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American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Hoops, Q-Snaps, Stretcher Bars, Roller Frames, In Hand by Barbara G

HOOPS: Many of you have been using hoops for years and love them. There are some of us out there that are not quite so enamoured of them. In my experience they do not hold the fabric under enough constant tension. This is important when doing large samplers. I believe that the more open the weave of the linen, the tighter the tension should be. Some linen has very thin threads mixed in with thick which when not under tension can squish up next to its neighbor. The more open the weave the more important it is to have equal tension at all times. I think that the original use for hoops was probably for designs that fit into them exactly and the hoop didn’t have to go over the threads. Some negative points about hoops are that they can be hard on the thread when moved about, they can also be hard on the thumb and wrist over time. A hoop should be properly prepared wrapping the bottom hoop in cloth to help keep the linen from moving. A very stiff linen doesn’t sit well in a hoop. There are stands available to hold the hoop and free up both hands. You can’t sit all curled up, you’ll have to sit like a lady (darn). On the plus side, hoops are ver portable and can be taken anywhere as long as the piece isn’t too large. I guess those of you who use hoops have methods to cope with these issues, any suggestions?
IN HAND: This can also work and is sometimes easier for some. The only issue I have is keeping the piece clean if it can’t be washed and it can be hard on the hands and thumbs if doing a lot of embroidery for long stretches daily.
Q-SNAPS: I have used these inbetween discovery of roller frames and hoops. They require a tug now and again to maintain tension and as long as there isn’t too much fabric flopping around they are quite good. I think you could develop methods of tying up the extra fabric and protecting it with tissue when passing the work under the snaps.
ROLLER FRAMES: I now use these for all my samplers and have quite a selection. I have recently purchased a Millennium frame but have not used it enough to comment on it except to say the tension is fabulous. I have a small inexpensive frame that has slits in the top and bottom rollers that the linen slides into. The side bars tighten up and hold everything in place. I used it for Mary Hurst which is 29” x 6” on 40 count and the tension was very tight throughout. The sides got a bit soft towards the end but overall it worked very well. I think I got it at Michael’s in Canada. The frames that require the linen to be stitched on are OK but are a nuisance to set up. I have a stand but it requires screwing the frame onto it so I don’t use it much. I think the stand for the Millennium frame allows the frame to sit on it. I usually sit at a table with the frame propped up on my knee and the table. Sometimes I curl up in a chair while using it, (great for the posture).
STRETCHER BARS: I use these for pieces that fit exactly into the frame. The linen is held onto the bars with brass tacks. The work is very tight. These are inexpensive and can be interchanged to suit the size of your piece.
All of the above can be clamped to tables for freeing up both hands.
I only use 35 to 40 count linen with silk thread for my samplers these days and I don’t do the ones that are primarily cross stitch so these methods may not be meant for you. All the work shown so far looks perfect to me so whatever you are using must work for you but as we all know it doesn’t hurt to get new ideas and give them a try. I am used to having my ideas get shot down and blown to bits so please feel free to comment and add your own ideas and experiences.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


~mj~ said...

I always use a hoop, I can`t stitch in hand because of tendonitis. As for the top hoop being hard on your stitches, I wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It cushions it and stops it from roughing up the stitches, but you do have to tighten your hoop more frequently.

Nicola said...

Thank you Barbara for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.

When I first started stitching I used a hoop but as I progressed I realised that I was getting a lot of arm and shoulder problems which I put down to the hoop I also noticed that my stitching was getting squashed by the hoop.

I tried roller frames and had great trouble getting the tension I needed so switched to Q-Snaps which were fine. I then read Mary Corbett's review of the Millennium frame and I am a convert.

I find that every inch of my fabric is drum tight and the frabric is kept clean and no damage is caused my stitching.

I invested in the stand too. Needle Needs are now custom making me some 46" bars for a special project I will be working on.

I will continue to use a hoop on small portable projects.

ilana kaye said...

