How To Hand Quilt With A Hoop | A Definitive Guide

It’s always better to work when something helps you making it more convenient and time saving. In hand quilting, hoop is better seen as an important tool that helps quilters on their quilting projects easier. Hand quilting with hoops is helpful especially to beginners on improving their quilting skills.

What is a Hoop?

It’s better to familiarize this tool before deciding using this when quilting. This is a great help in knowing what works best and fits on your desired designs. First is to know how to handle it better and always check its manufacturing details upon purchasing as well as its size. It comes from 10-22 inches but 14-18 inch are the most common option.

When purchasing one, make sure you’re buying the quilting hoop instead of embroidery hoop. As an embroidery hoop is ½ inch deep and has sharp edges while a quilting hoop is 1 to ½ inches deep with tad rounded edge. Be more conscious when buying one for it’s worth of an investment too. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can buy a spring-loaded plastic hoop but you can’t adjust it for firmness.

Don’t worry, there’s always something for you. You may also choose a plastic PVC piping that perfectly fits when you have a square or rectangular hoops. It’s flexible because it’s easy to snap together and disassemble when not in use. It has a Q-snap frame making its clamps stiff and tight.

A hoop is not as big as you’re expecting, it is quite small but it doesn’t mean it’s not strong. It has a two-part round frame that keeps your quilt layers tighter and ensures even tension and minimize slipping. It is tighten by a screen and bolt placed on the outer circle. What’s good with using hoop when quilting is that, you can freely change its direction and simply move from one area to another area where you will quilt. Make sure that its wing nuts are solid and large enough to tighten safely to ensure that there’s no gaps between the hoops and its brackets. There must be no staple or sharp points on the inside part of your hoop.
In order for you to obtain nice quilting stitches, make sure that your one hand guides your needle on the top side while the other does the same at the bottom side. When your fabric is slipping, the best thing for you to do is to wrap your inner hoop with bias strip of your fabric. You can use this technique whether your hoop is plastic or not. On the other hand, it is also important to know the right hoop where you can find convenience upon quilting and to know how to balance the hoop on the edge of armchair and the low level of your lap as support.

So How To Hand Quilt With A Hoop?

It may look easy to use this tool but it’s really it is when you get the hang on how to use it. Like, you don’t have to place your quilt in the hoop and rather keep it not as tight as with your embroidery. Keep in mind to always place the hoop over your quilt and push down in the center, having the hoop comes up flush with the sides. You’ll notice a dip in the center and when you pick up the quilt it looks floppy but don’t forget to remove the hoop when you’re not using it.

Another reminder is to properly load your quilt after separating the inner and outer circles of the hoop and place the smaller ones on a flat surface. You can continuously place the quilt sandwich over the small hoops while smoothing all the wrinkles.
After doing so, you can put the top ring over the bottom ring and tighten its screws. Apply some tension to be able to move the quilt sandwich in the hoop. Make sure to only tug with the straight grain of the fabric and after flipping your quilt, you smooth out all the wrinkles.

You can go around the underside of the hoop using your first and circular motion which is a very relaxing move while quilting. Even if it takes some time to learn to bend the fabric over the point of the needle, over time it’s easier to do so.
Just keep in mind that when using a hoop in quilting, you have to master the amount of tightness to apply on your quilt. It’s just a matter of time and rhythm to perfectly get the stitch when using the hoop. Relax your tensions made by the hoop and try not to stretch your quilt.
When you think the hoop already serves its purpose on your quilts, take it out and enjoy your finish project! Happy quilting!