I tried sheepBlue's excellent stumpwork tutorial recently and put my own spin on it when I ran into a few small issues I didn't exactly know how to deal with.
I also wanted to share a technique (that I'm pretty sure I learned here on Craftster) on how to make a perfect circle for the backing of a hoopla if you're wanting to use a woven fabric instead of felt.
First, sheepBlue showed a group of us at a recent Craftster meet-up in Toronto (lucky, lucky us!) that you can stitch a great deal of your design in a small space on the hoop. Since the pieces are going to be cut out you can really pack them in.
I have 2 projects jammed into a very small hoop here:
My stitches weren't so dense as to cover the entire background fabric and short of threading another needle and adding more in some awkward fashion, I figured the best way to deal with it was with a sharpie marker.
I've got a rainbow selection so chose the closest shade and carefully brushed it over the blank spaces on both the front and the back of the fabric (though I now think only adding it to the front would be sufficient). The later application of glue to secure and stiffen the pieces has to be done with care so as not to cause the marker to run.
For the flower it was easy to hide the petal wires behind the separate centre piece of french knots.
But for the portrait I wasn't certain how to conceal them without a bunch of messy stitches.
I ended up curling each wire and securing them with very small stitches that were hidden in the ones used to fill in the design and didn't add any extra bulk or mess up the finished surface at all.
For the backing, I cut a circle out of cardboard that was just slightly smaller than the outside of the hoop and layered that with a piece of fabric and some tinfoil.
The edges got folded in as evenly as possible then pressed with a hot iron.
After cooling for a couple of minutes the foil and cardboard are removed and the circle can be touched up with the iron at any spots that are not perfectly rounded.
Stitching onto the back of the hoop is the last step.
Stumpwork tutorial here:http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=441007.msg5344268#msg5344268