Hoops and Frames

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So What's Better A Hoop Or A Frame?

Hoops and frames are the cross stitch tools used to keep your Aida material held tight whilst you stitch.
If you don't use a hoop or a frame you will still be able to cross stitch, indeed very small cross stitch designs are just too small to use a hoop, but the finished design will look less tidy and the stitching process is more cumbersome.

The whole purpose of the use of a hoop is to keep the material tight whilst stitching and to give the stitcher something rigid to hold whilst you are stitching.
The tightness of the material means it is much easer to get a uniform tension on your thread and each stitch comes out the same as the last. This will contribute considerably toward the neatness of your stitching.
Of course you will still have to consider making your top stitch of the cross to be the same direction on every stitch and cast on and off each time you change area or colour to make the neatest stitching.

Hoops are useful for holding designs from the very small up to larger sizes such as 10" or 12". Any larger than this and you are better going for a frame instead. Hoops come in the traditional wooden format and newer ones are now on the market called clip frames which are made of plastic and metal. These hoops can be moved around the material very quickly and once in place stretch the Aida very tight to give a good tension in the stitch. Hoops hold the Aida by jamming the material between two rings and this means that the Aida must be removed from the hoop when you stop stitching, because if you leave it in the hoop over night, the material will mark.

Frames generally don't have this problem. This is because the Aida material is rolled around two rollers at the top and the bottom of the frame. Some frames called clip frames only clip the material onto the rollers but essentially the result is the same, because the material is held on the round shape of the roller and not creased as it is in a hoop.

Frames tend to be heavier than hoops because of their relatively robust nature and if the frame is being held in the hand, this can make you very tired very quickly.

As a result frames are usually utilised in conjunction with a stand (although large hoops can also be used on a stand). The stand can be mounted on the floor or another option is a seat frame, where the frame is mounted on a plate that fits under your thigh when seated. Both kinds of stand can be used with a support peg arrangement, where the frame is held with gravity, or clamped in place.

Whichever is used, the result is that the weight of the frame or hoop is taken by the stand and the stitcher has two hands free to stitch with. This means that the stitcher can utilise better techniques such as passing the needle from one hand to the other through the material and this can significantly speed up the stitching process.

At the end of the day having weighed up the pros and cons, the choice is a personal preference one and some people take to frames and stands where others can't manage with anything but a small hoop.


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