Cross Stitch Tutorial: How to Put Cross Stitch Fabric in a Hoop

  • 01 of 08

    Separate the Rings of the Hoop

    Separated Hoop Rings
    Separated Hoop Rings. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    An embroidery hoop is made up of two rings.  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 separation! Separating these rings is the first step in the process of putting fabric in a hoop.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Fabric Size Matters

    Fabric Should Overlap the Hoop
    Fabric Should Overlap the Hoop. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    The fabric should overlap the hoop by at least one to two inches.You do not want the fabric to be in the way and have the possibility of getting tangled in the stitching but you also do not want it so short that it will unravel if you try to stretch it out.  Choose the size of the hoop based on the size of the fabric.Do not use an 8 inch hoop for a 12 inch project. You run the risk of the fabric getting dirty.  Note:For larger pieces of fabric, it will be best to use a frame or stitch "in...MORE the hand." 

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  • 03 of 08

    Place the Fabric over the Ring

    Place the Fabric Over the Hoop
    Place the Fabric Over the Hoop. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Place the fabric over the inner, or smaller, ring. This is the ring which does not have a screw tightener on it. The fabric should be centered - this does not have to be exact. It does help if the fabric is center but it is not the end if not. It also depends on where you start your stitching from. If you start your pattern in the middle than makes sure your fabric is in the middle. If you start from the left, the fabric should be to the left. It depends on what you are comfortable with and how...MORE big the piece is. 
    You may want to use a pin or needle to mark the center of the fabric as a point of reference before you put it in the hoop.This will allow you to make sure your fabric is indeed in the middle. 

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  • 04 of 08

    Loosen the Outer Ring

    Loosen the Screw Adjuster
    Loosen the Screw Adjuster. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    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 08

    Sandwich the Fabric Between the Rings

    Sandwich the Fabric Between the Rings
    Sandwich the Fabric Between the Rings. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    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 is 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 08

    Tighten the Adjustment Screw

    Tighten the Adjustment Screw
    Tighten the Adjustment Screw. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    If 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. It needs to be tight to hold the fabric in place. 

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  • 07 of 08

    The Fabric is in the Hoop

    Fabric in a Hoop and Frame
    Fabric in a Hoop and Frame. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    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. The screw needs to be at the top of your project, not the bottom. This makes for an excellent guideline as to where you need to stitch. 
    Hint: Position the adjustment screw so that it is with the hand holding the hoop. This way the floss will not catch on it while you are stitching.

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  • 08 of 08

    Ready to Go!

     Now that your fabric is centered and in position 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 is not a right or wrong way, just the way that feels most comfortable to you.