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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What’s your Hoop?


Amazon Books

My friends, a Happy Saturday all around!

I’m going to use today’s article to poll our community and get some help! I’ve been testing some embroidery hoops, making comparisons, and drawing conclusions lately, to prepare a detailed article on embroidery hoops of different types, their advantages and disadvantages, and the like. It’s an article that I hoop will be helpful to many!

I thought some community input would be a good thing! And so, today – along with some other knick-knacks, bits and bobs, bobbles and bibelots, gaudies and gewgaws, I thought I’d ask this question: What’s Your Hoop?

Hoops for hand embroidery

Mind you, the question isn’t “What’s your favorite hoop?” And it’s not “What’s in your hoop?”

Rather, it’s “What is your hoop? What hoop do you use – if you use one – and why? Or, if you prefer a frame to a hoop, what’s your take on that?

If you’d like to contribute to the broader knowledge of the community on this hoop topic and help me get a wider sense of hoop usage, please join in the conversation below!

I’m looking forward to reading about your experience and perspective on embroidery hoops! Many thanks!

Now, grab a cuppa, and let’s do a tiny bit of wandering…

Go to the Met!

Did you know that there are some 4,000+ works of embroidery art in the open access artworks section of the Met Collection online?

These are high resolution images of public domain artworks that can be downloaded, remixed, shared, and so forth without restriction.

Go browse! It’s kind of fun, and the possibilities are rather enticing…

The Ladies’ Guide

I don’t think I’ve shared this online book with you. It’s a good one! It’s the Ladies’ Guide to Needle Work, Embroidery, Etc. by S. Annie Frost. There are some interesting pieces in it that could be adapted into nice patterns. Plus, it’s one of those old books that are kind of fun to read, wonder, and chuckle over.

Coming Up!

Just a quick run-down on what’s coming up for A Stitcher’s Christmas – my yearly series of give-aways here on Needle ‘n Thread.

A Stitcher’s Christmas is an opportunity for small needlework businesses to showcase what they offer, and also to give back to the stitching world as a “thank you” for all your support!

This year, there are ten give-aways in the series and they include the following:

Threads from Colour Complements
Beautiful hand-crafted wooden tools from Stitch ‘n Turn
Collections of fabrics & threads from Needle in a Haystack
Subscriptions to Inspirations Magazine
A gorgeous silk ribbon embroidery kit from Di Van Niekerk
Some fantastic collections of new embroidery books (and not-yet-released, but upcoming books) from Search Press
Sumptuous hand-dyed crewel wool sets from Renaissance Dyeing
Delightful tools from Jenny Adin-Christie
Fabric, threads, ribbons, and haberdashery from The French Needle, in color themes
And a whole set of floche!

And there may be a few more surprises in there, too… but Shhhhh! – don’t tell anyone.

Why not take some time to browse these small needlework businesses this weekend and see what they’re all about? You may find just the right thing you’ve been looking for – and of course, they’re lovely places to shop for your Christmas wish list. (Share with the husband, wife, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, friends… Never hurts to drop a hint!)

A Stitcher’s Christmas will begin the Monday after Thanksgiving and run up until right before Christmas here on Needle ‘n Thread. Pop in throughout the weeks to catch the different give-aways!

Don’t Forget the Hoop!

Don’t forget to weigh in on the hoop question.

On that note, I’ll wish you a great weekend! I’ll be glued to my computer this weekend, finishing up Snowflakes. If you’re eager for the e-book, with multiple sized patterns and detailed stitch & finishing guides, look for it right after Thanksgiving.

Oh, OH!! Speaking of Thanksgiving – I have a little surprise for you on Thanksgiving Day. Well, it’s just kind of a silly thing, but I couldn’t help doing it – I had a blast putting it together! You’ll have to wait to see what it is, but if you liked looking for my tweezers, you might enjoy it!


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(228) Comments

    1. I use lap hoops (the type that you sit on) and slate frames. I have several sizes of each and have one lap hoop dedicated to doodling and experimentation. I sew with both hands, so these work best for me.

  1. I like the Morgan lap stand hoop. It has a lip that the fabric fits over so it holds tension well, & the stand lets you use both hands as opposed to holding the hoop. This lessens wrist pain significantly. The bonus is that it’s two hoops in one as the bottom part is another size hoop.

  2. I use a wooden hoop with cotton bias tape wound around it. It’s the kind with a metal screw to adjust the tension based on the fabric I have in the hoop. Something about wood gives me the connection to the natural world of cotton thread and cotton blend fabrics I use. Plastic might work as well, but not nurture my psyche. I like to use as many earth born materials as possible.

  3. I have a large collection of wooden hoops and a few metal ones. They range in size from 3 inches to 18 inches in both rounds and ovals. I like them for the ease in moving them around on a project. They are my go-to for doing Armenian Marash (interlaced herringbone). I even have some huge quilting hoops that I use when I teach classes. They let me demonstrate the stitches with yarn and a yarn needle so everyone around the table can see what exactly it is that I’m doing. I also like them for fine detail projects because they are easier for me to hold onto than frames. I never, ever use the plastic ones with the groove inside because I’ve found they deform both the fabric and the work.

  4. Hi, we use two types of hoops. One is a wooden one with a screw, which I don’t prefer because the thread keeps getting entangled in the screw.
    We have another hoop made of cane, which is available in Kolkata, India. It works without a screw and the two rings just hold the cloth between them tightly. That is the hoop my mother and I prefer for embroidery.

  5. I have various hoops (different sizes wooden – cheap) and a (my favorite) snap together plastic one (really want more sizes of that one). Not wild about the wooden ones, but they do in a pinch.
    Whether or not I use a hoop, depends on what I’m doing. For some things, I really prefer to not use a hoop, it’s easier without for some stitches.

  6. I don’t like hoops. Even with the inside hoop wrapped and the screw tightened with a screw driver, the fabric doesn’t stay taut. I like to use Evertite frames because I can maintain even tension.

  7. It depends on what I’m stitching and the size of the piece – I prefer stretcher bars or roller frames, if the piece is of a size to fit, because I can put either of those in a lap stand.

  8. Hi Mary! Thank you for all the information you give us! To answer your question (I think), I like a wooden hoop, not plastic, and for everyday embroidering, frames are too bulky and awkward. There’s a German-made? hoop with a little house on it, I can’t remember the name, but it is smooth and well-made, and I like it. It holds the fabric nice and tight without having to wrap the inner lining. Once I decided I *should* wrap the inner ring, but I wrapped it TOO MUCH and the outer ring popped apart – it was a disaster! My best hoop! So I don’t wrap my hoops anymore. I also like Frank A Edmunds hoops.

  9. Pllieay Embroidery Hoop Bamboo purchased from Amazon in a set of 4 different sizes.

    This is the type of hoop I am using at the moment. I prefer to use a floor standing frame and I had a gorgeous one purchased many years ago from a Stitching Show. Unfortunately it got damaged and I had to replace it with an Elbesee one which is ok but not as good as the other one.
    The reason I am using an 8 inch hand held hoop is that I am going cruising shortly and it is easily packed. I am trying to improve my needle painting and plan to do some while on holiday. I would love a lap frame but everyone I have tried is not a comfortable height for me to sew at. So I am trying to find one that has a wide range of adjustment…..no luck so far.
    Sorry to ramble! Getting back to the hoop I am using….it is fine, smooth so no snags on linen and comfortable in the hand but I find the adjustment screw on many hoops difficult to tighten to the necessary degree of tightness.

  10. I love my Morgan hoops. Yes, they’re plastic, but they’re extremely well-made. I find I don’t have to bind them, they hold my fabric drum-tight, and I love the fact that I can embroider with both hands with their lap system! I find myself reaching for those hoops more often than not. I have a lap stand from the Crewel Work Company, and I really enjoy their hoops as well.

  11. I prefer any hoop or frame that prevents me from having to constantly hold it. I have developed terrible tendonitis from holding the hoop. I think it is imperative that anyone learning any needlework craft that requires a hoop should use the ones with the wood panel that you put between you leg, or a stand that holds either a hoop or frame. I wish someone had steered me in that direction.

  12. I use a plastic hoop with a round steel circular clamp that fits inside to hold the fabric in the hoop. Easy to use and clean. I prefer a q-snap or frame for larger pieces as the entire piece can be propped on my lap for 2-handed stitching.

  13. I have a large selection of hoops. Most are the plastic Susan Bates ones. I’m currently using one of my favorites, the double-sided plastic Morgan hoop. It is its own stand. One side is 10″ and the other side is 7″. Am using it to stitch the Holly and Evergreen towels at the moment. For my large cross stitch, I’m using a scroll frame on a wooden lap stand. I know you didn’t want to know What was in our hoops, but wanted to give examples Why I use them. So looking forward to seeing the Christmas giveaways, even if I don’t win anything! Happy Thanksgiving, Mary!

  14. I have two favorites. First is the sit-upon hoop, or in Maryspeak, the hoop on a stick, made by Hardwicke Manor. Nothing keeps the embroidery ground so consistently taut as the bound wooden hoops. The stand makes two-handed stitching possible, and it can also be stored compactly in my pre-war, closet-deprived apartment.
    The second is the Morgan lap stand combo, which consists of two plastic hoops that can be “stacked” by means of removable legs. The hoops are ridged/notched to keep fabric in place, and screws maintain steady tension. Once again, you get two-handed stitching, easy disassembly and less bulky storage. I like these best in their larger sizes (14” and 10” or 12”). With the small sizes, the legs can limit accessibility to the underside of the embroidery ground.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s responses!

  15. The hoop I use when embroidering a pre-printed embroidery quilt block is my 6 inch plastic hoop with a lip. It seems to hold the fabric without slip, slipping so much. Now when I am embroidering on a crazy quilt block I use a wood hoop that I have wrapped with muslin.

  16. I use hoops exclusively. Its easier for me to handle, and I can keep my fabric tension drum tight. I use 5-8 inch hoops, Nurge is my preferred brand, but I have others.

  17. My favorite hoops are the vintage Duchess/Princess. I love these because there is nothing sticking out that catches the thread while I am working. Of course, these do not work for every project, so I also use Hardwicke Manor. I especially like the oval one. Actually, I always prefer an oval hoop. I have always been basically a hoop girl, but I do have Handi clamp scroll frames, which I use for larger projects. I guess I am the only person in the world that does not like my fabric really tight in the hoop/frame. I have always used the sewing method for embroidery and cross stitch, so I like my fabric loose enough to manipulate. I’ve never had a problem with tension or puckering of the finished product. So perhaps I am an ‘in hand’ person that likes to hold on to a frame/hoop!

