I feel like I've been holding back on you. Truly, I wanted to post about this sooner, but things have always gotten in the way. Today, I fix that. But As I review a product I've come to love, you have to promise that you won't use it for its ultimate purpose.
This summer I was getting started on stitching some panels of embroidery designs for the book I'm writing. The finished pieces are rectangular, and round hoops weren't working for me. I wanted to try a Q-Snap, but I was also needing to get going on this stitching, and I didn't find these hoops locally and couldn't wait for shipping. When I spoke with someone at JoAnn Fabric & Crafts, they thought I was talking about a Hoop Frame.
When I saw it, I was immediately disappointed. This is not what I was looking for. Especially the fact that they are showing this as a frame for your finished embroidery. And yet, there was something about it that intrigued me. Probably the fact that it came in an 8x10 size, and was cheap. I brought it home to try it out. (By the way, I also tried a scroll frame at the same time and really struggled...anyone have any tips on those?)
The Hoop Frame comes in two pieces, and as you can see, the top piece fits over the bottom, not around the outside. The pieces don't snap, but rather, the fabric helps to hold it all together. Actually, when the hoop is empty, the pieces are pretty loose. And when you go to place the fabric between, it seems like it wouldn't be possible to get the tension right, and the weave straight.
But as soon as you press that top over the frame and fabric...you know. It's taut (not super tight) and straight. The fabric is flat along the back. And here's the best part: The tension stays much more consistent that with any other hoop I've used. The fabric still has some give to it as you stitch, but when I use a Hoop Frame, I'm not constantly adjusting the fabric, which is very nice in an 8x10 frame.
Oh, and with the large size, I find myself holding the hoop up against my body as I stitch. It's comfortable to hold this way and works for me! I just added the smaller one in the package and haven't tried that one yet. But I've got high hopes!
One thing I don't like is that when you remove your fabric (especially on linen!), it leaves these creases. Yes, they eventually come out, but it still bugs me.
The other thing I don't like is that they sell this as a frame for finishing your embroidery. Please, PLEASE don't frame your embroidery in this cream-colored, plastic, wood-grain frame with rounded corners! Don't do it! If you have rectangular embroidery that you want framed, use a real frame. But do consider a Hoop Frame for stitching up to that point!
When I hit publish on this post, I'll be going back to more stitching in one of these. But I'll leave you with my pros and cons!
Pros: Not round. Great tension. Easy to hold. Inexpensive.At just $5 to $7, I'd highly recommend that you try out a Hoop Frame! Plus, it's always fun to get new tools and supplies, right?
Cons: Creasing. Not pretty for framing.