Many people who start out with embroidery as a hobby will spend a lot of time looking for all the equipment they might need. An embroidery hoop or frame is not actually an essential item of equipment although it will help you tremendously with your embroidery.
The Embroidery Hoop
The embroidery hoop is normally made from two separate pieces, one hoop over which you place the fabric, and a second hoop which you place on top of the fabric to secure it in place. The top hoop also as a little nut, which is tightened to ensure the fabric stays in place. These embroidery hoops come in many different sizes from tiny ones for items of embroidery that are intended for use with cards, to very large ones for large embroidery projects such as a cushion cover or wall hanging. Today, embroidery hoops are made from a range of materials, however the most common being plastic and wood. Depending on the type of wood use, the price for these embroidery hoops can vary dramatically.
The ideal of the embroidery hoop, is that is tightens the fabric that you are using, to enable easy embroidery. Often you don't need a large hoop to cover the entire project, you can use a smaller one and move the hoop around to the area in which you need to use it, as embroidery hoops are very easy to step up.
The down side with most embroidery hoops is that they are not free standing, however you can purchase stands for them from some hobby shops, although these may not be ideal. Try to purchase a stand by the manufacturer or your hoop.
Serious embroiderers may also be put off but the movement of the fabric, often this is due to the action of the needle going through the fabric. This can use prevented by winding bias binding around the inner embroidery hoop.
The Embroidery Frame
The embroidery frame is normally made up from two pieces of round wood help together at the sides by two square pieces of wood to make a square or rectangular frame. Each of these round pieces of wood normally has a small piece of fabric attached, the idea is that the embroidery fabric can be sewn on at each end to the two pieces of wood and then it can be wound until tight. The disadvantage with the embroidery frame is that you can only work on a piece of embroidery the same size or smaller than the frame, you will need to purchase a larger frame if you are undertaking a larger piece of embroidery.
However one of the biggest benefits of using the embroidery frame over the embroidery hoop is the ability to see most, if not all of the area you are working on; where as with the embroidery hoop you are required to take the hoop off to get a overall view of the work completed. The embroidery frame will also keep your work flat (all be it, rolled around the wood), where as the embroidery hoop will cause raised areas to appear on the fabric while you are working on it, although these can be ironed out after the embroidery project is completed.
Most embroidery frames can also be purchased with a compatible stand. The stands available have a much wider range than those for the embroidery hoop. You can find stands that are free standing, attach to a table, attach to your chair or are even designed to fit over your lap.
So, which type should you choose? It's a very hard decision, and therefore you should base it on the type of embroidery you are completing.