Using an Embroidery Hoop or Frame

Non-embroiders usually believe that you need an embroidery hoop to do hand embroidery. Not true!

embroidery hoop question

In fact, most experienced embroiders prefer to use the jab and pull method, even when less confident stitchers need more stability.

These wooden or plastic devices hold fabric stretched flat so that stitches are not pulled too tight because tight stitches cause wrinkles.

Some people will use a small round lap frame as a cross stitch frame for display, but it might not necessary when working in cross stitch depending on the type of fabric you are using.

When do you use an embroidery hoop?

Do NOT use a hoop or frame...

  • if the fabric is somewhat stiff, like aida cloth.
  • if you are using needlepoint canvas.
  • if you are doing crewel on something stretchy, like a knit sweater.

DO use a hoop or frame...

  • if the fabric is very flimsy, such as linen, and you are not comfortable managing it by hand only.
  • if you are doing machine embroidery (a special hoop most likely came with your machine).
  • if you are doing punch needle.

The difference in a punch needle embroidery hoop is that it needs an extra lip to hold the fabric as tight as a drum. There are also hoops available that have small teeth, or you can make your own wooden frame and tack the fabric.

Be careful to use a hoop large enough to contain the entire design at once. Otherwise, you'll have wrinkles across your work!

There are now special rounded quilting frames available that do not leave unsightly wrinkles.

Also, when stretching fabric in a hoop, make sure you stretch in all directions evenly. Keep the fabric an evenweave. Don't distort your pattern!



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