The 5 best embroidery hoops for cross stitching: as rated by a professional

The 5 best embroidery hoops for cross stitching: as rated by a professional

When you’ve been cross stitching for most of your life as I have, you end up having favourite embroidery hoops, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best hoop for every cross stitcher.

An embroidery hoop holds your fabric and keeps it taut when you are cross stitching, so they’re an essential part of a cross stitcher’s kit.

Using an embroidery hoop makes it easier to create neat stitches with equal tension, which prevents puckering in the fabric, ensuring it will sit flat when your piece is finished.

Here is my list of the best embroidery hoops for cross stitch, in no particular order - except for the number 1 spot.


1. Beechwood embroidery hoop

I use Elbesee beechwood embroidery hoops, and I’m not the only one who rates them highly - they’re probably the most used in the cross stitch and embroidery communities.

A beechwood embroidery hoop is a screw tension hoop, so when you unscrew it, the two wooden hoops will separate.

You place your fabric over the smaller ring, right side up, and then slot the outer ring over both the smaller ring and fabric. Tighten the screw part way, pull the fabric to make it taut “like a drum”, and then tighten the screw as much as you can.

I've been through every kind of embroidery hoop going, and have had ones where the hoop has got marks on the fabric, or the inner hoop and outer hoop don't quite fit together.

The Elbesee beechwood embroidery hoops I use are perfectly round and perfectly smooth, and are made in the UK. They’re really good quality, so I definitely recommend them.


2. Flexi hoop

Flexi hoops keep tension really well and work similarly to beechwood embroidery hoops, in that they have two rings to hold your fabric.

One of the main differences is that they’re made of plastic, and come in all sorts of finishes - plain colours, patterned, wood-effect - making them really decorative, so they’re great for framing finished pieces too.

Instead of unscrewing, you need to stretch and bend the flexible outer ring from the more rigid inner ring. Then, as with the beechwood embroidery hoop, you place your fabric right side up on the inner hoop, before sliding the outer ring over the top.


3. Q-Snap frame

Q-Snap frames are a little different - they are a square or rectangle plastic frame made of round plastic tubes, which usually come disassembled. They’re very easy to put together with corner pieces.

For each side, there is a long c-shaped clamp (or “snap”) to hold your fabric in place.

As with the hoops, you lay your fabric over the frame, and then clip the snaps onto each side, rolling them outward to create tension in your fabric, ready for cross stitching.

They’re really easy to use and adjust, and are said to have better and more even tension than hoops. They’re also less likely to wrinkle your fabric.


4. Lowery Workstand with wooden frame

A Lowery Workstand is a tall, steel stand which allows you to embroider or cross stitch without having to hold the hoop or frame - it’s great for those who have mobility issues or difficulty holding and stitching, or for working on larger pieces.

The stand sits on the floor, and has an adjustable height so you can stitch from anywhere - your sofa, bed, or your favourite chair. Using the clamp, you can attach your favourite embroidery hoop or frame.

Lowery is a family run business, hand-making their Workstands in North Lincolnshire.


5. Oval embroidery hoop

Oval embroidery hoops are great for if you’re looking for something a bit different and more modern. I think finished cross stitch pieces look great framed in oval hoops too, as it’s an attractive and unique shape.

For patterns that aren’t circular or square, oval embroidery hoops are great. For example, if you have a landscape cross stitch pattern, an oval embroidery hoop is perfect.

You can get both screw tension (like the beechwood embroidery hoop) and flexi oval embroidery hoops, so it’s down to whichever you prefer.


Whichever type of embroidery hoop you choose, it’s best to use one that is roughly an inch bigger all the way around than the cross stitch design you’re sewing.

Think I’ve missed an amazing embroidery hoop off my list? Send me a DM on Instagram or join the Meloca Designs Cross Stitch Facebook Group to chat with other cross stitchers about your favourite hoop.

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