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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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Morgan Embroidery Hoop Combo Review

 

Amazon

In an ever-curious effort to seek out hand embroidery tools that may improve our hand-embroidery experiences – or that may help you avoid making costly financial mistakes – I’ve been hunting down, purchasing, and testing different embroidery hoop & stand solutions.

A few weeks ago, for example, I reviewed this Nurge embroidery hoop stand.

I have two other hoopish tools to share with you. Today, we’re going to look at the Morgan Lap Stand Combo Hoop.

Some of you may already use it, since there’s a fairly wide fan base of this tool out there. Some of you may have seen it or heard about it and are curious about it. And some of you may have never seen it or heard about it! So this review is for the latter two groups. I’ll show you the tool up close and offer some pros and cons for your consideration.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

The photo above gives you an idea of what the contraption, when assembled, looks like.

Just by looking at it, you can probably grasp the whole concept behind it! It’s pretty simple: two hoops, one situated directly atop the other, connected to it and supported with three sticks or legs.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

This is what it looks like, packaged. The directions for putting the hoop combination lap stand together are those drawings on the product insert, but honestly, you probably won’t really need instructions for assembling. There is nothing super complicated here!

I purchased the 7″ / 10″ combo, meaning that the smaller hoop is 7″ and the larger is 10″.

The stands come in a variety of size combinations – from small (a 5″ / 7″ combo) to very large (12″ / 14″ combo). They even come in three-hoop combos, so that you have an extra hoop that fits the legs that come with your set.

I think the 7″ / 10″ is about the right size for general use, or even the 7″ / 9″. I don’t like using huge hoops for hand embroidery. You lose out on tension, the larger the hoop, no matter what kind of hoop it is.

And the small hoops in this type of combo? Well, the smaller the hoops go, the less effectiveness they have as a lap stand, I think. They are not as stable on the lap. And on a tabletop, they lack weight.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

Because both hoops are hoops, the contraption gives you two usable size options by simply flipping the stand.

I find the smaller hoop a little more difficult for maintaining stability in the lap, when it’s used as the base. It can be a bit tippy.

Still, it does work! And it works well on a table, too.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

Let’s talk a bit about the Morgan hoop.

It’s made out of hard, molded plastic. It has what the company calls (and has patented as) a “no-slip feature.”

This “no slip feature” is comprised of a groove or channel that runs around the circumference of the inner hoop, and that fits around …

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

… the corresponding ridge the runs around the circumference of the inside of the outer hoop.

The idea is that the ridge helps to keep your fabric from slipping, so that the hoop maintains a constant tension without your having to constantly adjust your fabric in your hoop to keep the fabric taut.

This is definitely a pro / con area.

Does the feature work? Yes, I would say it does help to keep tension on the fabric. But if you use a good hoop already, and you know how to set up and use a good hoop, there’s not really any “gain” in holding tension with the Morgan hoop over any good hoop.

If you are embroidering something that needs to be moved around in the hoop, the groove and bump feature on the Morgan hoop can be a little troublesome. It distorts stitching. It can be disconcerting when you first remove the hoop and find that your stitches are decidedly more distorted than they would be had you used a regular hoop.

It shouldn’t be surprising, though. After all, essentially, you just pinched your embroidery into a very tight channel and smashed it in with a hard plastic bump. You can’t really expect that the stitches wouldn’t squish a bit.

That said, once I rinsed and blocked my embroidery, my stitches that I covered with the hoop relaxed and looked ok.

If I were to use this hoop stand frequently, I’d probably use it for very casual embroidery that will be laundered (the stitches are more likely to relax back to normal), or I’d use it for projects that fit entirely within the ring of the hoop, so that the embroidery is not covered by the hoop.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

The hardware is made up of a bolt, a washer, and a metal wing nut.

I’m not a huge fan of metal wing nuts. When it comes to having to tighten something, wing nuts can be hard on the fingers.

However, that said, this hoop tightens easily and, due to its structure, it’s not the type of hoop that you have to tighten beyond normal finger strength. You just turn the wing nut until it’s tight.

The wing nut is easy to loosen. I give it a good untwist and then just flick the wing nut and let it fly around the bolt.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

Speaking of hooping up a whole project so that it fits within the hoop…

The configuration of the two-hoop contraption requires that the sticks that connect the two hoops attach to them on the inside of the inside ring. The sticks go flush up into this little grip that’s part of the construction of the inside ring.

This means that this part of the contraption takes up space behind the needlework fabric. So if you are hooping up a project so that the whole thing fits inside the hoop, you do have to take into consideration the points where the legs attach.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

Of course, the whole point of the two-hoop combination lap stand is that you don’t have to hold your hoop. You rest the contraption on your lap, so that the top hoop holding your fabric is supported.

You can even use two hands to stitch, by slipping one hand between the sticks that support the top hoop, and by working the other hand on top of the fabric, as long as the bottom hoop can balance on your lap.

And it does work quite well.

You can also set the combination lap stand on a work table, and it works well, too.

Morgan Hoop Combination Lap Stand

For those of us who like multi-functional tools, you can also wear the thing as a crown on days that you feel a crown would be good.

