Hand quilting is done by hand-sewing all the layers of the quilt together with a simple needle and thread. This method of quilting is done without a sewing machine or long arm. Instead, the quilter uses a running stitch (or other decorative stitches) to sew all the layers of the quilt together.
Hand quilting can be a great way to relax and relieve stress. Since it doesn’t require a sewing machine, it can be done on the go, allowing you to be more productive while you’re commuting or watching TV.
When it comes to creating a design or pattern, the quilter may choose to follow a pattern, or they can create their own design by hand. The size and style of the stitches are determined by the skill of the quilter. Compared to machine quilting, hand-quilting arguably requires more tools, one of which is the quilting hoop.
So, what are the best quilting hoops? The best quilting hoops are made of sturdy and high-quality materials, are able to hold the fabric taut for a long period of time without relaxing, and are lightweight. You may also want to consider other features for convenience like a stand.
For tools, you will need sewing tools as well as tools that allow you to hold all the layers of the quilt together. In this article, let’s explore the art of hand quilting and select the best hand quilting hoops to help you get started.
What You Need To Hand Quilt
Although hand quilting is technically “manual” work, it does require you to have some basic tools that help you get the job done. If you want to explore your hand quilting skills, here are some basic tools that you will need.
- Between Needle – You can’t just use a basic sewing needle to hand quilt because a sewing needle won’t be able to penetrate all of the thick layers of the quilt. Hand quilting requires a specific type of needle called a between. The size of the between depends on the type of stitch used and the size of the project.
- Thread – When it comes to hand quilting, a heavier-weight thread is ideal for gliding through the layers without breaking. Sometimes, embroidery floss can also be used for hand quilting.
- Thimble – Constantly pushing a needle through several thick layers of fabric isn’t easy. That’s why a thimble is an integral part of hand quilting since it is used to protect your finger while you work on a project. There are many types of thimbles available for quilters. You can choose metal, leather, or plastic thimbles, depending on your preference.
- Quilting Hoop – When people think of quilting, an image of a quilting hoop is not exactly what comes to mind. However, a good quilting hoop can make a world of difference when you start hand quilting.
A hoop or frame will keep your work in place and make the stitching process easier. Since hand quilting takes much longer than machine quilting, holding all of your layers in place while you create the design is necessary to help you create a beautiful and neat design without any distortions.
The Basics Of Quilting Hoops
The right quilting hoop will allow you to secure the layers of fabrics (and batting) together, freeing up your hands for quilting. If your layers are secured, your stitches will be more precise, which will also improve how your final product will look.
A hand quilting hoop is very similar to an embroidery hoop. Its two-part frame keeps the layers of a quilt together while stretching the fabric to create even tension for stitching. A bolt and a screw are used to secure the outer circle of the quilt, which also works to create tension on the fabric.
With nuts and bolts involved, you should always make sure that there are no sharp objects that can puncture and damage your fabric as you quilt.
Since a hoop is quite small, you can only quilt a small area at a time and move the hoop to start quilting another area. Quilting hoops come in various sizes ranging from 10″ to 22″ in diameter. However, the most popular sizes are the 14″ and 18″ hoops since they are the most versatile and the easiest to hold.
Quilting hoops are designed to have rounded edges with a 1″ to 1.5″ thickness. The thickness allows you to secure all of the layers together, ensuring that the fabric layers don’t slip out from the frame while you create your stitches.
You can choose from plastic quilting hoops or wooden quilting hoops. Plastic hoops tend to be more affordable, although they can also be slippery, especially if you are holding together some thick layers.
Generally, wooden quilting hoops are more dependable since they are sturdier and won’t be as slippery. However, you should also know that wooden quilting hoops tend to be heavier, so if you take your project on the go or hold the quilting hoop for a long time, your arms will get tired.
If you are interested in buying a great hand quilting hoop for your first hand-quilting project, below are our recommendations.
Best Quilting Hoops
|1.||Dritz Plastic No-Slip Quilting Hoop||No-slip, durable plastic, lightweight, 4 sizes|
|2.||Frank A. Edmunds Quilt Hoop||Wood, even tension, smooth edges|
|3.||Frank A. Edmunds Quilters Wonder! Hoop||Adjustable stand, rotating|
|4.||Amish Oak Wood Quilting Hoop||Solid oak stand, tilts in all directions|
|5.||Darice Wooden Quilting Hoop||Extra large, wood, sturdy, lightweight|
1. Dritz Plastic No-Slip Quilting Hoop
This hoop is sure to keep your project stable while quilting. Thanks to its sturdy design, complete with a 4-inch wing nut and bolt, this no-slip hoop will hold your project firmly in place while you work.
