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Topic: Hoop Issues  (Read 2050 times)
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« on: August 11, 2006 03:04:32 PM »

Help the spaz, please!

I am working on my first embroidery project--a Sublime Stitching pattern on a ribbed tank top for my daughter--and I am completely incapable of getting decent tension on the fabric, despite the use of a hoop.  Actually, I am completely incapable of getting decent tension on any type of fabric with a hoop because I am clearly missing the skills to use a hoop properly.

I have been lurking around here for quite a while and I can't believe that I am using my first post to reveal myself to be so inept.

Does anyone have any tips?

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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006 03:45:18 PM »

I'm pretty new at embroidery as well so I don't know if this is really going to help but here's what I do:

- place inner hoop on flat surface and place fabric on top
- place outer hoop over and begin to tighten (I've found that if I turn the whole thing so that the screw is hanging over the edge of the surface I can tighten better while keeping the whole hoop flat on the surface.)
- while I'm tightening the screw I try to use my other hand to keep the hoops flat so that I don't end up having them not aligned.
- when I've tightened it pretty much all the way I pick it up, loosen it slightly and tug at the fabric all the way around.  I don't pull from the edge of the fabric though, rather scrunch it up so that I'm close to the hoop.  Then I re-tighten the screw.

I've only done about 5 projects and all have been practice on muslin so I don't know if that makes a difference - also the largest hoop I've used is an 8 I think.  If I'm thinking of the kind of material you're using correctly its probably really stretchy so you might have to make adjustments periodically as you work to re-tighten the whole thing.

I'm curious to see what other responses you get (from more experienced stitchers than I hopefully!) so that I can try them, maybe there's a better way and what I thought was good tension really isn't!

Good luck from one newbie to another (a lurker up until yesterday in fact) - I never thought I'd be sitting on the couch every chance I get embroidering, except for the tv, it feels like something out of a Jane Austen movie!

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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2006 08:46:39 PM »

Wow! Your first embroidery project and you're tackling two toughies: 1) stitching on knits, 2) stitching on ribbed knits.

Absolutely, positively, make sure you use stabalizer on the back (I used to use the kind you ironed on and then tore up and clipped away around the edges, but now I've completely converted to the iron on/tear away variety). This will "stiffen" the fabric you're stitching on. make it easier to keep the tension while you're stitching and prevent you from getting a weird pull that will cause your stitches to loosen up as soon as you take it out of the hoop.

Also, when I put things on the bottom part of the hoop, I always gather all the overhang underneath in my fist and pull tight before putting the top hoop on.

Good luck.

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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2006 09:22:37 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions!  I tried to re-hoop and it worked a little bit better.  But I still yearn from that "tight as a drum" thing.  I am not even near a drum.  More like a wiggly, floppy anti-drum.

I am using the iron-on-tear-off stabilizer stuff--although I made the mistake of not using a wide enough piece to go into the whole hoop--which I am sure is not helping things. 

I am realizing that this was probably not the best project to start with, but it is not looking too horrible at the moment.  Besides the stretchiness, I am also accidentally stictching through the sleeves or pieces of the back of the shirt every once in a while. Which makes me say very bad words.

Also, I am putting it on a 5-year-old, so if it's all wonky, it might look quaint.  At least that's what I am telling myself.  I am sure she will be spending a lot of money if therapy in about 20 years talking all about how her mother ruined her childhood by making her wear these experiments. (I am also learning to sew and I told her that I was going to make her a nightgown. She looked at me like I was telling her that she was going to have to get some vaccinations and said, "Can't we just buy one at Target?")

I bought a couple more t-shirts and a few more tank tops because I am determined to get better at this.  If it doesn't look too wretched, I will post a picture of it when I am done.

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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006 09:29:42 PM »

I've been doing embroidery and cross-stitch for 15 years, now.  And I'd taken to working in-hand or on a frame because I couldn't deal with the hoop-tension issue.

Then, a friend loaned me her spring-tension hoop.  Soooo much better.  Not perfect -- you still have to rehoop every few hours, but better.

When using these, I lay the hoop down, lay my fabric face-down on top of it, then add the tension spring.  Smooth, taut fabric!  Voila!

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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2006 06:02:23 AM »

This might be too simple, but I just realized the other day that there's a top and bottom to the smaller hoop (I don't want to say how many years of "why doesn't this fit when it just fit a second ago" it took me to realize this Wink.  The side with the teeny shelf rests on the table or floor, and then you put fabric and larger hoop over the top..

also, I prefer tightening the hoop before I put the whole thing together (instead of tightening later)..  it's probably worse for the fabric, but I've never noticed a problem and it gets it waaaay tighter...  Anyway, good luck Smiley
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2006 06:50:05 AM »

actually, when you're working on knit, you shouldn't have the material "tight as a drum" you should have it just tight enough to have a good working surface.  if you stretch the knit too tight you're stitches will pucker when you remove the hoop.


« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2006 02:49:29 PM »

Actually, the side with the shelf goes up.  It's a mechanism to keep the fabric from pulling back through.  (Most of my plastic hoops actually have printed text on that side that say THIS SIDE UP!)  So put the inner hoop with the lip side UP, put your fabric over it, and then put the outer hoop over that.  This extra elevation of the fabric also helps to bring (elevate) your stitch-work up a bit, so you don't have to battle your needle into a corner when you're near the edge.

Check out some plastic hoops in the store next time, they'll have these directions on the label.  (I tore the label off of my most recent one, already, else I'd scan it for ya.)

Good luck getting your tension right!   Smiley
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2006 07:47:33 PM »

Oh, how I am loving all of you!

I finished the first tank, and--even though it is not nearly as snazzy as anything I've seen around here-- I will post a picture as soon as I finish off the back of it all nice and pretty.

I just started a second tank, utilizing all of the suggestions and it is working SO MUCH BETTER!


I used enough of the stabilizer to make it easier to put the shirt into the hoop without having two different surface tensions this time. I have only done a little bit of the pattern, but I can already see a huge difference.

Thanks again! 
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2006 06:06:20 AM »

Shelf side up?  Evidentally, I haven't defeated my battle with hoop "this side up" anxiety, thanks for the tip!  Soooo embarrassed hehe   Shocked
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