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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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The Sqround: The Marvelous Square-Round Embroidery Hoop

 

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You know that feeling of delight when you try something out – whether it’s a new piece of embroidery equipment or a new pair of shoes or a bowl of porridge – and you find yourself saying, “Oh yes. This is just right!”?

You half-way sigh and wonder why this wasn’t in your life just a little bit sooner.

Well, that’s how I felt when I started using a rather unique embroidery hoop that I’ve subsequently fallen in love with.

I call it The Sqround.

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

There are Round hoops.

And there are Square hoops. (No, there really are square hoops – but let’s not discuss them. I’ve tried ’em all – including the high quality ones – and they always disappoint.)

And now, there are sqround hoops. That is, there are these rather curiously-named “square round” embroidery hoops.

I’ve decided this is the one instance in metaphysical reality where a thing can be square and round at the same time – while being neither square nor round, actually.

They are called square-round hoops because, unlike round hoops, they are not-round. And unlike square hoops, they are not-square.

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

Above, you can see my square-round hoop, which has already been bound with twill tape on the inner ring. (I’ll share a tutorial for binding the inner ring on this hoop later this week. I was going to share it here, but it took up Way Too Much Space for one article!)

Notice that the curves at the “corners” of this hoop are gentle, drawing the 7″ wide and 5.5″ tall hoop (which can be used horizontally or vertically) into a nice rectangular shape with rounded corners.

The corners are more gently sloped than those on square hoops, allowing for a really nice fit between the two rings that really works when holding onto the fabric.

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

You may rightly wonder “What is the Point?”

Why is this any better than a round hoop?

Well, it’s not necessarily better – it’s just different in a very good way. It has to do with the fit of the hoop on the design, more than anything else.

Many embroidery designs – whether horizontally or vertically situated – fit really well into this hoop space, because so many designs are either wider than they are tall, or taller than they are wide.

Normally, we have to choose a round hoop that’s larger in all directions than it needs to be, because – after all – it’s round.

And we are obliged to use enough fabric to accommodate the design in the hoop as if the design were squally wide and tall, so that the round hoop fits the design.

We could use stretcher bar frames that are more customizable, size-wise, but sometimes, a hoop is more comfortable to use and much more transportable.

And sometimes, stretcher bars simply won’t work for the type of embroidery we’re doing.

So there are technical reasons for a square-round hoop, but really, they boil down to this: designs fit nicely in this hoop, and the hoop works!

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

One thing that makes this hoop very special is the hardware. It’s designed to pull the curve together with equal force in both directions, allowing the ring of the hoop to actually hold well at the corner, where normally you’d expect it to be weak.

That’s probably one of the biggest flaws on square hoops – the hoop and hardware don’t do their job as well as they could, because one corner is always weak.

Not so on this hoop! The hardware and the cozily-situated rings do the job they’re supposed to do.

The hardware is solid brass, and it can be tightened with a screw driver to save your fingers. (I’ll talk all about binding the hoop, setting up the fabric in the hoop, and how to use hardware on a hoop the right way later this week.)

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

Another thing I love about The Sqround is that each of my how-to projects for this year’s series that I talked about Saturday fits into this hoop perfectly.

Yay!

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

They are a match made in hoopy heaven!

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

I also like the fact that I can use them so comfortably on flour sack towels and the like.

They accommodate the height of many of my designs as well as a smaller 5.5″ hoop would, but they give me a lot more width, so more of the design is exposed in the hoop.

The Square-Round embroidery hoop

Pros and Cons

Pros: It’s a great size, it works, it’s well made, it’s comfortable to hold.

Cons: It’s admittedly a wee bit pricy.

But a Good hoop is an investment. If properly used and cared for, it will last you a lifetime. I’ve been using Hardwicke Manor hoops for too many years to count now, the same hoops day in and day out. You will definitely get your money’s worth out of a hoop like this!

Where to Find It

Since I really love this hoop and use it myself, and since I think it is unique as hoops go, I’m offering them in my shop here on Needle ‘n Thread.

The hoop is combined with a package of the cotton twill tape I use to bind my hoops, in case you want to bind yours. It’s 4 yards of 3/8″ 100% cotton twill tape, perfect for binding this size hoop.

I have a limited supply today. The next shipment will probably arrive in about three months. So if the supply sells out, you can contact me to be on the advanced notice list. I’ll send you an email when they are back in stock.

