Tools of the Trade: Embroidery Hoops

hoopsWell, maybe hoops and frames are a must for most people anyway. I don’t think so. Other people constantly ask me: Why don’t you use a hoop? I have been stitching for over 11 years now and I hardly ever use a hoop or frame when I stitch.

It’s certainly not for lack of trying, though. The simple answer is that I simply do not like them. Maybe that makes me a “bad” stitcher with bad habits, but it just isn’t for me. I was often told that using a hoop was a must. Fabric needed to have proper tension and so did the thread. And, I completely understand that. When I started out stitching, I used mostly aida cloth and block weave fabric. I didn’t find it necessary.

I was afraid to move to linens and evenweaves because then I would most definitely need a frame or hoop. Once I started working on those other fabrics, the hoop got in the way. I was so concerned with pulling my fabric taught, that I completely distorted the fabric. By learning without a hoop, I could figure out how to properly tension my fabric and my thread in hand. I can recognize when my tension is off because my stitches don’t look right.

Even so, I wanted to be a good stitcher and use a hoop. So I kept trying. I didn’t have a stand and I stitch with both hands. This makes holding a frame or hoop too bulky. I couldn’t train myself to get used to it.

Once I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the tremors made it difficult to stitch over all. The hoop only seemed to amplify the problem. I got used to stitching in hand and until my stitching starts to look bad and the tension is off, I’ll continue doing what I’m doing. Besides, I like not having to move a hoop around leaving marks and squashing my stitches. Yes, it irons out, but it’s much easier to block a piece without dealing with hoop marks.

I don’t think that makes me a bad stitcher. Stitching should be enjoyable and if a hoop takes away from that enjoyment, then why use it? It’s worked so far, so why mess with success.

I still would love to try Q-Snaps one day. I’ve heard wonderful things. I, however, do not want to buy them, use them once and find out I don’t like them.

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