EmmaRose Crafts Blog

Hi,

We wanted to create a blog that would become a handy reference tool and for this reason you will find most of our posts relate to craft techniques and skills, with a few added extras here and there. We hope you find it useful and that you will visit often.

Happy crafting!

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Category: CROSS STITCH, BLACKWORK & EMBROIDERY

  1. Cross Stitch Basics - Hoops & Frames

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    Hoops and Frames

     Whilst not essential, hoops and frames are beneficial for all types of stitching where the fabric needs to be kept taut. They provide better tension than if the fabric is hand-held, and help to prevent distortion, especially in linen and evenweave fabrics which are softer than aida. Keeping the fabric under tension also helps give the finished piece a more even appearance and reduces the amount the fabric is handled. Some can also accommodate magnifiers, lights and special clips for securing a chart.

    Personal preference will dictate your choice, as will the size of the project. Detailed below is some additional information that you might find useful. It does not cover every option available but hopefully provides a good overview.

    HOOPS

    Often used for smaller items, hoops are lightweight, portable, and for some designs are used to frame the final piece. Some can also be held on stands.

    They come in a large variety of sizes and it is important to consider the design size when choosing. In holding the fabric taut they do tend to crease the material and, if the design is larger than the hoop, moving it around the fabric as you work can lead to stitched sections becoming squashed. One option is to remove the hoop in-between stitching sessions, but it is preferable to choose a hoop large enough to accommodate the entire design.

    Whilst it needs to be large enough, it mustn’t be too big, as it will then be difficult to keep the fabric taut – so you can see as far as hoops are concerned…size really is important!

    There are three main types of hoop;

    Wooden Hoops

    blog hoops & frames wooden hoopAvailable in many sizes the hoop is constructed of two rings, one fitting inside the other, and with the outer ring having a screw for tightening. 

    To secure your work open up the hoop and position the inner ring under the fabric (make sure the fabric is central and the right side is facing up) than place the outer ring over the top of the fabric, pushing it down over the inner. Tighten the screw to secure the fabric firmly.

     

     

    Spring Tension Hoops

    blog hoops & frames spring tension hoop

    Similar design to wooden hoops except the inner ring is a sprung metal hoop and the outer is plastic.

    To secure your work place the outer plastic ring under the fabric (make sure the fabric is central and the right side is facing down) than squeeze the clips of the metal inner ring and place over the top of the fabric, pushing it down over the outer. Release the clips to secure the fabric.

     

     

    Flexi Hoops

    blog hoops & frames flexi hoop

     

    Often used for small projects as they do not have such a strong grip on the fabric. Similar to the wooden hoops except the inner ring is solid plastic and the outer ring is a more rubbery plastic.

    The fabric is secured in the same way as for the wooden hoops but as there is no screw the outer ring simply fits snugly over the inner. Available in a wide range of colours they are often used as the final frame for the finished piece.

     

    FRAMES

    Frames are often used for larger projects and come in a variety of sizes, some with stands and other accessories. As with hoops, size is important but frames tend to be more accommodating of a wider size range, and generally less likely to crease the fabric.

    There are two main types;

    Roller Frames

    blog hoops & frames roller frame

    These frames have a tape strip on two rollers to which you sew the edges of your fabric. Mark the centre of your fabric before attaching and then roll the fabric evenly from the top and/or bottom as needed, re-rolling when necessary to move the fabric to a new stitching area.

    If held on a frame, take care to pad the rolled fabric where the frame will grip the roller as this will help to prevent a mark on the fabric.

     

    Easy Clip Frames

    blog hoops & frames easy clip frame

     

    They work on the same principle as the roller frame but instead of sewing the fabric to the rollers it is held on place with clips.

     

     

  2. Cross Stitch Basics - Tools & Equipment

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    Needles

    As with all needlecraft it is important to use the correct needle. When working cross stitch it is important to use a tapestry needle for the basic stitch. This is because the needle has a blunt tip, and a large oval-shaped eye. The blunt tip pushes aside the fabric threads when stitching instead of piercing them, helping keep stitches more uniform and properly placed, and reducing the risk of damage to the fabric.

    The most commonly used needle sizes are 24 for aida and 26 for evenweave (see my blog on cross stitch needles for a more detailed breakdown)

    When adding finer details, such as French Knots and backstitch it is often easier to switch to a sharp embroidery needle. This is also the case when working fractional stitches on aida as you need to pierce the fabric.

    Discard any needles that are showing signs of rust, or roughened edges, as they will stain and/or damage the fabric.

    Scissors

    Small, sharp, embroidery scissors are needed, and are not usually expensive. Keep them exclusively for cutting threads as using them for general purposes, such as cutting paper, will reduce the sharpness of the blades.

    Magnifiers & Lights

    There is a large number of magnifiers and lights available, some products combining both together, some with daylight bulbs. Ultimately any decision on what to buy, if anything at all, will depend, not just on budget, but very much on individual requirements, such as strength of eyesight and most common location and time of day for stitching. Best advice is to consider what is needed and then research available products before buying.

    Hoops and Frames

    Whilst not essential, hoops and frames are beneficial for all types of stitching where the fabric needs to be kept taut. They provide better tension than if the fabric is hand-held, and help to prevent distortion, especially in linen and evenweave fabrics which are softer than aida. Keeping the fabric under tension also helps give the finished piece a more even appearance and reduces the amount the fabric is handled. Some can also accommodate magnifiers and lights, and again best advice is to consider what is needed and research available products before buying. (see my blog on hoops and frames needles for a more analysis)