  18. Hi Mary, I don’t do a lot of embroidery (I did in my much earlier years) and I never really paid attention to the hoop, that I recall, but I don’t use one now as I am only back stitching on some barn blocks for a quilt. But my main needlework is cross-stitch. I only use a scrolling frame as they are not small, hand-held projects. It used to be a standing frame but I use a sitting frame now, or just balance it on my lap to have both hands free. In the event of a small project crossing my path, just about any hoop available will do.
    Love your blogs,
    Brenda Eckstein

  19. I am a cross stitcher. I have two rather inexpensive hoops, both of which I have wrapped. One has a screw that I tighten with a small screwdriver and the other has a flattened end which I tighten with a small needle-nose plier. I do a lot of stitching by hand but if the fabric is very soft or if I notice my tension is causing rippling I use my hoop. I heard someone mention the hardware on hoops wearing out, but I have had both these hoops for years with no problems.

  20. I have different hoops for different projects. Slate frames and frames are okay to me for larger projects, but oh, so awkward! I do like the little German frames with the screw when I need to hoop up areas. They are thinner and I like the screwdriver aspect of tightening. All of my wooden hoops are taped with twill or muslin and hold very well. Those plastic hoops with the lips are okay, but it seems harder to get the crease out, so I only use them when the entire design area fits inside.
    Otherwise, I like to stitch in hand!

  21. I do all of my embroidery on stretcher bars for the simple reason the material stays tight. There’s none of the constant releasing and tightening the material for the umpteenth time. If I put it down for a while, there’s no need to put the project back in the hoop. I just pick up the project and start stitching.

    It also means that there is no concern about the hoop crushing the textured stitches (or needing a very large hoop for big projects) .

    It also means that instead of the “sewing” method of embroidery, I must use the stab method. While my Lowery will hold a hoop, the stretcher bars are more secure and I love being able to use 2 hands while forming some of the more complex stitches.

  22. I learned to embroider without a hoop and I have never used one. I’ve been embroidering over 60 years and have never had problems with tension. my grandmother taught me well.

  23. In my childhood, decades ago, used round plastic hoops. But then I used Q-snaps for 40 years. But even with felt pads, I still had to stop and re-stretch because the fabric would reventualy become loose and give and I love a taut surface. But recently, I discovered nirvana. The everyone frame. And the name doesn’t lie, if you take time to set up the fabric properly. I’m in love. Sometimes for a smaller project, like an ornament or embellishment, I’ll just use a plain wooden square and tack the fabric on. But for anything larger, I use the evertite. And I enjoy every minute of my stitching. I may eventually try a slate frame. But for now, I’m more than satisfied.

  24. Hardwicke Manor hoops bound with Access Commodities twill tape for me! I work on garments so a frame is less practical. Plus there is something so traditional about a wooden hoop.

  25. For small designs the Susan Bates hoop, for a design that needs something bigger the 12/14 inch Morgan Lapstand and for anything bigger than 14 inches, Edmunds stretcher bars. Plastic hoops rock, they really keep the fabric taut for better quality stitching.

  26. I think you are a mind reader! I’ve been researching about embroidery hoops lately and looking through your website for help. I have three hoops right now, two plastic 5 & 6, and a very old thin wooden 6 with a strange looking screw. I’m ready for something new, maybe bigger? I also wonder how everyone feels about rectangle shaped ones? Hope the results of your question are helpful. Happy Saturday!

  27. I basically prefer a hoop…wrapped lightly with cotton fabric. And the hoop needs to have an actual screw (to tighten if necessary with a small screw driver). This seems to work the best for me and then able to easily hold my work under a large dazor magnifing light as I embroider and stitch.

  28. I just recently got back into cross stitching and the old hoop I am using does not have the brand on it, but it is a screw-type and it’s plastic. I have tried the spring types and I liked it at first until I started “springing” it across the room. I just ordered a small Eversewn screw-type hoop from Fat Quarter Shop so I’m curious to see if I can tell any difference. I’m also curious to hear the results of this poll as I am a sucker for finding the best of all the sewing supplies.

  29. My favorite is my hoop on a stick.
    Why: because with the hoop on a stick I can get my work up close to me. I love working with 40 count linen and this hoop works best for me.
    Bonus: I can stretch my work nice and taught. This opens the weave a bit more and better enables me to work on finer count linens.
    I also use Phillipa Turnbull’s method of laying Saran Wrap over my work prior to stretching into hoop. Once in hoop I cut away Saran Wrap over area to be worked. This helps prevent hoop marks and protects other parts of linen/stitched areas while stitching.

  30. Hoops!! I have all kinds – even an a lovely wooden antique one on a stand. But for ALL my embroidery and cross stitching, I always use the Q-snap frames. They are my favourites. I find they make everything nice and taut and I like that they are flexible enough to fold in an extra layer of fabric if the piece is large, long or unwieldy. I have them in all the sizes that are made.

  31. I recently splurged on a Harwicke Manor 8 inch Hoop and I love it! The depth of this hoop is what won me over. My hands tend to cramp up if I stitch too long lately and because this new hoop has at least a 1 inch depth my hands don’t need to hold it so tightly, it also is adaptable to a seat frame or table clamps for freehand in hoop stitching

  32. My “Hoop”! 5 of them! 2 are “Grip It” Floor stands, one inherited from my mom, one mine, bought at the same time (many years ago as I believe they are out business), a Legend Sit on It stand (also by Grip It I believe), and and Fanny Stand with hoop from Hardwicke Manor, plus hand Hardwicke Manor hoop. (many other hoops in basket somewhere gathering dust. The 5 are in use depending on what I am stitching, canvas work always the Grip It floor or sit on, fabric work the sit on stands. Would love one of the newer stands, but comfort in the old and would rather spend money on fiber and fabric! All are getting so expensive. Easiest to use is the Fanny Stand. Love it for its simplicity and quality. My 2 cents!
    Thanks Mary for all the great info!

  33. I know plastic is a no no, but I bought some that Trisha Burr recommends, and in the middle, it has an additional narrow ring that keeps fabric super taunt. I prefer it over the wooden ones.

  34. I have all kinds of different hoops. The best one I feel that keeps the fabric tight is a wooden one with twill tape on the bottom hoop. I learned that from you! The Twill Tape is the trick to me.
    Thank you

  35. I am using Hardwick Manor hoops. I have regular hoops and also a Fanny hoop that I am starting to use. I enjoy having the ability to use two hands when stitching. I also have some Q-Snaps mostly for Cross Stitching, not totally convinced on Q Snaps, but haven’t had a lot of experience using them, still trying them out.

  36. I definitely need a new hoop! My old wooden one is not working well anymore. I have had it forever and it is just the kind you would get in a beginners kit. I mostly embroider tea towels so that is the thickness of fabric I need a hoop for. I would love some recommendations.

  37. Good Morning. I do not use a hoop, either in embroidery or hand quilting. I like to get up close to my stitches. Maybe because I use “bite” stitch rather than “poke up & down.”

  38. I use the frames from the big box store, plastic round sides that slip together to form a square. I lined it with batting like you have recommended, which keeps the slipping to a minimum. I have had trouble with the round wooden hoops; my fabric does not stay taut.

  39. My very favorite hoop belonged to my grandmother. Since I am 72 years young, you have an idea of its age. It has a soft patina of her hands and mine. It is oval and works well in my smallish hands.
    I facilitate a group of stitchers at my local YMCA, and I love to have a stash of small wood hoops to turn into mandalas using their newly learned stitches.

  40. I have a variety of hoops in my collection—as I suspect is true for most of us. I reach most often for my Q snaps because they fit beautifully in my stand. I can tighten them easily and in a variety of needs.

    I know this is not a common hoop for stitchers here, but they work for me.

  41. My hoop, or rather a collection of sizes of the same kind of hoop, is much like the one in Mary’s photograph, the plastic blue hoop with the metal screw. Why this one for me? Well, the collection was a gift from a friend that used them as a teaching tool in one of her high school math classes. And me, being the frugal minded soul that I am, have loved using them and have decided not to purchase others that may work differently. As long as they serve my purposes, I enjoy them, have no problems with them, and love remembering my friend through her gift. Happy stitching everyone!

  42. I use all types depending on my work. For surface embroidery, Marnie Ritter taught me to use a small hoop that will allow me to easily allow me to manipulate my work with my fingers while holding the hoop, so I use a 4 inch wooden hoop with wrapped inside hoop as it cushions my stitches as I move it around. Wooden hoops have to be taped as even the better ones don’t seem to have good tension without taping. I like the “drum-tight” hoops for anything small that is entirely in the hoop, like an ornament, as these function more like a stretcher frame. The hoops I’ve been finding recently with the ridge in the middle don’t hold as tightly but seem to disturb the stitches less and I use them for general counted work. I always remove a hoop when I think I’m done stitching for the day. In the end, though, the hoop I use is most often the hoop I can find!

  43. Hoop: I use a 6” wooden hoop with the inner ring bound in twill tape. It is almost too big, since I don’t use a floor stand. It works fine if I remember to keep the working area toward the edges.

  44. For my larger pieces, using layering and piecing, I don’t use a hoop for the embroidery. Smaller projects of just embroidery handle better being hooped.
    I am inconsistent though and will often work without a hoop when it’s a bad hand day (PsA).

  45. I never use a hoop unless it is for a small object, like an ornament, that the hoop will completely surround and which will have the excess cut off. I much prefer stretcher bars. When I do use a hoop, I use a spring one which is easy to adjust. And I never leave the item in the hoop when I am not stitching.

  46. After having tried many different hoops and frames, I stand by the traditional rounded or smooth-edged wooden hoop. I like the IDEA of using a snap-to frame, however, it never stayed tight enough!!

    So now you know…I’m framed. 🙂


  47. Happy Thanksgiving! I usually use a Q-Snap frame for hand needle work, but I have several vintage metal spring hoops and traditional wooden wrapped hoops from my mother-in-law and have purchased the inexpensive plastic hoops found at most craft stores to use with beginners, mainly for the cost and the availability for family members who may not know what else to use. They are color coded by size. If the project is really big, I have a Sullivan floor stand hoop and a floor Q-Snap frame and even a vintage/antique bed-sized quilt frame if I get real ambitious, but I usually only use that for hand-quilting or tying bed-sized projects.

  48. I have been stitching and embroidering for a very long time. I have always been fascinated and in awe with all the varied inventions there are out there to hold your fabric while you are stitching. I find myself always using just a 4 inch wooden hoop by Harwicke Manor or at most a 6 inch wooden hoop from England. I can hold this size hoop in my hand comfortably, I have great tension, travel with my stitching anywhere, and I am able to feel a sense of accomplishment in what I have finished during the duration of my stitching. I always remove the hoop when I have finished and have never had a problem with hoop marks or the size of the project. On the scroll frames, slate frames, etc., without a stand, I can not figure out how to hold it comfortably and stitch. Also with a hoop I am not confined to one space which you would be with a floor stand.

    My wooden hoops that I have, I have used the same ones for many years now and they are still going fine and doing a great job. Maybe I need to modernize, but so far I am pleased with what I have accomplished and the pleasure and satisfaction that my handwork gives to me. Keep on stitching!!!

