Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is well and looking forward to some warmer days. It will be near 60 today. My husband plans to take advantage of the warmer weather to fish for the first time this year. We did get out on Sunday afternoon for a walk at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
The museum has some recently opened trails that are free to the public. As you can see, it was a beautiful afternoon. Unfortunately, the trails were still covered in snow and I just had on regular shoes, so we walked on the drive and parking lots, then walked a little way into Winchester and back. Once I feel comfortable going inside, I would like to visit the museum. There is a Norman Rockwell exhibit on display through the summer that I would like to see.
Last week I had a question from Linda about using a hoop and stitching in hand. She is interested in getting back into cross stitch and has seen many Flosstubers talk about stitching in hand. I thought I would share my thoughts on the different hoops I have used and my very limited experience of stitching in hand.
I do prefer using a 5″ spring tension hoop now. It’s thin, lightweight and easy for me to hold with my small hands. Sometimes I will rest my hand on a small pillow, but with our new sofa, I don’t feel the need for one as much as I used to. I have done a lot of hand applique and English paper piecing so I can stitch in hand. The thing about stitching in hand is that your fabric is not tight so you have to work harder (at least for me) to get the stitch tension even. That’s why some people that stitch in hand prefer a fabric that is stiffer. That would include most Aida fabrics and some even weave fabrics. Also, the Wichelt brand of linen is stiffer than the Zweigart brand. Some people say that it is easier to use the sewing method (stitching one leg of the cross, going through two holes at the same time on the front, then stitching the second leg back over those stitches) without a hoop. I’ve been using this method for years with a hoop and don’t have any problems with it. Depending on the fabric, I may need to loosen the tension of the fabric in the hoop slightly to use this method.
The left hoops are spring tension hoops in 5″ and 7″. To use, squeeze the handle to release the metal ring from the hoop. The fabric can be adjusted as needed by releasing the ring slightly. I have 5 of the 5″ hoops and there is one that doesn’t stay as tight as the others. Otherwise, I don’t have any problems with the fabric shifting in them. The right is a standard 6″ wooden hoop, which is what I started stitching with years ago and continued to stitch with until the Q-Snaps came along.
Some might be concerned with the small amount of stitching space in the 5″ hoop. I will usually stitch all I can inside that area before moving the hoop to a new section. You can see that there is more area in the 7″ hoop. I bought the 7″ hoop years ago to use with a large embroidery project. Even now, I will use the 5″ hoop for embroidery even though I move the hoop more often, it is just more comfortable in my hands.
I did use Q-Snaps when they were first introduced and I had different sizes. This is the only one I have left, which is 11inches. I never had a stand for it and it was cumbersome for me to use. I didn’t like the 8″ size either because it was just to big for me to hold.
One frame that I have and I do like to use on certain projects is the Stitch Ezi Embroidery Frame. I’ve probably had it for 10 to 12 years.
I started using this frame after I got tired of the Q-Snaps. It sits up in your lap so you don’t have to hold it. The top of it rotates so it’s easy to get to the back and the legs tilt so you can bring the stitching closer to you. This type of frame will also allow you to stitch two handed. That’s what I do, using my bottom hand like I was hand quilting to guide the needle back up into the next hole and using the sewing method.
If you are interested in this hoop, read Mary Corbet’s, Needle ‘ Thread, review. After reading the review, I do agree with her on everything she said and maybe that’s why I don’t use it much anymore. The nuts on the top side have gotten loose and I do need to tighten them. I will probably use it on Rainbow Row once I work on it again, because I can quickly stitch all the many endless rows of the same color in the houses with this hoop.
I did have a scroll frame on a lap stand that I never liked. I tried to use it a few times, but it wasn’t for me. My advise is to try a few different methods to see which is best for you. If you have a stitching friend that can loan you a couple of different hoops to try, that could save a little money, too.
Now onto this week’s stitching progress.
I did finish the center section on Scenic farm. I am so pleased with it. It took 49 days to complete this section.
I have moved on and am back to the sky. I will complete this section from top to bottom, then I’ll move back to the right of the center section. You can see in this picture, that I need to go back and adjust my fabric on the bottom to straighten it out. Just a matter of releasing the handle slightly and pulling the fabric until it is straight.
After I took the first couple of stitches in the new section, I wondered, how am I going to count the stitches? Ahhh! I’ll use the counting pin as a place marker so I’ll now where I started. Worked perfectly.
I also made good progress this week on Let’s Talk Winter by Hands On Design. My goal is to finish it this month and I feel certain that I can accomplish that.
Let me know your thoughts on the hoop talk and leave your advise for new stitchers in the comments. I hope you have a great rest of your week. Thanks for stopping by.