be listed in the manual which comes with it. If you were to physically measure your hoop, you will find it is a different size.How do you cover embroidery hoops with fabric? ›
How to cover the back of embroidery hoop - YouTubeHow do you hang embroidery hoops without nails? ›
Using Masking Tape to attach hoops to the wall
For this method, wrap a piece of ribbon or string around your embroidery hoop's closure and tape it on the wall. To be totally safe, I used a strong transparent tape first and put a layer of patterned masking tape over it then.
How to keep fabric tight in an embroidery hoop - YouTube