  49. I mostly use Hardwicke Manor hoops bound with twill tape. But sometimes I have trouble with getting enough tension. I tighten and tighten, but the fabric loosens. I sometimes use Evertite Bars, and I recently bought a slate frame and am eager to try that.

  50. For regular, plain embroidery, I prefer to not use a hoop. But for cross stitch and fancy needlework, I use Q-snaps. I love the way they hold the fabric taught and they are quick to work with when you want to either loosen or tighten your fabric. I can also fold excess length of fabric up and hold it with the q-snap. I do prefer a wooden frame for needlepoint. When I use a frame or q-snap, I don’t like them to be too large because my arm gets tired reaching around to the back (I can only use one hand when I stitch).

  51. A really good, smooth, heavy wood with a solid screw latch. Bamboo wood seems to be the best. The plastic hoops are not my favorite as they are’t flexible enough. Since I enjoy doing 1 stand of thread to small stands the hoops work best. My favorite projects are small birds, flowers and designs. I embroiedry several of your projects and items form So. Africa and
    Australia. Enjoy your columns.

  52. I am mainly an applique person but do love embroidery and have gotten into adding backstitches to my appliqués.
    As to hoop, with me I believe it is a state of mind as one time I use one and the next time I don’t! Don’t really know why but that seems to be it.

  53. Mine’s a Morgan “lap stand combo,” 7″ on top and 10″ on the bottom. I use it for embroidery on crazy quilt blocks. Love it!

  54. My hoop is a Grace hoop. I love it because it holds securely and is square. Yes, it is heavy as it is metal. It came with a floor stand that I never use.
    I tried to add a picture but couldn’t get it to go.

  55. I like both Susan Bates hoops and British made hoops because of their hardware. As for frames the Evertites are the best. Millennium frames are my favorite!

  56. My favorite hoop so far is SUNTQ wooden hoops. They hold the fabric nice and tight for a long time. They are pretty smooth without any splintering.

    My least favorite is Caydo wooden hoops. I ordered 12 of them and all 12 did not hold the fabric at all. The hoops just don’t tighten enough. I use them now just for framing.

  57. Mary, I do like the Clover seven inch plastic hoop for its sturdiness. After wrapping the inner ring, you can count on it to stay taut. I have arthritic hands and it does get heavy. I use wooden ones and their plus is their lightness which gives my hands a rest. I am still getting used to the seat frame from The Crewelwork Company which I am hoping will take care of my hand problem. I found cotton twill tape on Amazon in various sizes, fyi. I have NOT tried the Manor wider hoops but plan to do so soon. I will certainly be interested in your article and conclusions. Best, Charlotte

  58. Hi Mary! Great question. I always use a hoop, and although I do also use wooden ones, I prefer my plastic ones, the Susan Bates Hooplas with the inner lip to hold the fabric tight. They are lightweight, even when large, which I appreciate, and I find they grip the fabric very well. For my last project, I tried an Anchor Sparkle Hoop, which is much the same idea, but with glitter embedded in the plastic 🙂 I find it’s very difficult to find good quality, affordable wooden hoops at the moment and I’d also love some odd sizes – I have a vintage 7″ wooden hoop that I use a lot and I’d love to have a plastic version!

  59. Since I’m 80 and going strong, I have a lifetime of counted thread embroidery that I have made over the years. Of course I didn’t ever use a hoop for any of those pieces…even the gigantic ones that adorn the walls of my house.

    Now that I am arthritic and still loving to stitch, I have resorted to smaller pieces. Namely, Mary Corbet’s amazing towel collections that she offers us now and then. And that requires a hoop. I do use a small one and I don’t like holding it one bit. My fingers complain big time. So I use a 6″ wooden hoop that holds the towels securely enough for me to do my stitching.

    New shoulder coming after the first of the year and I’m not looking forward to being in a brace or whatever it’s called for six weeks. I guess that’s important for healing if I recall from my left shoulder replacement. This should be my last one before I consider myself bionic. I set off all sorts of bells and whistles at the TSA!

  60. I rarely use a hoop. That being said if I do it is usually a small wooden one
    No particular brand. I prefer a frame such as a K table frame or floor frame. I have a problem holding something in my left hand for very long. Using a frame also allows me to use both hands when stitching on linen or canvas.

  61. My hoop is the one my sister found and now produces as “The French General Hoop”. It holds my fabric tight and doesn’t hurt my stitches. It’s light and lovely and could be used as a frame all on it’s own!

    1. Hi, Molly – I just left this comment in reply to another comment, regarding the French General hoop with the spring on it: “Do they make a hoop besides the one with the spring for the outside ring? I couldn’t justify reviewing their spring hoop when I tried it. I couldn’t find anything positive about it. The fabric has to be constantly adjusted, which makes a hoop pretty pointless in my mind. I’m curious to know if they have other types!”

  62. I have Philippa’s (Turnbull) hoops and holder for sitting on and I have tried to use it. I have done 2 tours with Philippa and used her hoop system while in classes. I have really tried to learn to use a hoop and I just can’t make it work for me. I put everything on stretcher bars and use my Lowry floor frame. I do a lot of canvas work so the stretcher bars make more sense but I also put my cross stitch projects and the crewel work projects on stretcher bars. I love the Evertite bars but because of the expense have only a few sets. I found after using stretcher bars for a couple of recent crewel projects that blocking was almost unnecessary and there was no extra pinning, etc involved because I blocked the pieces before I took them off the stretcher bars.

  63. I use Hardwick Castle – both with and without sticks. I prefer the 1” hoops – they feel sturdier. I have them in all sizes but most often use 6-8” for small work and a 10” for big works . I like the oval shape as well for rectangular work. I always wrap my hoops.

    1. Hi, Kana – Do they make a hoop besides the one with the spring for the outside ring? I couldn’t justify reviewing their spring hoop when I tried it. I couldn’t find anything positive about it. The fabric has to be constantly adjusted, which makes a hoop pretty pointless in my mind. I’m curious to know if they have others!

  64. Hello Mary,
    I always look forward to the topic of the day; you always amaze me with the size of your vocabulary on descriptive words! Bibelots? Gewgaws? Amusing! 🙂
    I used to use a hoop, but in the last couple of years I have moved to using mini stretcher bars and I love them! I fasten my piece around the edges with brass tacks (no rust!), and it keeps my project completely tight throughout the stitching process. Plus, I think it allows more usable space for stitching. When done, I always launder my piece (a necessary task), give the piece a good squeeze dry between some towels, then I re-stretch the piece back onto the mini stretcher bars to dry. I like them so well, I got rid of all my Q-Snaps!

  65. My general “go to” hoops are Hardwick Manor — 4″ & 5″, 3/8″ width, and 6″ & 7 1/2″, 5/8″ width. Inner ring wrapped with twill tape.

  66. I like a lot of options. My initial reaction was my hardwood hoops. But, I use frames and flat tacks a lot. The Q snap has been the right thing for both wool Christmas stockings and fragile metallic silk. So, I am of no help to you.

  67. I definitely prefer wooden hoops. My favourite hoop has a deep ring and goes with my stand that I sit on ,well tucked under my thigh . It’s comfortable and allows both hands to be used .The screw tightens easily to make the fabric drum tight .

  68. I use a hoop all the time. I have hoops from 4 inches to 15 inches. I also like to clip them into a stand of some type I have a floor stand (Edmunds) and a table clamp and a stand you can sit on. Some of my hoops are ovals from my Grandmother. All of my hoops are wooden and have tightening screws. I’ve tried to embroider without a hoop…………..results terrible! My hoops live on hooks in my work room ready for service.

  69. Well, I have several… for dishcloths I use the plastic with squeezer… for small 3 or 4 ins I don’t use a hoop…(in process of making small ornaments for 12 days mantel scarf! ) I also have a lap hoop made by an Amish man… it’s 20 in and I use it for hand quilting and embroidery.

    I am finishing up Christmas items…then in Jan plan to start on Crabapplehill designs with coloring first!!!

  70. When I need a hoop, my go-to is a Bates “Hoop-la”. I use it “lip” up (high-tension) for tambour, punch needle, goldwork, stumpwork and silk ribbon and “lip” down for any other type of surface embroidery. I don’t go much above a 7″ round with the plastic hoop. I switch to an English wooden 3/8″ thick for anything larger.

  71. I use a very, very old metal round hoop (has a little metal spring on outer side) this hoop belonged to my Mother. I covered it with white muslin and it has served me well for many years. I also have several hoops – bamboo, plastic and still prefer the metal ones.

  72. I use the Morgan hoop combo 7 and 10 inch. The 7 inch side is great for corners and smaller projects. The hoops really hold the fabric taut.

    I also like hoop on a stick for smaller projects.

  73. It’s been a longtime dice I have embroidered. Life seems to have its twists, but embroidery is still my love. Generally, I like to hold the linens in my hands to embroider, if there is pulled or drawn thread to be done, I prefer a good quality wooden hoop. The small plastic spring hoops are good for small on-the-go projects. I learned about gauze wrapped wood hoops from Ilse Altherr in a Strawberry Sampler class I too from her years ago. The gauze does protect the linen from hoop marks.

    This is an interesting topic. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am thankful for Mary and her talented gifts of embroidery that she share with all of us.

  74. I meant to say Hardwick Manor in my post .
    I should also say that all of mine are several years old and not the newer ones made since they were taken over. Some have observed that the hardware in the newer ones doesn’t hold up as well.

  75. Greetings stitchers! I use a hoop, these days the tension ones from I think Susan Bates. Thread can still get snagged, but not like it can with the little screws. I don’t use a hoop with Sashiko, I was taught not to use one , maybe leaving a bit of slack on the stitched threads helps with the lack of hoop. I’m thinking of getting the hoop that has the base you sit on, used to have one 45 years ago, can’t remember if I liked it! Can Anybody share their thoughts? I also haven’t used a slate frame in years, too much work to set up ! Happy day everyone!

  76. Hi Mary,

    Generally, I try to avoid a hoop. I never use one for Crewel embroidery as I prefer either a slate frame or a roller frame to hold my fabric taut. I’ve always found that a hoop distorts the fabric by stretching it across the grain. I know that when the fabric is blocked it removes the ring but I don’t block all of my embroidered pieces (other than the Crewel). I am also aware of the cling film (seranwrap?) method to avoid the ring, but I still prefer my fabric to be stretched on a rectangular frame to align the grain of the fabric
    Sometimes, if I’m teaching a new embroiderer basic stitches, I’ll use one of the Madeira sprung machine embroidery hoops. I’m a fan of using Rowandean embroidery kits for teaching, as students get almost instant gratification by completing a project with a few basic stitches, and the Madeira hoops are perfect. I have also used the plastic R&R clip frames. They don’t keep the fabric as taut as a slate frame and need to be tightened from time to time, but work very well for projects that are on and off the frame. I have been known to use a quilting hoop for hand quilting and that works well because the fabric is not stretched, but for embroidery, I’d rather not.

