Embroidery Hoops -
Their importance and Use

The importance and use of embroidery hoops is discussed in this part of the continued article The Theory and Method of Embroidery, Part 1. Equipment.- How to Prepare for Work written by Mrs. L. Barton Wilson.

Published in Corticelli Home Needlework, 1899
Edited by M. Schlueter





Proper Use of Embroidery Hoops

placing linen over embroidery hoop

Fig. 7.  Placing the Linen Over Hoop

If one prefers a less elaborate or, we may say, less professional way of embroidering linens, the ordinary wooden hoops can be used with quite as good a result if especial care is taken in overcoming their particular disadvantages.

The simple double hoop tightly wrapped with narrow strips of flannel is satisfactory for linens, because we are likely to embroider these in sections and the hoop marks can be easily removed. The upper or larger hoop is the one to be wrapped. It should fit over the smaller one very tight.

To mount linens in hoops, place the smaller hoop on the table and lay the linen over it, as smooth as possible. See Fig. 7 (above). Place the edge of the larger hoop over that of the smaller on the side toward you and press down the further side over that of the under hoop with the hands near the wrists turned backward. See Fig. 8 (below)

forcing embroidery hoop together

Fig. 8.  Forcing Down Hoop to Make Linen "Drum Tight."

Now stretch the fabric tight in the hoops by drawing it in the direction of the woof and warp. Keep the hoop on the edge of the table, holding it with the left hand as you urge the fabric tighter with the' right. When you have drawn it through until it is very firm push the upper hoop down as far as possible; this will tighten it still more. The finest lawn may be in this way stretched drum tight if the drawing is done on the straight of the goods; even a slight drawing on the bias may tear a fabric which would bear a great deal of straining on the straight.

This is a most important point for another reason. If embroidery is done on a ground the woof and warp of which is drawn on the bias, when the tension is relaxed the fabric regains its .straight lines and the embroidery is drawn out of place. No matter how well the stitches are laid this drawing cannot be corrected by pressing, or any other means.

It is well to avoid as far as possible cutting through portions of work already finished when framing the various sections of the designs in the hoops. For this reason a 10 or 12 inch hoop is best for centerpieces. A 7 inch embroidery hoop is very nice for linens decorated with small designs, and especially for doilies, but in working larger designs much better results are obtained with the 10 or 12 inch size. 

By a little forethought we can manage to take in such portions as will make it unnecessary to have large surfaces of the embroidery pressed between the hoops.

A centerpiece which is to be finished by a button-scallop usually has margin enough beyond the scallop to admit of stretching in the hoop, even if the design is very near the edge. In case the centerpiece is finished with a hem, however, a strip of linen lawn should be sewed to it. It may be necessary to sew a strip of linen to doilies to mount them.

Linen should be used in preference to any other material because it will bear stretching better than any other. It should be sewed on with Filo Silk. Cotton will break under a slight strain and sewing silk will cut through the fabric. Corticelli Filo Silk will stand much drawing and will not injure the material, either in the stitching or drawing. The stitches should not be taken too fine. The marks of the sewing can be sponged out of the hem when the work is finished.

The edge of linens, whether hemmed or buttonholed, should be finished before the embroidery is attempted. Any hand work, such as outlining the stems, etc., is likely to rough the embroidery, so all such work should be done first.






(My note: the following paragraphs obviously are of no use to embroiderers today with the exception of finding this kind of tidbit regarding embroidery hoops interesting. Corticelli, of course, wove their ads throughout the article, many of them which I have taken out because of irrelevance or not to confuse a person new to embroidery who may think such items are still available. However, I found the next paragraph interesting and I hope you do to. PLEASE NOTE: This piece of equipment is not currently on the market. You may find it in antique stores or maybe even ebay.)

Victorian style embroidery hoop

Fig. 9. Florence Embroidery Hoop Holder

When a section of the linen is thus stretched, place the hoop on the edge of the table and secure it in position by means of the" Florence Hoop Holder." See Fig. 9. This holder is extremely simple, easily applied or removed, and holds the hoop firmly in position. It has a most important advantage over other' holders, viz. - the hoop is held on both sides, which prevents all vibration. No one who uses it will again care to be troubled with weights, which are heavy to carry about and which may at any moment slide into the work, causing endless inconvenience.

The holder in no way interferes with the bulk of the linen which is unframed, either by gathering it up in the clamps or marking it with screws. We recommend every needleworker who does not already possess an embroidery frame to secure one of these hoop holders. When this holder is used there is no excuse for the habit, most detrimental to the work, of touching the hoop with either hand in order to steady it. When the upright position of the clamps interferes with the free movement of the thread, turn them so that the thumb screws are beneath the table as shown by dotted lines at "F."


Proper Hand Movement for Embroidery in Embroidery Hoop via Illustrations

embroidery hoop held in proper position

Fig. 10.  Hoop Held by Holder in Correct Position.

Fig. 10 shows the thread drawn out full length above the hoop. The hands are in free action and the illustration shows for itself how perfectly work may be done under these conditions.

proper embroidery technifque

Fig. 11.  thread Drawn Out Full Length Below the Hoop.

Fig. 11 shows the thread drawn down full length. These illustrations are a story of action in themselves and the entire movement may be followed in them more clearly than words can describe it.






Continue to read article Theory and Method of Embroidery:

Page 6 - To Knot or Not to Knot


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