Sunday, 20 January 2013
Hoops, Q-Snaps, Stretcher Bars, Roller Frames, In Hand by Barbara G
HOOPS: Many of you have been using hoops for years and love them. There are some of us out there that are not quite so enamoured of them. In my experience they do not hold the fabric under enough constant tension. This is important when doing large samplers. I believe that the more open the weave of the linen, the tighter the tension should be. Some linen has very thin threads mixed in with thick which when not under tension can squish up next to its neighbor. The more open the weave the more important it is to have equal tension at all times. I think that the original use for hoops was probably for designs that fit into them exactly and the hoop didn’t have to go over the threads. Some negative points about hoops are that they can be hard on the thread when moved about, they can also be hard on the thumb and wrist over time. A hoop should be properly prepared wrapping the bottom hoop in cloth to help keep the linen from moving. A very stiff linen doesn’t sit well in a hoop. There are stands available to hold the hoop and free up both hands. You can’t sit all curled up, you’ll have to sit like a lady (darn). On the plus side, hoops are ver portable and can be taken anywhere as long as the piece isn’t too large. I guess those of you who use hoops have methods to cope with these issues, any suggestions?
IN HAND: This can also work and is sometimes easier for some. The only issue I have is keeping the piece clean if it can’t be washed and it can be hard on the hands and thumbs if doing a lot of embroidery for long stretches daily.
Q-SNAPS: I have used these inbetween discovery of roller frames and hoops. They require a tug now and again to maintain tension and as long as there isn’t too much fabric flopping around they are quite good. I think you could develop methods of tying up the extra fabric and protecting it with tissue when passing the work under the snaps.
ROLLER FRAMES: I now use these for all my samplers and have quite a selection. I have recently purchased a Millennium frame but have not used it enough to comment on it except to say the tension is fabulous. I have a small inexpensive frame that has slits in the top and bottom rollers that the linen slides into. The side bars tighten up and hold everything in place. I used it for Mary Hurst which is 29” x 6” on 40 count and the tension was very tight throughout. The sides got a bit soft towards the end but overall it worked very well. I think I got it at Michael’s in Canada. The frames that require the linen to be stitched on are OK but are a nuisance to set up. I have a stand but it requires screwing the frame onto it so I don’t use it much. I think the stand for the Millennium frame allows the frame to sit on it. I usually sit at a table with the frame propped up on my knee and the table. Sometimes I curl up in a chair while using it, (great for the posture).
STRETCHER BARS: I use these for pieces that fit exactly into the frame. The linen is held onto the bars with brass tacks. The work is very tight. These are inexpensive and can be interchanged to suit the size of your piece.
All of the above can be clamped to tables for freeing up both hands.
I only use 35 to 40 count linen with silk thread for my samplers these days and I don’t do the ones that are primarily cross stitch so these methods may not be meant for you. All the work shown so far looks perfect to me so whatever you are using must work for you but as we all know it doesn’t hurt to get new ideas and give them a try. I am used to having my ideas get shot down and blown to bits so please feel free to comment and add your own ideas and experiences.
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Posted by Nicola