    1. Sally-Ann – The cling method is where you put the film over your fabric before loading it in the hoop. You tighten the hoop with the film and the fabric together and then cut through the film to do your stitching. You leave the film around the edges of the fabric so that the fabric doesn’t “scorch” against the wood of the frame. This is the method used by Phillipa Turnbull of the Crewel Work Company and it’s said to work although I’ve not tried it. I still prefer to mount my embroidery on a square or rectangular frame.

  77. Per your blog, I purchased Hardwicke Manor hoops and I’m glad I listened to you. They’re very smooth and well-made.

  78. I mostly use those ubiquitous colorful plastic ones, sometimes the old metal ones with cork around the inside ring and a spring on the outside one. I am interested to see the outcome of this as I would like to get a good wooden hoop but don’t know where to start.

  79. I have a number of hoops made of plastic that have a spring loaded metal inner ring that is easier to manage for me than the screw hoops. When I use a hoop (not always a given) that’s the one I most often go to. I have no idea what the brand is–all it says on the hoop itself is “Ages Ring–DGBM.” I’ve had them for years (20, 30? who knows).

  80. I use The Crewelworks Company’s set of hardwood hoops and stand. I have three sets of hoops to go with the stand so I can easily change out my work without changing the work in my hoop. I think they’re marvelous!

  81. I have just finished buying new
    F.A. Edmunds embroidery hoops all with adjustable screws. I like the feel of the hoop and I can get these hoops drum tight while stitching. I have used frames to stitch needlepoint projects with I shattered my shoulder a couple of years ago and have stopped doing large projects.

  82. I generally prefer Q-Snaps for larger projects as they are easy to move from one section to another and won’t leave any marks should I forget to take them off at the end of the stitching session. For small things, i.e. ornaments, I will grab a good quality hoop. As I am a “sit in your recliner and watch TV while stitching” kind of stitcher I am not a fan of large frames.

  83. I love to work in a wooden hoop with inner ring wrapped with strip of fabric, especially if I need to use a stand to hold the work. That lets me use both hands.

    Love to work in the hand if doing sewing type stitches.

    If doing lots of French knots and stab stitches I like to work in a frame.

  84. Re: hoops. I use both hoops and slate frames. I prefer wooden hoops over plastic; both rings of the hoop bound in cotton tape. And I prefer slate frames to roller frames. The slate frame is useful when the design is too large to fit within the hoop, while hoops are better for smaller designs.

  85. If it holds fabric I have tried it. For small items (up to 12″) I have a selection of the Hardwicke Manor hoops and I wrap with a thin strip of quilting cotton the inner frame. I do really like and use most the “square” hoops. If I am going to be placing the frame on and off – and especially if there is a quantity of excess fabric I have pinned to the side – I use Q-Snaps. They don’t have the same tension but work well enough. If I am using silk or doing goldwork, I use a slate frame. If I am doing canvaswork I staple to stretcher bars – the narrow ones if possible. I do have a use a fanny frame and have the adapter to hold my hoops. When I demo I do use the spring tension hoops, as I move the fabric to new areas as needed and tend to need to do it quickly. Perhaps even more important is I tend to use a frame weight(s) to keep my hands free. Hope this helps.

  86. I really like the white, round clamp frames. It is easy for me to work with and keeps my work tight. It doesn’t damage or pucker the material. I also have a System 4 stand that accommodates the frames.

  87. I’m boring, I just use a basic screw type wooden hoop. I have a couple of plastic ones with a spring clip but, for me, they don’t hold the fabric tightly enough.

  88. Hoop “la” I happen to like scroll frames best for most of my embroidery. They can switch projects easily and can be used in floor frames and once the tension is established there is no fiddling. Of all the hoops that are available, I prefer the English or German style that are an inch deep and have a brass screw tension set and can be set in a floor frame. Their only drawback is that the floor frame (or fanny frame) is specific and they aren’t easily put into a clamp type. I must admit to a collection of hoops, 3 antiques (my mother’s) and a number of those imported from China, (bamboo) and the English/German type in a variety of sizes.

  89. I have a seat frame from the Crewel Company. I also have a 5 inch hoop that’s an antique, wound with silk twill! I only use it for doing handkerchiefs. I prefer the seat frame because I can use both hands.

    When I was last at the SF School of Embroidery, they had a barrel attachment that attaches to a tabletop. They use Hardwicke Hoops.

    But I’d prefer to sit in a comfy chair with my lamp!

  90. Hi Mary,

    When I need a new hoop, I usually go to eBay or the like and look for older hoops. I like the construction and the fact that an older, used hoop has a smoother worn surface. Plastic doesn’t appeal to me much at all, unless the color makes a gift look better when it’s left in the hoop to give to someone. I also like springs over turn-screws because my fingers are not strong.


  91. I only started doing embroidery about 18mths or so ago.. I started with Nurge embroidery Hoops but despite wrapping the hoop with fabric and tightening the screw with a screwdriver my fabric comes loose within 30mins so it’s no longer drum tight, which is rather annoying.. So I have just bought a Klass & Gessmann hoop(I didn’t realise until after I bought one that these aren’t being made by Klass & Gessmann anymore, so hoping that they are still as good as you reviewed them, Mary)!

  92. Friends don’t let friends use cheap hoops. The only brand I use and insist my students use are the Access Commodities wooden hoops. I wrap both rings with soft cotton fabric wound very tightly. I especially like the variety of shapes available. You will need a small screwdriver to adequately tighten the screw. These are also the only hoops we use in our church needlework guild for delicate embroidery on communion linens. I can’t say enough good things about these hoops. A truly quality product.

  93. My “hoop” is actually a timber frame of the requisite size onto which I attach the cloth using an Ozito nail stapler. Great tension and the cloth doesn’t slacken during the life of the project. The finished project is levered off the frame using a screw-driver to release the staples.
    The frame is typically made for purpose of 12mm Nstock, mitred with keyed corners for strength, sanded and coated with varnish to eliminate any source of abrasion. I concede the staples damage the frame, but the frames are sacrificial, though most of my frames have been used for multiple projects. The embroidery “hoops” are bolted onto a floor-standing frame, so that the work may be tilted to whatever angle suits, the back is accessible, and both hands are free for embroidery.

  94. I like to stitch with two hands so will only consider options for that.

    Mostly I useThe Crewelwork Company sitting stand and hoops with plastic wrap.

    I also like a Q snap seated frame and a Millenium Frame depending on the project.

    All three options are excellent.

  95. Hi, Mary, Your newsletter is wonderful and your work is exceptional. While I don’t do a lot of hand embroidery anymore, many of the stitches you showcase can easily be utilized in counted cross stitch, which is my passion.

    On to the question at hand. I have never liked hoops. For me, it is difficult to get the tension right without distorting the fabric. And usually, at some point, the hoop has to be placed over previously completed stitches, and that is problematic.

    For small ornaments and such, I sometimes stitch ‘out of hand.’ For larger projects – pillows, samplers and the like, I use a frame – roller bars with the side spacer bars. I usually use the split rail type, never the ones that use temporary glue strips to hold the fabric. For small to medium projects, my favorite thing to use is a single 3/8” diameter plastic rod with a channel the length of it, and a plastic stop on one end. You thread the end of the fabric through the open end of the channel, much like the split rail frame, then roll up the rest of the fabric around the rod. A long straight pin inserted through the fabric at the ends holds everything in place. This low tech implement is a step between out of hand and a frame, which works very well for me. Unfortunately, I can’t find them for sale anymore.

    Thanks for asking, and listening!

  96. Hi Mary
    In the UK we seem to be quite limited on makes of hoop but I have found over the years that the better the quality, the better the hoop.
    A good deep hoop of 1″ , with inner hoop bound in bias tape is the best. Make sure the screw adjustment is solid – cheapo eastern imports bend easily, very easily!
    Tension is easier to maintain to drum tight with the solid brass screw adjustment and screw driver.
    I personally have no preference between frame and hoop as it depends on the type of embroidery and size of project. Goldwork or stumpwork unless very small is far better in a frame and ideally a slateframe.
    I also find the plastic hoops by Madeira very good for small quick projects. I don’t know if they are available in the USA. They have a groove in the plastic outer ring, in the inside and a sprung metal ring that holds the fabric at a reasonable tension. The fabric is laid over the plastic circle and the spring inner pushed in and released to tension. They are also great for machine embroidery as they have shallow profile that fits easily under the foot.
    Happy stitching
    PatsyAnn – UK

  97. I love the evertight frame. I can get my fabric drum tight and it does not lose tension. I can put them in my needlework stand to leave both my hands free. I also have an older 6″ hoop by Ever Sewn. It is plastic with an inner bump to help hold the fabric. It holds fabric nice and tight. Other plastic hoops that are similar do not seem to hold the fabric as nicely. But whenever possible, I use the evertight frames.

  98. I have several sizes of beech hoops that I have used on and off for the last 40 years. I have never needed to replace them but have wondered about using a deeper hoop such as a quilters hoop. I use a free standing Elbsee stand to hold my hoops. I have a large scroll frame that my dad made for me around 35 years ago on which I can work on larger projects. I see many people working with their work flat on tressells and wonder if there is a specific reason for this, is it only for certain types of embroidery or is it just choice- how an individual has been taught etc. I love the news letters and enjoy seeing how individual we all are but still have a connection. As I do not know anybody in person that enjoys embroidery i am grateful for social media for bringing us together. Thank you

  99. I use a hoop for smaller projects especially if I am likely to travel with them. I prefer a frame for large projects. I have a slate frame and several with the rollers. The slate frame was a find at a yard sale. I have wood and plastic hoops but prefer wood. I think they hold better.

  100. Hello. I work in a round deep frame on a stand (usually a sit-upon) when ever I can as it allows me to use both hands. I find the deep frame – 2cm – bound with light weight cotton tape holds my work taut for longer.

  101. I use an old, cork-lined 6″ metal hoop I inherited from my Grandma. Instead of a screw for tension, it uses a small spring – which also means it doesn’t have the sticky-outy-catch-on-stuff problem. I don’t think you can buy them anymore, not new anyway. Maybe a vintage one on Etsy, though you’d probably pay dearly for it.

    There is such thing as a French style hoop that uses a metal ring and a spring that goes all along the outside. I’d be interested to try one, but those are too expensive ($25 for a 4″!) for something I might not like. Plus my old one works just fine.

  102. I only use a wooden or bamboo hoop wrapped in gauze for small stuff. I work much better in a Q-snap frame for mid sized things and a slate frame or Japanese frame for the big stuff that absolutely cannot move. Stretcher bars are only for class projects where they insist on them

  103. I used a wider wooden hoop for an embroidery class once, and have been using them ever since. When I go back to a regular narrow hoop now, it just doesn’t feel right. my hoops are from nurge

  104. My hoops (I have every size made) are big enough to contain the entire project. They range in size from 2”-20” round and 8 x 14 and 10 x 17” oval for embroidery and I have a small and medium with an oval end and straight end for hand quilting borders. I am well prepared for any need plus I have a 6” square hoop which I bought because it was square. So it matters not what I am doing I always have what I need not only for myself but also for my hoop less friends. I think embroidery needs to be hooped to prevent tension issues.

