Embroidery hoops (I call them Hoopies) are very fashionable at the moment for framing all sorts of stitched work and not just using them as a frame to embroider in. Personally, I don’t use them as an aid to embroider, I don’t think back stitching benefits from a taught canvas, but other stitches, like a satin stitch and long and short stitch definitely do.
But what I do so love about them is the ability to frame a little piece of work quickly and easily without much expense and in a very portable way and I love that I can undo the frames and put new little ditties in all the time. They are also so versatile and work for so many occasions – I have made spring ones, birthday ones, Christmas ones, baby ones, garden ones, wedding ones and the list can go on and on!
What’s more these frames are cheap as chips new or you can even pick them up in charity shops and car bootie. Whether new or used there is so much you can do to add a bit more special is magic.
How to decorate your Hoopie
Wrap the outer frame in a coloured fabric to compliment the work inside the frame.
Just tear thin strips of fabric and wrap it around the outer frame.
Wrap the frames in thin ribbon to also compliment the work inside the frame.
Wrap the frames in Bakers twine, comes in lots of colours and is two toned.
Wrap the frame in string or linen.
Stick ready-made piping cord to the inside of the frame which will create a piped edge on the top of the frame. I use double sided sticky tape or PVA glue.
Glue a frilled edge ribbon to the back of the hoop once you have it the work in the frames. Glue it so the frill shows from the front
Last but not least and the most obvious of all is to paint them. I use little sample pots from hardware stores. I sometimes rub the paintwork down and give it a good wax to create a vintage feel.
What to put in the Hoopie?
A purposely stitched piece of embroidery.
A vintage piece of embroidery, old tray cloths, old lace, old clothing
Fabric: any fabric that you love, old or new. Use different sizes to show off complementary patterns
Old tapestries or part of old tapestries
Photos that have been transferred onto fabric.
Ribbons and tapes sewn onto fabric
How to put your work into the Hoopie
Cut the work to be framed at least 2 inches bigger than your hoop size.
Open out the screw at the top of the embroidery hoop. Centralize the work you want to frame over the center of the inner hoop.
Place the outer hoop over the work and tighten the screw so that it holds the work in place.
Pull the edges of the work taught within the frame and then tighten the screw fully, some of the screws allow you to tighten with a screw driver.
Cut the edges of the work to half an inch from the frame. Paint a thin layer of PVA glue to the inside of the frame and fold over the fabric and hold it in place with clips or pegs. Don’t get any glue on the main fabric.
An alternative to glue is the extra sticky 1/4-inch-wide tape. You can pop that on the inside of the frame, peel off the protecting layer and fold the fabric onto that, it also works a treat.
Finally, if you want to cover the wrong side of the hoop, start by drawing around the outer hoop onto some card, to make a backing. Cut out neatly. This can be glued onto the back of the hoop at the very end.