I always use a hoop or a frame - stretcher bar frames are my favorite! You don't have to re-tighten the fabric, and you're more likely to keep the fabric "square" on the grain. They're cheap and re-usable, and come in all different (mixable) sizes. It takes more time to set up a project on stretcher bars, but not as much time as setting up a project on a frame. In either case, the results are generally much more regular when you use a frame, stretcher bars, or hoops. On all my hoops (I only use good wooden ones - cheap ones can snag your fabric or even stain it, and the plastic ones tend to wear out more delicate fabrics), I bind the inner ring, which helps keep the fabric taut and which minimizes any wear on the fabric. I only use hoops on small, quick projects - anything that's going to take time goes on stretcher bars.
^^Ditto^^Also I think stabilizing the project helps to preserve the fabric and stitches.
I use a Q-Snap. It is so awesome and doesn't leave imprints on your fabric.
I'm not familiar with a Q-Snap. I did Google it to see what they are, and they look very cool. But they look big and bulky. Are they difficult to deal with?