In a Nutshell

The Morgan hoop combination lap stand is a good tool.

Will it be my go-to hoop? Probably not. I like my traditional, good-quality wooden hoops, and I have plenty of stands that I can use to hold them, if I want to stitch with both hands free.

But will I use it? Sure! I’ve enjoyed using it the last several weeks. I’ve been using it on a linen tea cloth, and I think it’s great for projects like flour sack towels and the like.

And I think it will work well for demonstrating stitches and techniques in classroom situations.

It’s a well-made product. Nothing about it feels chintzy or poorly made.

Is it worth the money? Yes, I think so. You get two decent quality, different-sized hoops in one contraption, and it gives you the ability to stitch without holding a hoop, for an affordable price.

Where to Find It

The Morgan embroidery hoop combination lap stand is a product made in the US, so it is more easily found here. I think some shops overseas might carry it, but you’ll have to check locally.

You can find it readily available on Amazon – you’ll find it listed under Tools & Accessories here on my Amazon recommendations page. I’ve listed both the 7-10″ combination and the 7-9″ combination, since they’re the most universal sizes, and they’re the most readily available, too.

This article includes an affiliate link to my Amazon recommendations, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission on purchases made through that link at no extra cost to you. Every little bit helps, so thanks for using my link!

 
 

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(16) Comments

  1. Thanks! I’ve always wondered what these stands/hoop combos were for. Now, I think I would embroider some fabric using another hoop, then drape it elegantly over my plastic crown and wear it on days I feel a bit “bleh”, to perk me up!

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  2. I love reading your articles. Today I really needed a chuckle and your use of the hoops as a crown did the trick! Love your sense of humor

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  3. I like these stands also. But my experiences have been a little different than yours!

    Basically, I really like the very large hoop combinations, a 12” and a 14”. I’ve used them on large projects that fit entirely inside the hoop, like some of Hazel Blomkamp’s crewelwork, and have been very happy. FWIW, I don’t have a slate frame, so I use this instead. My favorite frame is still the wooden hoop-on-a-stick, but my largest hoop for that is 10”.

    On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the smaller lap stand combos. The legs limit access to the underside of the fabric, and I’m not good at working around this inconvenience.

    File under To Each Her Own!

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  4. This is one of the tools I’ve ever seen! I’ve had this double hoop for several years now. It seems to be my “go to.” I’m well into my 70’s and found it so easy to assemble. I would give Morgan an A plus and a good buy.
    .

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  5. While I like how it holds the fabric tight I have given up on trying to use it as a lap stand. Since the height is not ajustable I find that it sits too low on my lap for me to see my stitches.

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  6. Depends on the project for which hoop I use. I have a Morgan and use it as a hand held and as a stand.

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  7. BWAHAHA!!! I am cruising down thinking nice to file that away.. have enough hoops & use them pretty much as you do…. Then the crown pic! Thank you for the great laugh! I needed that today.

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  8. I find this sort of hoop to be very helpful with punch needle embroidery. It prevents those painful lapses of not getting your fingers out of the way.!

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  9. So glad you reviewed these Mary, I never would have thought of wearing one as a crown 😉 Seriously, though, I’ve been considering purchasing one of these myself for a while and I’m very glad to have your take on it, and see some close up photos. I bought a large 14″ Morgan last year and I absolutely love it!!! It’s very thick, almost like a quilting frame, but surprisingly lightweight for the size.

    I usually use the much thinner plastic Susan Bates Hooplas, which also have a little rim to catch the fabric, but once I had my Morgan frame tightened to the right tension I never had to retighten it, not once, where I usually have to readjust the Hooplas often.

    That said, I was stitching with the whole project area inside the hoop, and I wouldn’t like to chance moving it over stitched areas because of the squashing potential. I love the ability to stitch with two hands, but not having the space or money for a good floor or lap stand, I think this may be a great solution. Thanks for the review!

    A question: Do you think you could tilt the frame and use just the bottom hoop edge as the “foot” – thereby angling the top hoop – or does the bottom hoop have to be completely flat to balance, like the photos? And do you think the sticks are high enough?

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    1. On my lap, I often tilt it, especially if I’m sitting with my feet up. But it doesn’t balance well that way on its own – you have to kind of prop it and, although you aren’t holding it with your hands, your hands end up providing support for it when it’s tilted. I think the sticks are high enough. My hands fit easily between the two hoops. If you’re really tall, maybe they wouldn’t be? But I think at a table or on the lap they are high enough for an average height person….? Another exception might be if you tend to stitch with your face close to your work, I suppose.

  10. Reading along, enjoying all the excellent information on the embroidery hoop…and then there’s the photo of the hoop on your head!! I burst out laughing, and want to thank you for the much-needed lift in my spirits!!

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  11. I got one of these hoops several years ago to use with punch needle work. I had never heard of them, nor seen one, before punch needle became a “thing” several years ago.

    As far as being wobbly or not high enough off my lap, I have a lap tray (fabric with beads on one side, and solid on the other) that I can put on my lap to hold the hoop. One of my lap trays has small sides on it, so I can put my scissors and other little things it.

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