Friday, March 21, 2014

Eureka! Better Hoop Habits with Rebecca from Hugs Are Fun!


Visiting us today to share her own Eureka! tip is Rebecca Greco from Hugs Are Fun. You might remember Rebecca as the winner of our flash cards competition - she designs cute, modern cross-stitch patterns and has some awesome kits (I want one myself!) up in her Hugs Are Fun Etsy shop! Take it away, Rebecca!


For the first few years of cross stitching I used plastic embroidery hoops, but I kept ending up with dirty circles on my fabric when I was done. I couldn't figure out what was causing it and I spent all my time trying to find a way to clean it off instead of finding a way to fix it.

The solution ended up being a very simple one that made me feel pretty silly for not realizing sooner. The secret is to remove the hoop in between stitching sessions. Dust and dirt gets trapped under the hoop and by leaving it tightened for days, weeks, or months (I don't know how long it takes you to finish a project!), it will stain the fabric. You should loosen the screw on the outer hoop when you aren't working, but ideally you should remove it completely.


I found it to be pretty inconvenient to remove the hoop every time I worked, so I made the switch from embroidery hoops to Q-snaps, a square plastic frame with clips to hold the fabric in place. I prefer the Q-snap because it keeps a more even tension and I haven't had any issues with the pesky circles of dirt on my fabric.

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!


  1. here here! Qsnaps are the way forward, I would never go back to a hoop now, they're far too fiddly and time consuming to set up

  2. i have both hoops (nice, hardwood ones) and q-snap frames (a couple of sizes) and i still find the hoop more comfortable to my way of stitching. i just haven't got the q-snap mojo going. i plan to keep trying, but i am not sure i will ever fully come over to the q-snap side...hehehe... :)

    but have you seen the cute q-snap covers people are making to cover up the edges to keep the fabric clean? just google "q-snap covers" and you will see what i am talking about. very cool!

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  4. These were given to me when I started embroidering. I didn't even know until years later how amazing they are!

  5. I use the UK version - R&R Craft Frames and have every size they do, except the 6" one, which I didn't like so gave away. You can see them in regular use on my blog.=)

  6. I 'm working on a big piece, it's a mandala for my daughter about 40 cm x 40 cm, using Cotton Perle #5. it's been super difficult to find the right hoop, I started from the center so it was easy at the beginning, I was using a big round plastic hoop for a while; then I tried one of those big needlework frames, it didnot work at all, I couldnot get the right tension; now that I'm getting to the outer part I'm trying the q snap, but it seems the fabric is too thick ! Any advice please?

    1. Hi Claudia! Sorry for the slow reply - I did actually reply before but it disappeared! Honestly, I rarely try to fit an entire piece into a hoop, I just use a 5-6" hoop and work in sections. I'm not sure if that's 'proper' hoop usage, but it works for me. Just make sure you remove it *any* time you're not working on it to minimize any stitch crushing, and block your embroidery when you've finished to remove any hoop marks! (We have a post about embroidery blocking coming up later today!)

      I hope that helps!


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