Hoopless,Totally Hoopless

embroideryhandsLike many of you, I learned how to embroider as a youngster using a hoop to hold the fabric. But those days are long gone and I’ve been hoopless, totally hoopless for years. In fact, all the projects in my new book, Joyful Stitching, are made hooplessly.

bird3hThere are several reasons I don’t use a hoop for hand embroidery. First, clamping a hoop on my fused art quilts while stitching will fray the raw edges of the fabric. The quilt top is fused to batting for stability and is easy to grip.

Second reason? It’s easier on my stiff old hands. By gripping the fabric rather than a hoop I can twist and turn it while stitching.

embroideredpeardetail3Third reason, I like the “folk art” imprecise look of hand stitching. If things are too perfect, the embroidery looks machine made to me. Handmade tells me you spent a lot of time loving what you do. So call me hoopless! I don’t care.

8 thoughts on “Hoopless,Totally Hoopless

  1. I use frames now more than I ever used to – but then I didn’t attempt exotic things like goldwork when I was a kid! I think it’s a case of Whatever Works Best, isn’t it?

  2. I just commented and forgot I am now on a new Computer which I haven’t filled in this form yet on apparently. Loved your Hoopless write up!

  3. Reading your posts at the end of my day always gives a lift to my spirits. It doesn’t matter if you are being humorous, encouraging or teaching a stitch or technique; I always feel better after my dose of Laura.

  4. I used a hoop a lot when I was younger and doing embroidery on bureau scarfs and pillowcases, etc. I also did a lot on gingham check fabric for skirts. But over the years I have lost my hoops and just haven’t bought any new ones. Most of my embroidery has been counted cross stitch and I do stuff that is small and doesn’t need a hoop.

    Working without a hoop now reminds me of watching Nell back in the 70’s. She was legally blind, but did the most beautiful pictures using embroidery thread. She used 6 strands of embroidery thread and held her cloth about 4-6 inches from her face. Her pictures of landscapes and horses were beautiful. She only used the outline stitch and filled in the empty spaces with the same stitch so they dovetailed and were of varying lengths as needed. Her sense of color and shading was wonderful. I tried it a couple of times and it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I never did get the shading on my own.

    I’m enjoying the embroidery on fused quilts but have trouble figuring out what stitches to use so there are a log of clones of your work on my shelf.

    • I would love to see Nell’s work. She gives me hope that I can continue stitching no matter how bad my eyesight. About what stitches to use on your fused quilts. I find that it may take days or weeks to come up with stitch plans and even find myself dreaming about embroidery stitches!

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