Embroidery Hoops are round wooden frames that consist of an inner ring and an outer ring, ideal for smaller designs – the fabric is placed over the outer ring, then the inner ring is clipped on top. Tapestry Frames are rectangular wooden scroll frames that are ideal for larger designs – the fabric is stitched onto the rolls, then pulled taut and tightened to secure.
It's entirely possible to complete a cross stitch project without the use of a hoop or frame, but as a beginner you'll find that it's so much easier to have one – they ensure neater, much more even work. If using a hoop, you should choose one that's bigger than that size of your design as you'll be able to continually stitch without having to reposition it. Once your stitch session is up, you should remove the hoop or frame so that your fabric doesn't become stretched and tired.
Wooden embroidery hoops have two rings, with an adjustable screw on the outer ring. To use an embroidery hoop, simply:
Loosen the adjustable screw and pull the two rings apart.
Put your fabric on top of the inner ring, remembering to centralise the design, then push the outer ring on top.
Smooth out the fabric, making sure there are no creases or sagging.
Tighten the adjustable screw, ensuring that your fabric is tight and secure, however not stretched enough to alter the composition of the weave.
Tapestry frames often come with two rollers and two crossbars to hold the rollers together. To use a tapestry frame, simply:
Mark the middle point of your roller, then the middle point on your fabric.
Place your fabric on top of the roller with both marks pressed together, then attach the elements to one another with pins.
Thread both elements together all the way along with long, temporary basting stitches. Remember to take the pins out when you reach the middle point!
Once fully basted, turn the fabric around 180 degrees and repeat the process with the second roller.
When your fabric is sewn onto both rollers, it's time to attach the crossbars. Take the first bar and push one end of a roller into the opening, remembering to keep the butterfly screw facing upwards (the same side as the front of your fabric).
Take the second bar and push the other end of that roller into the opening, again, remembering to keep the butterfly screw facing upwards.
Turn the frame around and push each end of the second roller into the other side of each bar.
Roll the bottom roller to tighten your fabric in the frame, ensuring that it's extremely taut – the tighter, the better!
Whilst holding the bottom roller to ensure you don't loosen your fabric, twist the butterfly screws to keep your fabric tight in place.