  105. I used a wider width wooden hoop for a class once and became addicted. Now when I use a normal narrow one it feels funny to hold. My hoops are mostly Nurge.

  106. I prefer scroll frames to an embroidery hoop. The tension is more consistent and even. I tend to work cross stitch and pulled thread work on linen. So, perhaps I would consider a hoop for other types of needlework techniques. Looking forward to the conversation!

  107. I’ve been much happier using scroll frames for needlework, always with a floor frame because of hand pain and numbness. If it’s a small piece I just stitch some muslin at the top and bottom to extend it. RolaFrames work beautifully for smaller projects. And I just love love love my Quantum Frames. Can’t say enough good things about working with them.

    Still keep a wooden hoop (Hardwicke Manor, probably? bought from Needle in a Haystack) because you never know. The “fanny frame” and I aren’t that compatible; I got back pain because of having to sit unevenly. There’s a lovely table clamp version that works really well for me.

  108. It depends. If the design fits in a 6 to 8 inch hoop and the finishing won’t be outside of the hoop lines I like a 5/8 deep wooden hoop with the inner ring bound. I prefer one on a stalk so I may use a seat stand.
    If it is a very complicated piece like goldwork or stumpwork or I think I won’t finish it in a short amount of time I prefer a slate frame. Or for anything with lumpy stitching (bullion’s etc)
    If it is for bits of detached work as in stumpwork I like a bates plastic hoop, again not larger than 8 inches.
    I find all hoops greater than 8 inches don’t really hold the amount of tension in the ground fabric I like. (Even of wrapped)

  109. I heartily dislike juggling a wooden hoop so my choice is the frame made from pipe (instructions on Kathy Shaw’s blog…. I love it! Leaves my hands free to control the needle and threads and sits quite nicely on my table or in my lap. If the piece I’m working on happens to be too small to fit I just add some scrap fabric to the outside.

  110. I prefer stretcher bars for my embroidery. Once the piece is mounted I do not have to remove it until it is complete. With a hoop you must remove it when you are finished for the day or for a larger piece you need to keep shifting it around. I like once and done.

  111. My favorite is a wooden hoop. I’ve wrapped the inner ring with muslin. I do crazy quilting and find a 12″ hoop works perfectly for a 9″ block. The block is attached to a 14″ square of muslin. It’s important that the hoop doesn’t go through the block with all the stitching and embellishments.

  112. While I like a good wooden hoop, I have fallen in love with the hoops with a spring clamp. I hold the clamp in my hand to avoid catching threads.

    Stretcher bars are my go to for when I need two hands.

  113. My favorite is my no-slip Morgan 5 inch hoop featuring a tongue-and-groove construction that holds fabric securely in place. The large screw and wing nut can snag my thread now and then. I recently purchased a Clover 4 1/2 hoop but haven’t used it yet. The new Clover covers the screw so that thread would not get snagged, but it does not have the tongue and grove to hold fabric. Clover large gold eye (235) needles are my favorite.

  114. I use a 6 in wooden hoop. I’ve never found a hoop that doesn’t need me to re-tighten the cloth, but þ deal with it. Suggestions would be welcome.

  115. I use a 6 in wooden hoop. I’ve never found a hoop that doesn’t need me to re-tighten the cloth, but I deal with it. Suggestions would be welcome.

  116. My hoop is totally wooden, bound with bias binding tape. If I have a larger piece as I do now I use a frame (from Needleneeds – best I’ve ever found!), sitting on a stand.
    Some time ago I was “convinced” to purchase a plastic hoop. Agh – never again. It slipped and slid, did not hold the material. Hopeless.

  117. I have a six inch wooden hoop I bought when 14 years old many years ago. It does a great job when I do embroidery but mostly do counted cross stitch in hand now and some canvas work.

  118. My favorite is the 6″ French Embroidery Hoop from French General. They make a smaller one and a larger one, but I find this one to be perfect! Now that I have mastered the coil, I won’t use anything else!

  119. I prefer frames over hoops, especially for large pieces. I sometimes use a hoop for small pieces. I just don’t like to have to remove the stretch marks from hoops.

  120. My main hoops are all 7/8” thick Hardwicke Manor hoops (bought at your suggestion). I have one that’s a hoop on a stick, and it’s definitely my favorite. My only real problem with them is that I tend to strip the screws. I also have one Anchor plastic hoop that I bought for quick little things. It’s terrible!

    Mostly, I work on frames—either slate frames or millennium frames—and use a set of trestles. I keep the hoops for doodle cloths, little travel projects, and making stumpwork elements.

  121. Hardwicke Manor is the best available now. The very best hoop I ever had, though, was from the Erica Wilson shop in NYC, back in the ’70’s, when it was a wonderful and friendly place. They gave classes with only 5 or 6 students in each, and I bought my floor stand, hoop, and stork scissors while taking beginning crewel. I don’t think we ever knew the manufacturer.

  122. Interesting question. I rarely use a hoop. However, I do use a frame, but only for canvas items. If I am stitching on fabric, I do it in hand without a hoop. The exception is for any pulled or drawn work. That gets put into a frame, and I’m very careful about where I put my tacks.


  123. I don’t use a hoop at all. I mostly do cross stitch and other counted thread work. I have stitched your sunflower with the woven petals. Sometimes when I’m doing pulled thread or hardhanger pieces I wonder if I should use a hoop but it doesn’t tend to get further than that. If I was going to do silk shading, I have a hoop with a soft plastic ring that stretches over a plastic base. I would use that or a slate frame.

  124. I usually use a stand floor embroidery hoop with interchangeable Hardwicke Manor hoops in different diameter and width ( 5/16, 5/8 or 7/8) depending on the project size and fabric thickness. These birch hardwood hoops are super strong to use with thick fabrics or when you need more support in a big size project.

    I use Susan Bates hoops when the size of the project is not too big or the fabric thickness requires a lighter embroidery hoop. For cross stitch with Aida fabric, and for Stumpwork technique I prefer to use the Japanese brand Clover because they are strong enough to keep drum tight the fabric. These two brands are perfect for me when I am stitching during a trip.

    Sometimes I use a bamboo 3 inches diameter embroidery hoop to stitch tiny things or when the piece of fabric is too small.

    The embroidery hoop preference for me is depending on the situation and project, but I always prefer my Hardwicke Manor hoops wrapped with twill tape.

  125. I tend to use stretcher bars for the majority of my needlework (plus my Just a Thought frame stand), but when I use a hoop, it’s almost always a Hardwicke Manor hoop that I purchased from Threadneedle Street in Washington state. I have the middle width (5/8 inch).

    What I like best about this hoop is how smooth the wood is. I have wrapped the inner ring as per your tutorial and the outer ring is so nicely finished that there is no chance of my fabric being damaged. I also like the very heavy brass hardware. The screw tension can be really tight, which I like. The screw can be tightened past ‘finger tight’ with a small flathead screw driver for that perfect ‘drum tension’.

    These hoops are pricy. $15 to $20 US plus shipping, but worth it.

  126. This is a timely discussion indeed as I’m casting about for the ideal hoop(s) for my current ongoing project. I’m creating hand embroidered towels to display in my kitchen for all the holidays throughout the year. I recently completed a Halloween design from Urban Threads and just in the nick of time I completed your Festive Fall design to go on display on November 1st. I am currently working on a Christmas design. I’ve used various frames and hoops over the years but I usually default back to plain 4″ or 6″ yellow plastic hoops I’ve had for more than 30 years (maybe Susan Bates?) with a screw-type tightening system. These don’t have an extra ridge to help hold the fabric. I tried one of those and HATED it. I felt like it damaged the fabric and any previously worked embroidery that was under the ridge even though I only keep the work in a hoop when actually actively working.

    I’m an inveterate sewing-style embroiderer. It’s much, much faster for me and I also find I get far fewer thread nests and knots on the back when I do the sewing method. I’ve tried and tried to convert to the stab method with a frame or hoop in a stand for sharp needle embroidery, but I always go back to the sewing method and a hoop held in my hand, never larger than 6″. I’m finding lately that the 4″ hoop is best for my hands.

    That being said, I am starting to have trouble tightening down the nuts on those favorite hoops I’ve had forever, not because the hoops or nuts are wearing out in any way, but because my hands are. So I’m thinking of trying the Hardwicke Manor hoops that tighten with a screwdriver. I have one of the ones that attaches to a fanny frame and I tried it recently when I was once again attempting to do stab stitching for a time and I loved being able to use an ergonomically-handled screwdriver to loosen and tighten the hoop, but I can’t decide what height of hoop will be best. The ones I have that came with the fanny frame are 7/8″ and way too tall for hand-held embroidery. I want to try both the 5/8″ and 3/8″ before I buy, or at least hold before I buy, but I have to travel over 2 hours in unpredictable traffic to get to Needle in a Haystack, the nearest place I can find that carries those hoops. I might just have to order an assortment.

    So in the meantime while dithering over the Hardwicke Manor hoop sizing question, I ordered a 6″ Q-snap frame on a lark, and surprisingly, I really like it. It’s what I used for Festive Fall and it felt nice in my hands and was a “snap” to use each time I hooped and un-hooped the work. I liked being able to easily adjust the tension with the side pieces. Depending on the individual stitch I’m working, sometimes I like a little more tension and sometimes a little less. Tight for French Knots, looser for stem stitch, tighter for split stitch, looser for satin stitch, etc, so I’m constantly adjusting tension when I work in a hoop and this frame facilitates that nicely.

    I’ll watch this space for other options. Thanks for starting this discussion Mary!

  127. I use several hoops. The ones I like are ones you sit on. I can use 2 hands and it sits in front of me at just the right height.
    I bind both circles of the hoop with tape so that the wood doesn’t damage the embroidery or the fabric.
    I have tried holding the hoop in my hand, and I’ve tried anchoring it to the table with little tools. But I don’t like either because
    they are not associated with me. I have to fiddle around trying to get myself wrapped around the hoop instead of it being
    right in front of me at just the right height.
    I also use wood frames that I have to anchor the fabric to with drawing pins and I like them a lot because if you buy the right
    frames, you can alter the tension of the fabric by increasing the size of the frame with little screw at each corner. The problem
    with this is that I also have to fix the frame onto a standing or table top device to hold it so that I can use two hands and
    then I have the same problem that is that I have to wrap myself around it. I like the hoops that I can sit on best. I only use
    the wood frames if the hoops are too small.

