Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Secret Behind Plastic Hoops

This is probably something a lot of you already know, but I didn't until last Tuesday when I attended Hazel Blomkamp's class. One of the ladies I was sharing a table with, Madeleine, was kind enough to show me how to properly use a Susan Bates plastic hoop.

Look at the picture below. See the "This Side up"? I always thought that means that label should be on top. I.e. when you're done framing your fabric it should be visible. So not what it means.

Notice the lip on the right edge of the ring. That extra lip is the reason why embroiderer's love these hoops.

I'm now going to show you how to use it. Again, many of you will already know how to properly frame their fabric, but I need to write it down so that I would not forget and go back to hating them.

First step, place the ring with the "This side up" label facing up.

Place your fabric facing up on top of it.

Place the second ring with the screws on top of it and "under" the lip of the first ring. You should hear a click. If you're right handed, make sure the screws are at your 11 o'clock (2 o'clock if you're left handed). This will prevent the thread from snagging as you stitch.

When I say "under" the lip, it means the fabric will pass between the lip of the first ring and the edge of the second ring. In effect locking the fabric in place.

Once you've tightened the screws (as tight as possible, use a screw driver if you can), starts gently pulling on your fabric until it's drum tight.

See the slight puckering? That's what happens when you stitch on fabric that's not perfectly taut. Tips like these are the reason why I love taking embroidery classes, you learn so much from the teacher and the ladies taking the classes. I learned how to properly knot a thread at the Creative Festival :)


  1. I, for one, am glad you mentioned this because I had no idea! I tried using hoops but I could never get them to work out properly. I'm pretty sure I was not doing it this way. I think I'll give it another shot the next time I have something small.

  2. One really useful piece of information makes you feel like the class was worthwhile, so with all you picked up, a bumper workshop.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I don't have on of those hoops but maybe I'll get one.

  4. I don't have any of these hoops, but it's always good to learn something new!

  5. Never noticed there is a this side up notation. Thank you for that!