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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
… 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!