Best embroidery hoops and tapestry frames
Using the right embroidery hoop or tapestry frame can really improve your needlework and make it more comfortable and enjoyable for you too.
Using an embroidery hoop or tapestry frame can make your stitching experience so much more enjoyable and comfortable. Your project will be easier to hold onto, and you're less likely to get frustrated with the tension of your fabrics.
The complete guide to embroidery hoops and tapestry frames
Do I need to use an embroidery hoop?
You don't have to use a tapestry frame or embroidery hoop to get started with embroidery or cross stitch but it does make it easier.
You can get to know the basics in small projects while simply holding the fabric in your hand, especially if you are working with aida or plastic canvas.
However, for softer fabrics like linen and other embroidery fabrics, you'll find it far easier if you can keep the fabric taut and upright in an embroidery hoop.
And many cross stitchers say that it's much easier to keep their stitches neat and even if they use a cross stitch hoop or cross stitch frame to stretch their fabric while they work.
What is an embroidery hoop?
Embroidery hoops consist of an inner and outer ring which holds the fabric between them to give you a nice taut surface to make your stitches through.
What is an embroidery frame?
Embroidery frames usually stretch fabric between the top and bottom bars of the tapestry frame and often let you roll and scroll the fabric to help manage tension on larger projects.
With both embroidery hoops and tapestry frames, you will need to hold them in one hand, leaving you free to stitch with the other.
What is an embroidery stand?
The stands clamp onto your embroidery hoop or tapestry frame, holding it in place and leaving both hands free to stitch. You can have one above and one below the embroidery hoop or tapestry frame, to work the stab and stitch method which makes needlework so much faster once you get the hang of it!
Having two hands free for stitching and not having to balance the fabric makes for a much more relaxing and comfortable experience.
Which would work best for you? Have a look through the options below and see which one suits your style of stitching, existing embroidery hoops and tapestry frames and preferred project size.
How to use an embroidery hoop
Embroidery hoops come with an outer and an inner ring. By securing your fabric between the two layers, you can keep it taunt which makes it easier to stitch on.
Separate the two rings. With traditional wooden hoops, you'll see a screw at the top which you loosen to release the inner hoop.
Once you've got your inner hoop free, place your fabric over it with the area you want to stitch on to in the centre.
Make sure you have excess fabric left around the outside of the hoop the whole outer boundary of the frame, otherwise your tension won't work.
If your fabric isn't big enough to stretch over the hoop, you need a smaller hoop.
Now carefully press the outer frame back on top.
Tug the fabric gently around each edge to tighten it and tighten up the screw with a wooden frame.
11 top embroidery hoops and tapestry frames
1. Embroidery hoop stand
When you are looking for a stand to hold your embroidery hoop, think about how you like to sit and the size of projects you work on.
This embroidery hoop stand from Hawthorne Handmade is great if you prefer to sit and stitch in a chair. You can tuck the wooden lip under your legs, and adjust the height and angle of the embroidery hoop to suit your stitching position.
You can also use it with small tapestry frames, or Qsnap embroidery frames – the clamp will open up to a width of 4cms.
It also offers 360° rotation so you can have it at any orientation that suits you, and makes it simple to check the back of your stitching too. The embroidery hoop is not included – just clip in your own embroidery hoop or tapestry frame!
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2. Q Snaps tapestry frame
They may not be the most elegant tapestry frames, but Q Snaps embroidery frames are loved by crafters for their simplicity and how light they are to hold.
Available in lots of different sizes, they are also very adaptable embroidery frames. You can buy extra plastic lengths to slot in and make them bigger, and even add section to give them legs to make them more of a lap table tapestry frame.
The plastic tubes come with ribbed covers that slot over your work and hold it securely but softly in position. They are easy to use even if you have joint issues that make adjusting a wooden tapestry frame hinge hard to manage.
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3. Elbesee easy clip embroidery frame
The Elbesee easy clip embroidery frame is a bit of a halfway house between the Q Snaps and the traditional wooden tapestry frame that you need to sew your project into.
The frame itself is made of wood, but the horizontal struts have a plastic grip that wraps around it and will hold your fabric onto the bar without the need to sew it into position.
As long as the tapestry frame you buy is wide enough for your project you can easily adjust the length up and down along the fabric length, clipping in and removing the fabric with the easy clips.
They are available in five different sizes to suit the scale of the projects you prefer to work on and are popular for cross stitch projects.
4. Elbesee rotating mini clip tapestry frame
Unlike the Elbesee easy clip embroidery frame shown above, this mini embroidery frame is not made of wood, but uses moulded plastic instead. This makes it far simpler to adjust, and makes the tapestry frame much lighter too.
It is a great option to serve as a cross stitch frame for smaller stitches. The levers let you adjust the distance between the two horizontal bars to 4cm, 6cm, 10cm or 14cm, and the horizontal bars are 20cm long and come with easy clips to secure your fabric in place.
This is an inexpensive cross stitch frame with 4 different length options that will work with most cross stitch projects – just not the really big ones!
