Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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A Tale of Two Hoops


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Did you ever find yourself working along on one part of your embroidery project, when suddenly you have a hankering to move to another part and try something out?

This happens to me a lot. Maybe I’m too sanguine. I like to jump about and try things out! And if I’m getting bored with one part of a piece, moving to another part can re-kindle my interest and enthusiasm for the piece overall. So perhaps sanguinity can be a good thing….

Using Two Embroidery Hoops at a Time

When I’m working on a piece that is framed up (on stretcher bars or a slate frame, for example), it’s not a big deal to move to another section of the embroidery. The whole piece is there, in front of me, ready to be stitched on, wherever I want to stitch.

But when I’m using a hoop, it’s another question. To jump over to another space, especially if it’s just for a little visit – to give a certain technique a try or maybe to fix an area – it’s a pain to undo the hoop and re-hoop the fabric well.

I solve the problem by often having two hoops on one piece of work. Why not? There’s no rule that says you’re only allowed to use one hoop at a time, after all!

The only caution I’d offer is to make sure the hoop hardware (on either hoop) stays out of the way of your working thread.

But other than that, using two hoops can be handy! Generally, I’ll use a five or six-inch hoop pretty consistently, but if I’m “spot stitching” in another location, I’ll mount up a three or four-inch hoop.

Just remember – don’t leave your work hooped up for an extended time. If your stitching session is over for the day, or you know you aren’t going to get back to your project for a day or so, do yourself a favor and remove the hoop (or hoops). Extended hoop time can lead to permanent creases in the fabric, and hoop edges are notorious dirt magnets.

So what about you? Have you ever used two hoops at a time? If not, would you? Or do you think it’s silly? (It’s ok if you do – I’ve been called worse things than silly!)


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(11) Comments

  1. This post made me smile because I often have an itch to work on another area and for the same reasons you gave. Never thought of using two hoops, though it seems kind of obvious now that you suggest it. Great idea.

    1. Well, now I know I’m not the only one! I was thinking last night of the possibility of three hoops, but that seemed to be pushing it a bit!

      Ergh. I just noticed this morning that I spelled “magnets” wrong. Sheeesh….

  2. 2 hoops on one work. Yep done that..lol.but I tend to have a dozen projects going at once in various stages at my work table or by my comfy chair.
    Some for hoop work, some in-hand depending on my mood.I can never start and go right thru on one project. Maybe I have stitching A.D.D.:)
    Too much stitching, so little time.

    Phillipa In New Zealand.

  3. Hi Mary!
    In fact I’ve never worked with two hoops. I think it’s not silly at all. In a bigger project it is a clever option, I think. The biggest project I’ve made it was the last one and it would be useful (and clever) if I had used that option…

  4. Yes Mary I too use 2 hoops sometimes when it comes to bigger projects but depending on the design( you know that if it is a saree border we need to stitch about 6-8 meters). Not only hoops but also 7-8 needles threaded at a time if I can stitch for an hour in one stretch. I feel it saves time..

  5. Hi Mary,

    What a great idea! Most of my projects would not be big enough though. Like Phillipa I overcome the boredom by switching projects … I have a ridiculous number on the go.

    Lakshmi, I like your idea of having several needles threaded. I generally do, but each with a different colour. The idea of threading several with the main colour(s) I’m stitching feels like an excellent way to work.

    Irene in NZ

  6. Hi Mary – good idea! My grandma used to stitch with multiple needles in the same hoop. She would have one for each color of thread and work on one section at a time. At first I thought that was kind of weird, but now I think it makes sense!

  7. Hello Mary, I have very recently taken up stitching (so I find it quite addictive) , so i too use two hoops. And like Lakshmi mentioned several needles too, if there are different colours. Each colour threaded in separate needles.

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