I use a Hinterburg quilt stand and hoops. I use 22" 16" 29" hoops . This allows me to be hands free to control my work.This also minimizes the amount of stitched area that is compromised by the hoop edge. Often, I need to sew on strips of linen to my sampler to cover the hoop. I am able to get it extremely tight. I also have a Hinterburg quilt lap/table stand, but prefer the control of the hoop stand . The hoop rotates and turns over easily to end stitches.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I'm an "in hand" stitcher. I stitch on the go and for short periods so find this the easiest method. I have tried hoops but didn't like the way they mark the fabric.

Thanks for the information Barbara.

Krista said...

I used to be a "in-hand" stitcher, although the problem I found with that was the fabric was distorting on a diagonal and I always had to pull the opposite corners to try to square it up. Then I moved to the hoop which seems to work best for me with all the projects I am currently doing. I like to transport them to work where I stitch on break. I do not find it bothers the stitches as long as i open the hoop quite wide when changing places and once the hoop is together then secure (as to not push down on the stitched areas already). With the issue of stiff linen, it just takes some time for the linen to get worked a bit and then the hoop I find will be easier and easier to use. I have also used scroll bars and stand but do not find I stitch as quick that way but I think that just takes some getting used to.

Anne said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Barb. Like you, I find the hoops to squish my threads however I do use a hoop while stitching my HAED and it seems to be fine. For my samplers, I use the Qsnaps since my Chatelaine is on the scroll bars. I do like Qsnaps and scroll bars because of the tension. The extra fabric on the Qsnaps I usually roll gently and cover with some felt and use a hair clippy thing to clip onto the frame therefore I don't have excess fabric flapping around. I've heard a lot about the Millennium frame but will have to hold out on that for awhile!

Carmen Sutton said...

I stitch in hand easy to carry around as i will stitch any where. I have tried hoops and roller frames, but just to much to hold and i use a sewing motion which is hard on any frame for me. I think its just what you get used to. I have a friend that stitches on a stick I still can't figure that one out, but her work is stunning.

Martha S said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I've always wondered what other people use. I've tried them all and I feel like I can never get the tension right. I've ordered a millennium frame for my Country life.

Jennifer H said...

I too have the Millenium Frame, and love it! I've used scroll rods too, and have just about every size of them - I've not used them all yet though...

I've been stitching in hand lately, which is making my scroll rods and millenium frame (stand and frames) very forlorn... :(

And in reading what others commented here, I saw that Nicola is getting special ones made from Needle Needs??? oh gosh, 46"??? I am trying like heck to figure what project could warrant 46"???

Inquiring minds want to know! LOL

Hugs and Love,
Jennifer H

Vera said...

I, too, stitch in hand using a sewing motion which I am unable to do when I use a hoop. I have not tried a frame, but imagine I would not be able to "sew" using that as well.

And, yes, what is 46"??????

Rachel said...

I am a hoop girl...but have been considering options for change, so thank you very much for the info!!

Fiona said...

I used hoops when I started stitching, but haven't used them for decades. I stitch small projects in hand and large projects I have a variety of roll frames and q snaps. I tend to use whatever suits the project best. For large projects I use my Millenium frame and floor stand, expensive but worth it.

Tommye said...

I have stitched in hand since I first started stitching on linen back in the 80s. I get perfect tension and I can use the sewing method which is faster. The only time I used a Q Snap or frame of any kind is when I'm doing needle weaving.

Kerri said...

Thanks so much for this comparison. I have tried them all (except the Millenium) and I keep going back to the QSnaps. I put a strip of felt or batting between the linen and the snap to make sure nothing is distorted. I find this also gives a much tighter tension then without.

I only stitch maybe an hour a night, so I am probably not the best expert. The combo of the Qsnap and my Needlework System 4 works best for me.

Jean P said...

Thank you for taking the time, Barbara,to share your comments-very informative.