Most plastic quilting hoops can be quite slippery, which can make hand quilting more difficult. However, thanks to this no-slip quilting hoop’s unique interlocking design between the inner and outer hoop, all the layers of the quilt can be secured in position while you create your design.
This plastic hand quilting hoop is strong, smooth, and durable. It offers great assistance to your quilting while adding virtually no weight to your project at all, so holding or balancing it while you quilt will feel quite effortless.
This quilting hoop design comes in four sizes: 7″, 10″, 12″, and 14″ in diameter, which allows you to work with a variety of projects, from small baby blankets to large decorative quilts. This is a great starter quilting hoop to help you explore the craft and improve your hand quilting skills.
2. Frank A. Edmunds Quilt Hoop
If you are searching for a wooden quilting hoop option that is still lightweight and dependable, then we definitely recommend this option.
This quilting hoop is 14″ in diameter and 1.25″ in thickness, the perfect size and thickness to hand quilt several layers of fabric at the same time. This construction keeps your fabric and batting in place while you stitch right through the layers.
This hoop features a beautiful, solid basswood material with solid wood block closure, which is very sturdy but still lightweight and easy to quilt with. The four-inch plated tension bolt does a great job of securing the fabric to create an even tension for quilting, and working with the bolt is not as intimidating as it looks.
This hoop is the perfect addition to anyone’s quilting collection. Its round edges provide a smooth surface that allows the frame to secure your fabric without damaging it. When it comes time to move the frame to another area for quilting, the smooth and rounded edges also allow the frame to move easily around your quilt while still being kind to your fabric.
3. Frank A. Edmunds Quilters Wonder! Hoop
If the thought of holding a quilting hoop for hours while hand quilting seems daunting to you, then you can opt for one with a stand that holds your project in place while you work.
This amazing 18″ quilting hoop comes with a 37.5″ frame that creates a mobile “workspace,” so you don’t have to figure out the most ergonomic position that allows you to hand quilt for a long time without hurting your back and neck.
The Frank A. Edmunds brand is known for making highly dependable quilting hoops, but the addition of a frame is definitely a game-changer.
We love that the hoop can be rotated and tilted a full 360 degrees on its stable, height-adjustable base, which means you can customize the frame to find the most comfortable position for you to create the quilt.
Although the hoop comes with a stand, it is still lightweight enough to be fully portable, so you can set up your quilting “station” anywhere. When the hoop is not in use, you can fold it down to a 16″ frame for easy storage.
4. Amish Oak Wood Quilting Hoop
This quilting hoop is not just a useful tool; it’s also an amazing work of art that can easily be a decor piece in your home.
This beautiful 22″ quilting hoop with a stand is made of solid oak wood with a medium walnut stain. The stand is artfully constructed to allow the quilting hoop to swivel around, while the four-legged support allows the stand itself to stand sturdily while you work.
This quilting hoop is an amazing piece of handcrafted construction that allows you to hold your quilting in place at the right angle to create your stitching. Every detail, down to the nuts and bolts, is polished and carefully crafted to create the best experience for quilting.
If you love handcrafted products and appreciate good craftsmanship, then this quilting hoop is definitely one to add to your collection of quilting tools.
5. Darice Wooden Quilting Hoop
This extra-large (23″) wooden quilting hoop is great for holding a large area of fabric for quilting.
Lightweight and sturdy, Darice wooden quilting hoops are the perfect way to keep your project taut. Made of high-quality hardwood and topped with a wing nut and bolt, this quilting hoop is a highly reliable addition to your quilting tools collection.
This quilting hoop can be especially useful when you need to work on a big or bulky project that requires a large surface area since 23″ is substantially larger than most quilting hoop sizes that you can find on the market.
The wood is sturdy enough to hold a thick layer of fabric without being twisted but is lightweight enough to hold comfortably, which is especially important if you are working with a large and bulky project. This wooden quilting hoop is a ‘must have’ quilting accessory, beneficial for both novices and professionals alike.
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