 
 

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(23) Comments

  1. I saw some screw-less hoops somewhere recently. Do they work at all? I’m always getting my floss caught up in the screw. Thank you for all you do on your website!

    2
    1. Those two ring hoops are sold pretty much just for finishing as “hoop art” – they are not so effective for actually working the embroidery.

    2. Linda, a good tip is to keep the screw part of the hoop at about 10 o’clock … if right handed.

    1. Hi, Brenda – Thanks for your inquiry! You should probably check your spam filter and, if you don’t find them in there, you can resubscribe on the main page of the website in the left column – or here: https://www.needlenthread.com/newsletter-signup If your email service provider has changed their settings, it may be that the email is blocked and resubscribing and opting into the subscription with the confirmation email may override the block.

    2. Hi Brenda. I have been dropped several times over the last couple years. I don’t know what happens…I just notice I stop receiving newsletters from Mary in my email so I have to re-subscribe. Just thought I would let you know you’re not alone

    3. Yes, it’s your email service provider adjusting their settings. Nothing changes on my part – it usually has to do with server updates by different email service providers. Because these are automatically generated emails pulling from the RSS feed on the website, your email service providers’ servers are reading it as spam and either blocking it entirely or auto filtering for you. The most common email service providers that this happens to are Comcast, aol, sbcglobal, and telus, but other hosting services are also prone to it, especially after server upgrades. Even Gmail does it now and then. Your best bet is to double check the website. If I’m posting there, the newsletter is going out. If you’re not receiving it, check your spam or junk filter, make sure my email address is in your contacts list or on your “approved” list, and if necessary, check to see if you’re still subscribed.

  2. Dear Mary

    The Sqround (love it) looks a very hearty good hoop and very unusual as well I like the fact that the screw is brass and looks like it will hold the tightness. I always find with hoops that the fabric becomes loose no matter how much I tighten the screw with a screwdriver it loosens after a while. They are quite expensive but as you say looked after they will last a lifetime. It good to see that you are selling them outside the USA. I will put this on my wish list as they are already sold out. Thank for sharing the Sqround hoop with us and for explaining the concept of the hoop and for the photos.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    4
  3. I recently purchased a “scround” hoop from 123stitch.com
    It was the perfect size for the work I am doing and it fits well in the grips on my stand.
    It holds the tension better than my rounds (although to be fair my rounds are nothing special).

    5
    1. I’m glad you found a hoop you like! Pretty sure 123Stitch doesn’t carry this brand, size, or shape. They do carry some square hoops, which I have tried – but the experience was not a good one. My experience was just the opposite of yours, actually. :-/ Perhaps I got a lemon! I’m glad yours works, though!

  4. Please excuse if I sent a message about the sqround hoop. I would like to be on the list to purchase one.

    Thank you.

    6
    1. Hi, Liz – if you’ve already sent an email to me about that, you’ll be on the list. I am only collecting names via email, since it’s an email advanced notice list. If you want to drop me a line, I’ll add you again to be sure, if you don’t mind receiving two advanced notice emails. 🙂

  5. I really like the wheat embroidery featured here (in the hoop). Is there a pattern available for this? Thanks.

    7
  6. The “square round” name comes from Tupperware. Back in the y0s, they had a fabulous line of Square Round storage boxes. No hard to clean sharp corners on the sides, and a much more efficent use of space than round containers.

    So now you know!

    I’m going to have to try those.

    Susan

    8
    1. Hi, Kathleen – for advanced notice lists, please email me directly and ask for advanced notice for the hoop, so that I can send you an email directly when they are in stock again. Thanks!

  7. 1- I wish to buy a sqround
    2- I keep getting warnings about your pages, so I have not proceeded
    3- My charge card will change in September . How do I notify Patreon of the new information to maintain my membership?

    10
    1. Hi, Rosemary – I’m not sure what warnings you are receiving. The site as an active security certificate, so there should be no problem. It could be the settings on your browser. You might try again.

      As for Patreon, I don’t control any membership information there. You’ll just need to log in to your profile and go to your account settings to make any changes there.

      The hoops are out of stock again, but I have more ordered for the future. If you drop me a line and ask to be put on advanced notice for the hoops, I’ll send you an email when they are ready. Thanks!

  8. Hi Mary,

    I know you told me the manufacturer of the sqround which I can try and get in the United Kingdom, well Scotland is where I am. Can you please let me know the name again I did not copy it down…and can I find it – no. So a plea as to where I can get one they look yummy.

    Thanks in advance.

    Christina

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