Step By Step: How to Put Cross Stitch Fabric in a Hoop

Connie Barwick
  • 01 of 07

    Separate the Rings of the Hoop

    Preparing your hoop for a cross stitch project is easy with the following seven steps. It seems that placing fabric in a hoop is a no brainer, but there is a proper approach. Once you master the technique, you'll be able to concentrate more on your cross stitch project

    Two rings make up an embroidery hoop. An inner and an outer hoop. The hoop with the hardware is the outer hoop and the one without any hardware is the inner hoop that fits into the hardware hoop. You will have to unscrew the hardware to separate the two pieces. Do not force the divide—separating these rings is the first step in the process of putting fabric in a hoop.

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  • 02 of 07

    Fabric Size Matters

    The fabric should overlap the hoop by at least one to two inches. Your fabric should not hang in the way. This opens up the opportunity of it getting tangled in the stitching. You also do not want it so short that it will unravel if you try to stretch the fabric. Choose the size of the hoop based on the size of your material. Do not use an 8-inch hoop for a 12-inch project. You run the risk of the fabric getting dirty. For larger pieces of material, it will be best to use a frame or stitch "in the hand." Stitch in hand is not using a hoop at all and you leave the fabric free in your hand.  

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  • 03 of 07

    Place the Fabric over the Ring

    To start the process of setting your material in the hoop: Place the fabric over the inner, or smaller, ring. This is the ring that does not have a screw tightener on it. Make sure you center the fabric. While it does help to keep the fabric in the middle, it is not one hundred percent necessary. It also depends on where you start your stitching. If you start your pattern in the middle then make sure your fabric is in the middle. If you start from the left, the fabric needs to hang to the left. It depends on what you are comfortable with and how big the piece is. 

    You may want to use a pin or needle to mark the center of the fabric as a reference before you put it in the hoop. This will allow you to make sure your fabric is in the middle. 

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  • 04 of 07

    Loosen the Outer Ring

    Loosen the screw adjuster on the outer ring. The looser the better. Just don't loosen it so much that the screw comes completely off the ring. You want to make sure that the hoop is loose enough to pull over the fabric but not so loose that you will lose the screw. 

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  • 05 of 07

    Sandwich the Fabric Between the Rings

    Place the outer ring over the inner ring sandwiching the fabric between the rings. This may be a bit difficult to do if your fabric is very thick. If that's the case, you can loosen the screw a bit more. If you are still having problems, you may need to switch to a Q-Snap or frame to hold your fabric. 

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  • 06 of 07

    Tighten the Adjustment Screw

    Once the fabric is centered, tighten the adjustment screw slightly. Tighten the screw as far as it can go without stripping it or breaking the hoop or having the fabric slip. 

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  • 07 of 07

    The Fabric is in the Hoop

    Pull on the corners of the fabric to make sure the surface of the fabric is flat. Fully tighten the screw. The fabric is ready for stitching. Make sure the screw is at the top of your project, not the bottom. This makes for an excellent guideline for where you need to stitch. Position the adjustment screw so that it's with the hand holding the hoop. This way the embroidery floss will not catch on it while you are stitching.

    Now that your fabric is centered and tight in the hoop, you are ready to stitch your project. Again, how you want to stitch is totally up to you. Some like to start from the left to the right (like reading a book) while the more traditional and widely known way is to mark the middle and start from there. There's no right or wrong way—just the way that feels most comfortable to you.