  128. I only cross stitch, and have been doing some larger projects lately.
    When I first started stitching I got one of those light blue plastic hoops. Works fine even now but I got a Needlework System 4 stand with a clamp, so I’ve branched out to Rolaframe scroll bars which have really done a great job for me. I have them in several sizes now, and am impressed.

    I’m not sure I have an actual favorite hoop, except that I do like the sturdy beauty of the Access Commodities/Hardwicke Manor hoop. (8.5″ not sure of depth). Using it simply pleases me.

    When I learned about binding hoops (from this site) I bound an old cheap hoop that had an ancient 25 cent price sticker on it. Flimsy and fragile, not much depth, but much stronger when bound, and perfectly useful, especially in my stand clamp.

    I’ve even bound some of my plastic hoops, I do think it helps with tension.

  129. I always hoop when background is cotton or similar weight. I never hoop when embroidering either on wool or wool appliqué on cotton or flannel.

  130. My favorite go to is a ten inch (square) Harwick hoop. I have (and use) a Rolaframe, q-snaps, a Morgan hoop, an American Needle system and many different plastic and old aluminum hoops but I always seem to go back to my trusty wooden hoop. I guess it was good enough in the 1800s and it still works well for me today.

  131. I hold my embroidery in my hand. With over 60 years of embroidery and other types of needle art under my belt (oh that is what that is, I thought I had gained weight), I have tried everything out there. My favorite is the Morgan hoop. I like the ridge on the inside ring, it holds my fabric tight without loosening and shifting.

    Looking forward to seeing your article.

  132. I like the Harwicke Manor hoops, especially the thicker type-I find them easier to hold. I would like to try Evertite frames though. I don’t care for plastic hoops.

  133. I use a plastic hoop because it is not as rough as the wood hoops. But I found this amazing tape that I put around the inner hoop that keeps my fabric from slipping. Its called Hoop Grip from Bear Thread Designs. It’s great!

  134. I use the Hardwicke Manor fanny frame and hoops on a stick- or lately the Hardwicke hoops on a stick with the floor stand from Jenny Adin-Christy. If I’m stitching something that can’t be in a hoop then I use a Millennium frame and stand from Needle Needs (that I waited forever on, but love). A regular handheld hoop of any type is just too hard on my hands and wrists these days.

  135. My go-to 4″ hoop is from Lo-Ran. Yes, it is plastic, but it holds the fabric pretty taut, and I’m a stickler about that.

    That said, I have never used a wooden hoop that I liked, but they may be because I did not know about twill tape. I’ve read so much about the Hardwicke Manor hoops that I purchased two and I’m looking forward to taking them for a spin soon (after I read Mary’s instructions again for prepping them).
    Wish me luck– Michelle R.

  136. I just use a bog standard 5 inch wooden hoop, that I buy from my local craft shop. I don’t even know if it has a brand name on it, but it works for me, that’s the main thing.

  137. I use a frame on a stand. I use DMC 8 cotton mostly with woven cotton and woven Japanese wools or silk and do free form stitching.

  138. I have two main hoops, a Singer and a Nurge. Both have very sturdy screw bases that do not flex when you tighten them. I always bind both parts of they hoop with strips of bias cut fabric for better grip.

  139. If possible I would always use a frame – the tension is better and it is easier to clamp or support to leave both hands free. I don’t begrudge the extra time setting up because for me the results are better – even on a good wooden hoop with both rings bound with ironed cotton bias binding tape.

    But I will use a hoop if (a) the work is too big for any of my frames; or (b) it’s something small and a frame would be wasteful of fabric; or (c) it’s a very short term experiment; or (d) it’s at a workshop and a hoop is quicker to set up. Then I use a sit on embroidery stand with a bound wooden hoop (but the smallest size available is 6 inches diameter which is sometimes too big to be economical of fabric).

    Unfortunately new UK wooden embroidery hoops have a nut that you tighten with your fingers. It’s not as good as the older ones you can use a screw driver on.

  140. Elbesse quilting hoops, wrapped inner, used for embroidery. I have the 8″ and I’m waiting for the 6″ and 10″ which are in the post. I like the depth of the hoops as I’m very naughty and don’t take my work out of the hoop for the whole time. I’m afraid I’m very slow, so doubly naughty as the item can be in there for months.

  141. Well, I own several hoops – most vintage. I rarely use a hoop as I stitch primarily counted thread (sampler and primitive). When I do use a hoop, I use a nice wooden, German made hoop. For my stitching I use whatever the project needs. Right now I am using stretcher bars, but 2 projects are on scroll frames and 3 or so are in hand. I am contemplating a very long project and I am considering scroll frames mounted “sideways”. Suggestions appreciated.


  142. I’ve never had any luck keeping a hoop tight. I have tried expensive ones cheap ones even my moms vintage metal ones. I’ve tried wrapping the bottom part of the hoop, the top part of the hoop nothing seemed to keep my work tight, until I found a snap frame . Now that is all I use. I have them in a 4×4 all the way up to 20×24 . I wrap all my frames in white bias tape and it keep everything nice and tight with the add bonus of not crushing my embroidery.

  143. I have this: 20cm-8-embroidery-hoop-with-stalk

    I like that the hoop has a nice depth to it, so that fabric feels very secure and rarely needs tightening up. I use it with a seat frame, so it tucks under my thigh and sits up in a good position for stitching. I really, really like it.

  144. The hoop I use depends on the project. For embroidery I alternate between my Hardwick Manor wooden hoop (I have 3 sizes), plastic Morgan hoop (I have 2 sizes), or a plastic Susan Bates hoop (I have multiple sizes). For needlepoint I always use wooden stretcher bars or scroll bars with one of my floor stands.

  145. I’m so excited for the snowflakes to be released … I can’t wait! I’m itching to be stitching on them! For hoops … the stitches I most often use–stem and outline–don’t lend themselves to the hoop. But when I’m doing French knots, back stitching or other stitches that work better with a stable ‘canvas’, I have two hoops I like. One is a generic 6″ plastic purple hoop by Anchor. Let me be clear. It’s my favorite because it is purple. LOL! I use it for small stitcheries. I really like to be able to see my project in its entirety, if that’s at all possible. So if I’m stitching something bigger, I use my 14″ F. A. Edmunds wood hoop. It’s really for hand quilting, but handwork is handwork! Both of those hoops are wrapped to protect my projects, something I learned in a crazy quilting course I took from Kathy Shaw! 🙂 Have a happy Sunday! 🙂

  146. For me, the hoop depends on the project. For something like a crazy quilt block with lots of embellishment, I use q-snaps sized to the foundation fabric so nothing gets crushed. For most surface embroidery, I use a wooden hoop covered with twill tape. The class I took recently in Ukrainian-style whitework has lots of eyelet stitches and I think I might need to work that one in hand to get the correct tension.

    1. Vanessa, that is a terrific idea about only hooping the foundation fabric. I do a lot of CQ and usually ending up giving up the hoop when the embellishments get to be too much in the way of the hoop.

    2. If I am CQing, I don’t use a hoop at all. Makes it too hard to smoothly embroider through all the layers.

  147. I inherited most my hoops from my Mother , who got them from her Grandmother. Most are bamboo, thin w/adjustable screws. I have a few metal hoops with springs; they have a cork ring inside them. While my Mom knew her stitches, she didn’t know about wrapping the inner ring. Over time, I have learned to wrap with natural linen, about an 1″ wide. Anything narrower, & the wrapping takes up too much space, making the outer ring very hard to impossible to get on. Lots of un-wrapping lately! Wooden hoops are what I prefer for the weight & feel of the hoop. Narrow or 1″ deep doesn’t matter – I just need to be able to clip a light or magnifier onto it. I do prefer a metal hoop if I am stitching up dish towels. Maybe because that is what my Mom used when she stitched up her. Either way, at the end of the stitching time, I always remove the hoop.
    Thanks for all that you have explored & shared with us. It is always a learning time for me when I visit your site.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.
    Gail in Georgia

  148. I have a lot of hoops and frames, two hoop stands, a lap hoop, several wood hoops and several spring hoops.

    My favourite when I want both hands free, is the one I can fix on a table, it’s a second hand hoops and nearly 100 years old.
    When I embroider small projects I prefer spring hoops (plastic outside, inside metall, don’t know their correct name).
    I definitely have more hoops than I need, but you never can have enough hoops and frames.

  149. I use wooden hoops most often, usually with the interior ring wound with cotton tape. And it’s only out of habit. I have frames, stands, and have some smaller cross stitch without any stabilising frame, but mostly it’s the 8 or 10 inch wooden hoop.
    I do confess, though, that I have the 8 inch plastic hoop I first used in sometime around 1967? Oh, that sounds so long ago, I was but a lass. But I mention it because I still use it for my ‘travelling project’. Something easy and small that I can take on a train to the city, or further afield. I also mention it because the ‘this way up’ writing along the edge has the working surface surrounded by the edge. Good for travelling if you drop your needle- it’s safe. I was learning from my mother, or from my own experimentation, so it was a very long time before I knew that the ring was usually turned the other way up. It was finally confirmed to me which way to turn the hoop when I went to my first RSN remote workshop in Glasgow. We were given hoops to work with that were on a stand and the only way up was determined by the clamp to the table. Unless you prefer your work to be knee level.

  150. I like to see as much of the piece I’m working on as possible, so that determines whether I use a hoop, for smaller pieces, or a frame for larger ones.

  151. I have tried so many hoops and keep going back to the small (pink, blue or green) Susan Bates hoop. I need to get my hands very close to the portion I am stitching and these seem to allow that. I have tried wooden ones and the kind that have a white plastic bottom ring and a rubber upper ring and didn’t like that I could adjust the tension. I have tried the square ones that are plastic and again I am not able to get my tension the way I like it.

  152. For years I was devoted to a Bates oval hoop, so much so that I’ve completely worn out at least 2. I liked them primarily because it was just easier for me to handle and maneuver when working. I now have a System 4 stand, and have been using a round Clover hoop, which had been in my stash for a few years and I never used. Once I started with it though, I now love it. It works very well with the stand and is solid and sturdy. I also have a French embroidery hoop, which I like very much with fine or delicate fabrics.

  153. For smaller projects I prefer a simple wooden hoop bound in binding and with a screw tightener, particularly useful for those I want to transport around in a sensibly sized bag.
    For a larger project that may take some months and is special I prefer a frame. Particularly for goldwork a proper heavy duty wooden slate frame that can maintain the drum tightness for many months.
    For Crewel work or just a large embroidery a plastic clip frame if I’m happy it won’t be super tight and will need adjusting – but easy to take in and out and transport. Or a roller frame, which is cheaper than a slate frame but will need tightening from time to time.

  154. My go to hoops are Hardwicke Manor with the inside ring bound with twill tape. I do tend to use frames and stretcher bars more often though. The hoops come out for smaller projects. I have the millennium frame, the Mark 2 floor stand and frame from Hearthside Craftworks, a slate frame from out of business Mythic Crafts and 3 sizes of Evertite stretcher bars.


