While working with embroidery and needlework, many times you come across a common question — Are Embroidery hoops the best choice for quality work? What size of hoop should be considered for a perfect embroidery? Which shape is more commonly used for designs?
Embroidery hoops come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. They are an essential tool for hand embroidery, so it is always a wise decision to choose the right hoop for your work, quality, and personal comfort.
Are Embroidery Hoops Necessary for Hand Embroidery?
Usually, Embroidery hoops are not necessarily important for people who work with hand embroidery. But they are quite helpful as they prevent the fabric from stretching and creasing in between the stitches. However, this solely depends on the type of embroidery work, fabric, and the personal preference. If you are uncomfortable with embroidery hoops, you can choose the quilting hoops.
Embroidery Hoops — Types:
Embroidery hoops come in various types depending on sizes, designs, shapes, and material. These hoops can also be a great choice for the fun DIY projects.
- Quilting Hoops: They are used for hand quilting projects. These hoops are usually 12” in diameter or sometimes larger.
- Hand-Held Hoops: They are used for smaller projects which include hand embroidery. They usually vary in size and are small in diameter. They are portable, affordable and lightweight.
- Stand Hoops: They are used for projects that include quilts and larger blankets. The stands in these hoops have an adjustable height. Also, you can pivot the hoop as per your preferences.
- Machine Embroidery Hoops: They are used for larger projects. You can hitch the loop to your machine and prevent fabric bunching. Always choose a stabilizer and hoop that is designated for your machine.
- Spring Tension Hoops: They are used like hand-held hoops. They are portable, lightweight and are available in a variety of sizes. They include two plastic rings and have a metal spring adjustment within.
Embroidery Hoops — Shapes:
Apart from the round hoops, you can also find the oval-shaped and square-shaped embroidery hoops available in the market. Ideally, the shape of these hoops may vary as per your embroidery project.
- Circular Hoops: The most common ones. They are the easiest to work with and portable.
- Square Hoops: Like circular ones, they are also the commonly used.
- Oval-Shaped Hoops: They are usually preferred for bigger projects and quilting. Also, they come in infinite sizes.
Embroidery Hoops — Material:
Generally, the embroidery hoops are prepared from wood or bamboo. Hence, they have a smooth inner hoop. The type of material embroiderers uses depend on the project and the fabric.
The Most Common Ones Are:
- Wooden Hoops: Make sure you focus on the quality first when you choose the wooden hoops for your embroidery project. This may help you in preventing the cracks in the inner hoops while stitching.
- Metal Embroidery Hoops: Unlike others, these may not be commonly available. You might find them in old shops as vintage items, possibly in the craft stores or fabric ones.
- Plastic Embroidery Hoops: They are best suited for hand embroidery projects. They often have flexible screw hardware for tightening the inner and outer hoops. This gives a tight fit to the fabrics used in the embroidery.
Embroidery Hoops — Size:
Normally, people get confused about choosing the right sized embroidery hoops. It is best to choose the one that fits comfortably in one hand, while you are stitching with the other. Also, the one that you feel is right for your stitching style and design.
These hoops can be smaller or larger, and they do not have to frame the entire embroidery pattern. It is always a good option to detach the hoop and the project when not in use. This prevents the fabric from getting scratched from the hoop.
These hoops come in various sizes. The size depends on your project or the embroidery patches. The hoop should perfectly fit around the fabric. But it should not be too tight to cause the fabric to pucker. Normally, 5”-7” is an ideal diameter hoop for everyday embroidery. Smaller hoops are perfect for thinner fabrics like linen. While for the thicker fabrics, larger hoops are the best. The embroidery hoops come in two pieces – the inner and the outer hoop. The outer one or framing piece comes with screw hardware or spring.
Embroidery Hoops Vs. Quilting Hoops:
For needlework projects, some embroiderers prefer the Embroidery Hoops while some prefer the Quilting hoops. Usually, this depends on the fabric, quality and the size.
Generally, Quilting Hoops are larger than the embroidery ones. They also support thicker fabrics. A Q-Snap frame or a Square Hoop is often used for hand quilting. It is made out of plastic, usually PVC and has outer clips that perfectly fit around the four edges of the project.
Though there are very few options to choose from, it generally depends on your comfortability and compatibility with the embroidery hoops.
Alternative for Embroidery Hoops:
Traditionally, embroiderers prefer the wooden embroidery hoops. But there are modern alternatives that you might want to try.
Q-snaps are one such alternative. They are lightweight and consist of plastic tubing that can fit into any shape, particularly, rectangular or square. To hold the fabric tightly into place, distinct sleeves are provided that are pushable onto each side of the frame. But they do not keep the fabric as tight as a hoop as you have to self-adjust them accordingly.
Flexi hoops consist of two rings – outer and inner. The outer ring is flexible and stretches over the fabric while the inner ring is made of hard plastic. The outer one holds the fabric tightly in place for comfortable stitching. However, they are not right for the ones who suffer from arthritis or have certain difficulties with their hands as they might find it difficult to assemble.
Spring hoops consist of a metal inner ring and a plastic outer ring which has an attached spring. You have to squeeze them together position the inner one to fit inside the other section. These hoops were originally aimed for the machine embroidery.
However, there are certain drawbacks of using these hoops. The thread can get caught in the handles while positioning them and might break it and affect the design.
Selection of proper hoops can help to stitch custom embroidery patches. It all depends on the personal choice, whether you want to use the embroidery hoops or not. And if yes, we advise you to use the hoop for your fabric and design. So, choose the best quality Embroidery hoop for your work.