5. Bamboo embroidery hoop
Embroidery rings are just another way to refer to embroidery hoops – but what makes these embroidery hoops a cut above wooden hoops is that they are made of bamboo!
As well as being a fast-growing and renewable alternative to wooden embroidery hoops, bamboo makes for a much lighter embroidery hoop!
Here you can order embroidery hoops from 3 inches to 18 inches if you want a large embroidery hoop, or choose a set of different sizes to save money on individual embroidery hoop prices.
6. Elbesse hand rotating tapestry frame
The Elbesse hand-rotating frame is a traditional style of embroidery frame, where the needlework project is attached to the tapestry frame by loosely tacking it onto the attached fabric strips at the top and bottom of the embroidery frame.
This tapestry frame does still give you scope for movement, even once the fabric is attached, as the top and bottom bars of the embroidery frame can be rotated to scroll through the length of your project.
An extensive range of sizes is available to suit your typical project size, with a lovely polished wood finish. The Elbesee hand-rotating tapestry frame is shown in the picture in combination with the Elbesse embroidery frame table clamp, which is a good choice of stand for your embroidery frame if you prefer to stitch sitting at a table.
This can be added to your purchase of the Elbesse embroidery frame at Looming Mad Crafts.
7. Elbesee Posilock embroidery frame floor stand
We love the versatility of the tapestry frame or embroidery hoop this stand gives you. Being a floor stand, you can use it wherever you like to stitc.
The Posilock system makes it very stable once you are set up, even if you are working on a large project with a lot of weighty fabric – which makes it a great choice for quilters as well as a tapestry frame.
You can also use the stand with embroidery hoops of all sizes, this gives you the versatility of a two-handed stitching experience, whatever the size of your project.
The stand comes disassembled for easier postage but is not the most portable once put together, but it will make all your at-home needlework sessions a lot more comfortable!
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8. Siesta Lapman tapestry frame
This tapestry frame that is designed to be taken out and about with you and is a popular cross stitch frame.
The Lapman tapestry frame comes complete with a padded carry case, that will keep your project clean and safe when you are not working on it. It can be folded over on itself when stitching to provide a soft padded surface to sit on your lap.
The tapestry frame inside is secured to the carry case by an elasticated strap, to provide extra stability when the Lapman embroidery frame is in use.
The fabric is attached to the tapestry frame with simple plastic clips, and the scrolling top and bottom bars on the tapestry frame ensure you can get the correct fabric tension and secure placement.
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9. Spring embroidery hoop
These spring-loaded embroidery hoops are popular cross stitch hoops because they are quick and easy to use.
The cross stitch hoop frame is made of brightly-coloured plastic, and has a channel running around the internal diameter for the metal spring bar to sit inside. The metal bar can be squeezed to make it smaller and then slotted inside the hoop, where it is released to spring back to its original shape and hold the fabric securely inside the cross stitch hoop.
It's easy to add and remove your fabric every time, so there is no temptation to leave it in the hoop where it could be marked and stretched over time. Simple and effective.
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10. Guofa adjustable embroidery hoop stand
We like the finish on this embroidery hoop stand from Guofa, made from natural beech wood and with smooth, freely moving adjustable joints.
The embroidery hoop is held between two small clamps, both mounted in a sliding channel so that different-sized embroidery hoops can be clamped securely into the stand (up to a maximum of 11 inches in diameter).
As well as round embroidery hoops, the stand works with square and oval embroidery hoops, too. The embroidery hoop is held securely, but the narrow width of the base is not as stable as we'd like.
However, this stand does have the benefit of being able to hold two hoops at the same time, which is fun if you want to work on two projects alongside each other.
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11. Floral embroidery hoop
It's always good practice to bind the outer part of your embroidery hoop as this sits on the front of your work and can mark it in the long term.
Save time and add a beautiful temporary frame of Liberty fabric to your work in progress with these lovely embroidery hoops from Stitch Kits Crafts.
Starting from a 3 inch embroidery hoop all the up to 9 inches if you prefer a large embroidery hoop, you can also get embroidery hoops in an oval shape with the same treatment.
These are such pretty embroidery hoops to use while you are stitching, and they make perfect frames to finish and display your finished project, too.
Choosing the right hoop or tapestry frame for your project
Use this guide to ensure you are choosing the right frame for your work. There will be hoops and frames which are better for cross stitch and some which are better for embroidery.
You also need to think about how much you will be doing the craft before you invest in the more expensive, free-standing mounts.
Embroidery hoop - sorted! Now it's time for your next project.
So you've got your comfortable stitching setup! Now it's time to take on your next project. Check out these beautiful easy embroidery ideas that you can start right now.
Hannah has worked on Gathered for 3 years, since our launch in 2019. At school Hannah learned to knit collaborating on dorcas blankets – now she edits our knitting section. She inherited her love of stitching and embroidery from her talented grandmother, and her passion for thread led her to be Editor of The World of Cross Stitching for six years. Card making is a more recent passion, developing from her position as editor of Cross Stitch Card Shop. She loves using kinetic techniques to make cards that move – she was editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine for over four years, creating loads of card making video tutorials at www.youtube.com/PapercraftTV.
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