  155. Hi, I have two hoops that I use of different sizes and materials. One hoop is wooden and the other of a plastic type material. I prefer the wooden hoop as it seems to hold the fabric a bit tighter as I am working. I am a novice but enjoy an occasional project.

    I enjoy reading your emails and learning new things.

    Thank you.

  156. Honestly I prefer not to use hoops, but if I must I prefer bamboo because it is flexible. I do not know if it is the way I pull thread or something else I do but rigidity seems to impact my ability to manipulate the threads and get the desired look and feel.

  157. it varies with what I am stitching. small projects that are easily held a wooded hoop. if it is a large project that I hard to hold… I use a frame that my husband made for me. it has a floor frame that will support the weight of larger projects.

  158. I do mostly counted work and prefer to use a frame made of stretcher bars, with the linen held in place by thumbtacks. This allows me to see the whole stitching area without wrinkles.

  159. I frequently use a hoop for my stitching. It is easy to hold in hand and stitch without making my left hand tired. It is a 6 inch diameter circular hoop by Hardwich Manor.

  160. I like the Klass and Gessmann, but not their extra wide one. The extra wide is too heavy to hold causing tendon issues from the inner wrist through the thumb in the hand holding it. The are beautifully made, super smooth, with heavy brass clamp/screw. Another favorite is the Frank A. Edmunds hoops. Again, super smooth and solid brass clamp/screw. I wold recommend them to anyone. As a matter of fact, my granddaughter just began showing interesting in learning embroidery and I bought her a Frank A Edmunds as her starter hoop.

  161. Hi Mary,

    I havent done vast sums of embroidery yet but for the sake of maintaining drum tightness for your work, I would heartily recommend Nurge deep wooden hoops. They are beautifully constructed and finished, making them a pleasure to handle in the first instance. The depth of the hoop (16mm) prevents the fabric from slipping and means you dont have to bind them. Added to that, the construction is robust enough that you can really tighten that screw! Ive tried a variety of differant hoops that have been recommended, but stumbled across this one when I attended the Inspirations conference in Adelaide South Australia last year and purchased one for a class I was doing. I wont ever look back!

    Kind Regards

  162. I’m not a good enough stitcher to make heirloom pieces, so I use a plastic clover hoop and have several sizes. One of the reasons I like it is because it keeps my fabric taut without wrapping the hoop. I used to use the Q snaps and I still do if I’m trying to do something counted.

    The Stitcher’s Christmas sounds incredible. I’m definitely not going to be late reading your emails. LOL Thanks again for all you do for us.

    1. Sorry, I meant Susan Bates for the plastic hoops, not Clover.

      I’ve though about a floor stand but I work in a recliner and can’t see how to make it work. If I ever manage to make a room where I can do all of my needlework, I’ll revisit the issue then.

  163. Hi,
    I like the Clover hoop that does not have exposed screws. My threads do not get caught up in screws or open space by the screws.

  164. As a younger lady with better eyesight, I often embroidered without a hoop. I found them cumbersome. Now I feel that I must use a hoop for necessary tautness of my fabric. Though I bought a smaller hoop 2 weeks ago and found that the metal tightening thingy is not as good as my older hoops from 30 years ago. I prefer the wood to the plastic hoops.

  165. For bigger tapestries I use a Q clip frame and a table mount (recent birthday present!). Otherwise I use wooden hoops, although I do have some plastic ones. One type I tried are the sprung plastic ones – with a large sprung piece of metal that fits inside the hoop and pinches the fabric. They are good with fine, densely woven fabric, but they can pull more open-weave or older linen out of shape (ask me how I know this). I also do not recommend them if the embroidery is a dense pattern as they can crush your sewing, although they work fine for cross stitch with only 1 or 2 threads. Otherwise I stick to the light, wooden frames that are easy to hold, but a bit of a brute for arthritic hands to tighten.

  166. My favorite hoop is not a hoop. I love my Evertite floor stand and frame because it’s hands free and I can adjust angle and position. I am not able to hold onto a hoop because of tremor so this makes life a lot easier.

  167. I have discovered that there is not a one and only hoop for all jobs it depends on what you are stitching.
    I like Q snaps for cross stitch, the fanny hoop for goldwork and silk shading and the plastic lip hoops for the small slip work done in stumpwork.
    I prefer evertites frames for needlepoint, scroll bars for large linen cross stitch pieces.

    Remain flexible as time passes and skills develop you maybe surprised to find that something you would never use is the right thing for the job at hand.

    First and foremost, Mary…thank you for weekly newsletters filled with great information and your website filled with a catalog list of unending tutorials and helpful topics. Now to HOOPS.
    I prefer to use wood hoops and my favorite sizes are the 7 1/4″ x 5/16 and 11″ x 1″round both from Hardwicke Manor. The 11″ is on my sit upon “fanny frame” by same company and I hand hold the 7″ or position it in my wood Elbesee table clamp. The table clamp is portable for travel and I do find it difficult to achieve just the right height for comfortable stitching with the “fanny frame”. I need to take more time in experimenting with this frame so I use it more often. I have wrapped the inner rings of both frames with cotton twill which I find helps to hold the fabric taught better than without the wrapping. Most important is that these frames have a tightening screw with notch in the head so I can use a small screw driver to effectively tighten the outer hoop quite easily. Hoops without this screw detail fail with respect to keeping fabric taught as my fingers cannot turn those flat head screws well enough to get proper tension. I do have an old plastic 6 1/2″ round light weight hoop that has a 3″ long screw using a wing nut to tighten down the outer hoop and screw head also has a notch. It’s far better than the wood splintery “craft” hoops found in big box craft stores. The only time I’ve used a plastic spring tension hoop is when I am do free motion sewing on my sewing machine.

  169. For many, many years, I’ve used a hoop (don’t know the brand name) that consists of a plastic or nylon or some such man-made material outer rim that has a squeeze metal springy inner ring which when inserted gives a drum tight and even tension, great for my cross stitch. The only problem with it is it crushes the stitches when placed over them so any stitches with dimension to them (bullion knots and ribbon work) have the potential of being destroyed, so recently I’ve been looking at things like scroll frames, stretcher bars and slate frames.
    I did get a Hardwicke fanny hoop but found it difficult to use – I move around and fidget a lot more than I thought I did and the distance from eye to hoop, which would have been OK when I first started stitching all those years ago, well, what can I say, my vision isn’t what it used to be so now I use drug store readers and LED lights to help. But if was looking for a wooden hoop I think I’d go with these, minus the stick of course. Bit of a fiddle wrapping around the inner hoop with the stick in the way but otherwise easy to load and unload. The materials used are quality and meant to last at least one person’s lifetime.
    I’m really interested to hear what other needle workers use, thanks for requesting input and I look forward to reading your summary in the future.

  170. The only hoop I have used and prefer are plastic with a lip. I don’t know the brand but they hold the tension very good. I really am not too fond of the wooden. As I am reading reviews I may look into a lap stand hoop because I have arthritis and my arms hurt some. I always just cross stitched iron thing until I decided to try your Holly Berries. Oh my they are a challenge for me. So I am looking for something to help make it easier.
    Love your articles!

  171. I have some semi-cheapo wooden hoops that I find serviceable, but most often I use the q-snap system. So, Not A Hoop. But I’ll be interested to see what people recommend, because I do like a hoop.

  172. I use those colorful plastic hoops with the lip – they’re readily accessible and inexpensive. I want to say they’re Susan Bates, but that might be wrong.

  173. I have a beechwood hoop with a wooden pin which I can place in a clamp. This hoop is at least twenty five years old. In some instances the clamp is to small to ‘grabe’ the edge of the table. It is because of this that I use a small glue clamp (normally used for wood working), with which I attach a small plank to the side of the table. The plank is sturdy but thin enough so that the ‘hoop clamp’ can be fixed to it. The only thing which I have added to the hoop over the years, is that I have warpped a strip of cotton round both the inside and de outside hoop. Now the grip of the hoop on the material on which I want to work is better. The hoop also allows me to work seated upright. This miht sound strange to some. Afer a loong session behind the hoop my back however ‘tells me’, that I have made the right choice.
    The disadvantage of the hoop is, that the material must be taken out of the hoop at the end of the session. The hoop leaves an impression on the fabric. I once, and only once, used to hoop to do a trial piece of gold embroidery on a velvet type of fabric. And I sincerely regretted using a hoop. The fabric had been compressed by the calmp to such an extend, that a permanet dent in the fabric had been ‘achieved'(to my dislike).

  174. It isn’t marked, but I prefer a hoop that I have that I believe is a Hardwicke Manor hoop. It is a good size, hard wood, very smooth, with very nice brass hardware. I have some other wood hoops, but you can easily see that their quality is not as good.

  175. Hoops are only one of several types of material stretchers. For canvas work, a frame on which to tack the material is essential. I use a scrolling type frame for long samplers. I’ve never used a slate frame. Hoops I use for crewel … those nice deep beautifully made British hoops whose name I can’t remember or find because I’ve wrapped them, and for everything else the same brand of wooden hoop in a narrower depth and in every size possible. I have some spring loaded metal hoops from my mother’s stash and a couple of plastic hoops from my youth, neither of which I use now. The metal spring catches thread (I don’t know how she ever used them!) and the plastic feels cold to my hands. So there you have my take on hoops.

  176. I love to use a wooden hoop with a screw that can be tightened with a screwdriver rather than just my fingers (because they hurt!) and I will then mount the hoop in a table clamp or sit on stand. I much prefer to embroider with both hands free.

  177. I generally like wooden hoops, usually with one or both rings wrapped in linen. This may be because I usually am taking my stitching with me on the go. In the last few years however I have learned to appreciated slate frames and like them for larger projects.

  178. I have 2 that I use: a 6″ Hardwicke Manor & a 5″ plastic one (can’t remember the brand).

    The wooden hoop I bought on Mary’s recommendation 🙂 & the plastic one came from a kit someone gave me. Both work well for my smaller travel projects.

  179. I mostly do small embroidery projects. I have a pile of inexpensive bamboo and lightweight wood hoops, a small Susan Bates plastic hoop that was recommended for needlepunch (and it does seem to work best at keeping the fabric drum tight while it’s being punched), Q-Snap frames that i primarily use for hand quilting…and my very favorite 8″ wood hoop, which probably was the standard from the Five and Ten Cent store when i bought it around 1970, but which is now pleasingly polished from so much handling and quite strong and sturdy.

  180. I love the plastic hoop with a ridge in the middle. It is sold as a “Yarnology” hoop at Hobby Lobby, and a ” Loops and Thread” at Michaels. I really like these hoops because the ridge in the middle really holds my material tight. I also like the colors

  181. I love my Morgan Hoop Lap Stand! I find it especially helpful when doing beadwork and because it’s on a stand it takes the pressure off my shoulders and my hands. Plus the base is also a hoop so you get two different hoop sizes.

