enjoying a browse I occasionally come across cross stitch posts where
it looks like the stitcher is not getting the best out of their hoop.
Sometimes it seems like the fabric is being held quite loosely. A hoop can be crucial for helping a beginner find the right
tension for their stitching. Here’s how to correctly fit your fabric
in a standard embroidery hoop. I’ve used a piece of evenweave linen in this
demo as it’s more easy to see through than Aida, but the principle is
exactly the same each time, regardless of fabric or hoop.
is my very favourite hoop. It has a screw fastener with a large nut
that you can do up tight enough by hand. The surface on the inside of
the rings where they touch is slightly rough, which also helps with the grip.
place the inner ring on a flat, sturdy surface. Don’t use your lap or
the sofa! If the inner ring has a lip, place it uppermost facing
you. This one does.
your fabric over the inner hoop.
up the fastener on the outer hoop as far as it will go (but before
the nut falls off and rolls away!). Press the outer hoop down on the
inner hoop, sandwiching the fabric in between.
you can pick the hoop up and immediately start to tighten the nut.
Don’t start pulling the fabric tight yet. Feel and ensure that the
outer hoop is sitting underneath the lip of the inner hoop. Guide it
in place with your fingers as you turn the nut.
the fastener is about three-quarters of the way done up, start to
pull the fabric tight across the hoop around the sides. If you have an
evenweave or lighter fabric, check that the weave of the fabric is sitting straight, and adjust accordingly. Now do the nut up as tight as it
will go. Viola! One inviting surface to be stitched on.
use the above hoop for all everyday stitching. It is a practical hoop
rather than a display one. Here’s a tip – get into the habit of
regularly cleaning your (plastic) hoops with ordinary soapy water. I
simply use a cloth with the fresh dish water when I do the washing
up. Your hands will eventually make any hoop grubby the same way as
with a needle. Give your hoop a wipe before each project and your
works will stay clean as well.
a couple of different hoops that can be used to display finished pieces
as well as be re-used for different projects.
one is a Fexi-hoop. The rubbery outer ring has a wood effect finish
and can come in different colours as well. Most usefully they have a
hanging thingy already attached. These hoops can be tricky to position
when stiff and new, but as they hold the fabric very very tightly they can be
perfect for beginners.
last hoop is also a screw top fastening hoop, although much prettier
with its modern sanded wood finish. You insert your fabric and use as
shown above. The nut has a slot for a flat head screwdriver. When
you’ve finished your work and are ready to display it, you tighten
this nut up with a screwdriver thus closing tight the little gap at the top of the outer ring.
last tip! When using a hoop with a fastener at the top it feels
natural to have it at 12 o'clock. Instead, have it at 10 o'clock if
you’re right-handed or at 2 o'clock if you’re left handed. This way,
your thread is much less likely to get tangled in it when you’re
stitching as you’ll be pulling your thread through and away from that
point above your other hand.
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