Hoops and Frames
Embroidery hoops or Cross Stitching frames are useful tools for Cross Stitchers, however, they are not an essential item nor can they be used with all your Cross Stitch projects. Before investing in one of the more expensive ‘does it all and makes the tea’ frames it is wise to make sure you are going to be using it a lot, and the projects you choose to stitch will fit into your Cross Stitch frame.
An embroidery hoop is a circular double hooped ‘frame’ type device made of either plastic or wood. See the 7 Inch Embroidery Stitching Tool Hoop here. Some kits have a free plastic flexi hoop included which is then used as a frame for the finished project. In either the plastic or wood hoop there are 2 parts to it, an inner and an outer. The fabric is put over the inner portion and the outer portion put over the fabric and secured in place, trapping and stretching the fabric in the hoop. The wooden hoops differ in that they have a tightening screw to tighten the outer band holding the fabric tighter.
Using an embroidery hoop can help with the tension of your stitching, keeping it even and not too tight or too loose.
Beyond the basic hand held embroidery hoop is the lap frame or the Sit-On Needlework Frame a firm favorite of ours. The normal wooden hoop attached to a holder with a flat section to sit on, holding the hoop in front of you while you work and leaving both hands free. We find this great for stitching while in front of the TV. The height is adjustable and on some the angle is also adjustable making them great for most sitting positions.
Not restricted to lap frames there are floor standing frames such as F.A.Edmunds Stitcher's Wonder 12x24"Frame w/Stand and table top or lap frames such as the F.A. Edmunds Stitch N' Scroll Flexible Lap Table Scroll Frame. These are generally for larger Cross Stitch projects or tapestries. The frame is generally square or rectangular and the fabric is pinned to a wooden piece which is scrolled taut. Again these are generally fully adjustable for height and angle allowing more flexibility for the stitcher.
With all the embroidery hoops and Cross Stitch frames it is essential you remove your fabric when you are not stitching to prevent distorting the fabric or to prevent it leaving marks on the fabric. With the scroll frames it is acceptable to loosen the scroll so the fabric is relaxed and not stretched.
We previously mentioned that embroidery hoops and Cross Stitch frames are not essential and cannot be used on all your projects. Although the flexi hoops do come in very small sizes we have always found it easier, especially on small projects, to not use any. When we are making small Cross Stitch cards for instance, the fabric we are using will only be a maximum of 3” by 3”, for this a hoop would be cumbersome and unnecessary. For larger projects they are ideal and certainly make stitching easier, but which one to use is down to the individual and what they are comfortable with, there is no hard and fast rule.
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