  182. I have the Elbesee seat frame with three graduated hoops. I like having the different sizes, and the hoops are nice and firmly constructed, but I do find it annoying the way the hoop sags from the hinge unless tightened SO tightly that it hurts the fingers and is nearly impossible to undo when you want to, say, weave ends in on the back. I’ve taken to lifting the whole pole out of the base instead. You lose the benefit of the stand while working on the back, but it’s easier than messing about with the wingnut.

  183. I use different hoops. I do not like hoops with a lip on them.

    When I do embroidery demonstrations at reenactments at local events with our units I use a German made wooden hoop. It is probably about 6″ in diameter. It does have a screw on it. If we do events with our national group I cannot use a hoop with screw on it (unless it is well hidden and I have done that by putting a very small sleeve of fabric over the screw and through the hoop opening) so I use a 1950s wooden hoop of about the same size that has no screw. It is actually not as thick a hoop in height of the wood as it should be, but passes enough for approval from the national group.3

    For other embroidery I use one of several plastic hoops (with a screw) in varying sizes that I have had for so long that I do not know whose they are.

    We also have a large assortment of large wooden hoops with screws – round and oval – up to quilting size and Susan Bates plastic hoops with lip which are my husband’s that I can use if I need or want to. I am guessing we have maybe 3 dozen hoops among all of them in the varying sizes and material.

  184. When I do use a hoop, usually doing surface embroidery I prefer to use a hoop made by Hardwicke Manor.
    They are smooth and hold my fabric securely.
    They come in a variety of sizes and shapes including oval and a square/rectangle with rounded corners.
    I only use these hoops and I wrap the inner hoop with seam binding to prevent leaving a hoop mark on my fabric.

  185. I dont use a “hoop” per say, but beautiful wood frames made by “Needle Needs” in the UK. They come in several sizes and have a lap, and/or a floor stand thats works very well.

    I absolutely love these products. They’re easy to dress, and the tension can be easily adjusted by the large wooden screws on each side of the frame.

    But … I’m afraid, receiving any of these units in U.S. takes a good deal of time, as the business side of “Needle Needs” seems a bit disorganized. But in my “humble opinion” these units can’t be beat.

    Otherwise, I vote for the “Susan Bates” hoop. =)

    Happy Thanksgiving


  186. Dear Mary

    What a lovely selection here, especially all those goodies of the give-away Christmas surprise, I can’t wait especially The French Needle as they always have some exquisite things, and the floche, wonderful and the wooden tools great stuff, Oh I hope I win.
    I don’t really use a hoop as I always find the fabric becomes loose and I can’t seem to get it tight enough. So I tend to use the Millennium frame from Needle Needs which I love. Thank you for sharing with us this small news snips and for letting us know in advance the give-aways this year.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  187. When I use a hoop, I prefer a wooden one with the stick. I’ve used Phillipa Turnbull’s and Hardwick Manor’s versions both with a seat paddle. I have also used the RSN hoop with floor stand. I like the portability and ease of swapping hoops from my working piece to my doodle piece and back. If I am wearing a dress, I prefer the floor stand. Otherwise, the seat paddle works well with slacks. Some hoops can develop a droop with extended use. I notice Phillipa has changed the connection on hers to prevent this problem. In my humble opinion, a smooth finish, a good join to the stalk and solid screw connection is key.

  188. Dear Mary,
    To me embroidery is a special indulgence, as much about the tools, fabric and thread used, as the precious time spent. I try to use and make the best quality that I can. But I confess I have not done any embroidery for a while.
    Thick-sided Hardwick Manor hoops are my favourite hoops for small items and practice embroidery. They feel and look beautiful. I do not like to crush my work so prefer to use a frame for my large projects. Thank you.

  189. I love my Elbesee lap hoop….. best hoop I have bought to date. I bought it on Amazon but it came shipped to me directly from a vendor in England. It was so exciting to get a brown wrapped package with actual British Postage Stamps.
    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Stitching.

  190. I use the plastic Susan Bates hoops, with the lip on the inner ring, for three reasons.

    1) When used properly, the fabric is drum right and stays that way. The problem most people have with them is that they don’t take advantage of the lip.

    2) They are cheap, come in a huge size range, and are widely available. I buy them at Joanns, where they cost anywhere from one to five dollars depending on size.

    3) They don’t require any special prep Or tools to use. No binding with twill tape needed, no screwdriver needed to tighten.

    I love them and will never use any other type of hoop.

    Carol S.

  191. I like the Morgan hoops because of the lip they have on them. I have a few different sizes. Really like them for needle punch work. Sometimes I do not use a hoop.

  192. First off I’m “seriously old ” so it’s probably not too relevant!! I use hoops, most are twill taped, one deep 6″ one and the rest regular depth. Find the 6″ suits most things but use smaller ones for a small item ie a monogram. I tried having the fabric tight as a drum but couldn’t figure out why it was supposed to de rigeur as to me it just seemed to distort/damage the fabric. I adjust the tightness according to the fabric I’m using, but really the hoop is just to hold the stitching area smooth and loose enough to make little stitches when needed!! I have a stand but now need it to have a couple of wooden blocks attached as it is a bit low for comfort!! I would like to have a pin frame but so far haven’t located one/any!

  193. I like Morgan Hoops they do not seem to slip as much as other hoops and you do not need to bind the inner ring. Also like Nurge Hoops or at the very least hoops where you can tighten the outer hoop with a screw driver.

  194. My go to hoops are my vintage wood and felt Gibbs. These hoops were made by Gibbs Manufacturing based in Canton, Ohio which closed long ago, but their products live on. Gibbs Manufacturing was the largest hoop maker in the world. They manufactured everything from barrel hoops to embroidery hoops. I have several styles – Princess, Duchess, and my favorite Holdtite. The inner ring has a felt liner which helps keep the fabric from slipping. The outer ring has a small spring which expands to accommodate different fabrics. It may be hard to find one with a good felt (moths love felt), but they can still be found on at yard sales, thrift stores, and online.

    1. Like you Lori, I have become an aficionado of the various Gibbs Manufacturing embroidery hoops a couple of years ago. My first taste of these hoops was a 4 inch Duchess felt-lined hoop that ended up in a bunch of sewing stuff from my paternal grandmother’s estate. It worked so well when I was working on a stamped embroidery tablecloth for a family member that I began scouring Etsy and eBay for a few other hoops.

      As you noted, Lori, sometimes it can be difficult to find hoops where the felt is still in good shape. Towards that end, I would love it if Mary could look into whether there’s a way to repair that aspect of these hoops. (It just feels like it’s possible.) If one were able to do so, it seems that would suddenly put a lot of these great vintage hoops back into circulation and use.

  195. I’m currently using a 6” beechwood hoop made by Anchor, which I bought in a set of three sizes when I first got interested in needle craft years ago. Back in 2009 I invested in a floor standing frame (the Necessaire with the Millennium frame roller bars) and since then I have rarely used my hoops. Partly that’s because as I increased in confidence I was stitching larger projects that required a frame, but also because I prefer having both hands free to stitch and I find it annoying having to constantly take my work in and out of a hoop to prevent marks. Also I’ve never really trusted that my stitches would recover from being crushed in a hoop even though I have bound the inner ring with bias binding.

    Having said all that, I did recently get my 6” hoop out to work a small freestyle embroidery project and it’s working fairly well. I’m having to adapt how I stitch because I don’t have a hoop clamp/support but I can see myself coming back to it for smaller projects. Buuuut I love my Necessaire and will thoroughly enjoy returning to my frame for my next big stitching project.

  196. Hoop-la! I have several favourite hoops depending on what my project is, but there are three I flock to.

    For small projects, often stumpwork elements, I stick with the plastic hoops with the inner lip to keep fabric drum tight.

    For most surface stitching I have a wonderful vintage hardwood deep quilting hoop (inner hoop wrapped in heavy felt). Keeps things tight, but doesn’t damage the fabric.

    For gifts and commissions that are requested to finished in the hoop for hanging, I rely on vintage hardwood or metal spring tension hoops.

  197. Various sizes of Hardwicke Manor hoops and a HM Hoop on a Stick. All with their inner rings wrapped with cotton twill tape.

  198. I know I replied to this post, but don’t see my post.

    As always the hoop I use depends on where I am stitching.

    For general embroidery I use a plastic hoop without a lip. I have them in sizes up to 10 inches.

    I need a 2 inch hoop, but that does not seem to be made – we keep planning to make one from the top part of a plastic water bottle that has a snap on cap – husband will drill out cap center. When I make dolls I like to embroider the face after the head is cut out and I end up with only one side of the fabric stretched at a time and have to shift the fabric halfway through the mouth and for the second eye.

    When I demonstrate embroidery at 1770s reenactments I use a good quality German wooden hoop. Again, I have in several sizes. At our unit’s local events I can use one with a screw, although it is not period appropriate. If I am at one of our national group’s event I cannot have the screw showing. I have several mid 20th century hoops (I have been embroidering that long and also picked up a couple of spares at a flea market) that do not have a screw – they are each a complete circle – that I use. They are too thin a wood strip to be completely accurate, but will do. I have also covered the screw on wooden ones with a small tunnel of fabric when needed.

    When I used to demonstrate at the local late 19th century tri county, county fair I was allowed more leeway in authenticity and used a large wooden quilting hoop in a stand so that those coming past could easily see what I was working on.

    Since husband does Russian type miniature punch needle embroidery and also hand quilting we have hoops that range from 3 inches to over a foot in diameter and some oval ones also.

  199. I usually use a hoop to stitch. I use the elcheapo bamboo hoops because A) they are cheap and B) We don’t have a lot of options here without ordering online.

    I have been eying the gorgeous hoops that Auburn Hoops has to offer. I found them on Instagram but not sure what other social media they are on. They even carry a couple hoops that are shaped like states. I’m in Canada and would love one shaped as Manitoba.

    Great conversation thanks.

  200. I love hoops. I have a whole rack of them from huge ones that were originally for quilting to really small ones I keep in a tote. My favorites are the wooden ones that I have carefully dressed in twill tape – that includes both large and small ones. I find the really huge ones are good for doing Marash (Armenian interlaced herringbone) where I need to go long distances and don’t want to reset a smaller hoop over and over again. I troll thrift shops and rummage sales for catchall boxes with hoops because I teach embroidery and I give the cheaper ones away to beginners. The really huge quilting hoops are great for teaching a round table of students because I can use colored yarn and a big needle to let them all see exactly how a stitch is done. I also have two sets of Morgan hoops that you talked about today (6-15-20). They are excellent for tambour as they hold the fabric super tight and are a lot easier to move the work than a conventional scroll frame – as long as you remember to loosen the frame or take out the work altogether each time you stop working if the hoop overlaps the work. This will greatly minimize the impact of that groove-and-bump. I store them in a pizza box so the parts won’t get lost. Yes, I really love hoops… I guess you can tell.

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