Beginner hand quilters are often confused about quilting frames and hoops – what the difference is and whether you even need one.
Basically, the purpose of a quilting frame or hoop is to hold the layers of your quilt together as you hand quilt. A hoop or frame also acts as a kind of stretcher, and helps prevent puckers and tucks in your fabric as you quilt.
Surprisingly, even when hand quilting, it is possible to stitch in puckers or tucks, especially on the backside of your quilt. So, having your quilt secured in a hoop or frame will help prevent surprises when you turn your quilt over.
The type of device you choose depends on you and your preferences.
A quilting frame is rather large, and is great when you have many quilters quilting the quilt at the same time – a quilting bee. A hoop is something you would use as an individual quilter and can be either a lap hoop or a hoop on a stand.
A lap frame for hand quilting
As you can imagine, a hoop on a stand would be very convenient for quilting, especially if you don’t want the quilt in your lap. Plus you would be stitching in many different directions in order to complete your quilting design, since the hoop would stay in the same place.
A lap hoop will allow you to turn the quilt around in your lap in order to stitch in the same direction all of the time.
Most hoops on stands are round, while lap hoops come in several different sizes and shapes. My favorite hoop is about 15 inches wide and is square with rounded corners.
The major differences in quilting frames have to do with how the quilt is held in the frame – whether it is on rollers, or attached to the sides of the frames (usually with clamps or pins).
You’ll find pictures of the various frames and hoops when you visit: