How to Hand Quilt Without a Hoop?

Just like with embroidering or sewing, having a quilting hoop around you can be a complete time saver and a helping hand you desperately need for your quilting projects.

Because these quilting hoops can actually make your stitching so much easier, they can be considered a very important accessory for all your quilting projects. 

However, if you don’t have a quilting hoop to help you in the process, it doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to complete your quilts just the way you want them to be.

It is quite possible to become an experienced and efficient quilter without using a quilting hoop if you only know the right tricks to apply. 

But first of all, let’s know what a quilting hoop is and how it is used. 

What is a Quilting Hoop? 

A quilting hoop is similarly designed as embroidery or a stitching hoop, only larger in size.

For someone who is completely new to the term “hoop”, a hoop is a two-piece round frame used in most kinds of sewing, stitching, embroidering, repairing and quilting jobs.

The two-piece frames hold the fabric being used securely and tightly in between them, making it easy to make any kind of stitches or designs on the fabric.

The main job of any kind of hoop is to keep the fabric being used tight, steady and taut, so that the fabric itself doesn’t appear to be wrinkly when stitches are made on it. 

Most kinds of stitching have their own designs of hoops, but the same hoops can be used in embroidering, quilting or stitching.

When it comes to hoops, what’s most important is the shape, the size, the material and the comfort it provides to the user, and not what type of hoop originally is. 

What’s Special About a Quilting Hoop? 

A quilting hoop is special in the sense that it is stronger and mightier than a regular embroidery hoop or a stitching hoop.

Since in quilting, the hoop might have to secure several layers of fabric at the same time, it is stronger in that aspect.

A quilting hoop is also supposed to keep the tension in the fabric completely even, keep all the layers in place without moving, and stop any of the fabric layers from moving. For all these reasons, an embroidery hoop is usually much stronger and sturdier than any other type of hoop. 

An old-fashioned screw and bolt are used on the outer side of the quilting hoop to make it tight against the multiple layers of the fabric.

In a quilting hoop, this screw and bolt are especially tight as it needs to secure several layers of fabrics at the same time without letting any of them loose. 

How to Use a Hoop for Quilting? 

A quilting hoop is also used the same way as a regular hoop or an embroidery hoop. All the pieces of fabric are layered one over another, and they are together fastened between the two pieces of the hoop.

The screw and the bolt, or any other mechanism that are present on the hoop, are then securely tied together so that all the fabric layers stay stable and taut. 

Whether the three different layers of a quilt – the backing, the batting and the top layer – are being joined together or simply the design is being made on the top layer, the fabric is kept securely tight with the help of the quilting hoop. 

How to Hand Quilt Without a Hoop? 

However, if you don’t have a quilting hoop or if you don’t have access to one for the moment, it doesn’t mean that your quilting project has to come to a halt.

It is very much possible to use your hands for all kinds of quilting even without a hoop. 

There is a special trick that you can apply to make your quilts without the help of a hoop. Follow the steps below to continue working on your quilts perfectly without using a hoop: 

  1. First of all, lay the two (or more) layers of fabrics against each other on a flat surface. 
  2. Keep one of your hands under the fabrics, i.e. not your working hand or the hand you are not going to use to sew. 
  3. Place your other hand on the top of the fabric, i.e. the hand you use for sewing. 
  4. Start stitching.
  5. While you are stitching with your working hand, pull your knots through the fabric, from the front of the fabric towards the back of the quilt. 

What Else Would You Need for Quilting?  

Even when you are quilting without the help of a quilting hoop, it is still important that you have the other accessories needed for the job, i.e. 

  1. A metal, ceramic or leather thimble to protect yourself from getting pricked in the finger. 
  2. A plastic or an acrylic rule that is transparent and will also help you to cut angles, edges and lines. 
  3. 100% cotton thread for the best possible stitches. 
  4. A comfortable needle that makes the work faster, sharp enough to prick through several layers of fabric at the same time. 
  5. Some washable markers or marking tools that you can use to mark your lines and edges, or make your drawings. 
  6. Finally, a pair of scissors for cutting your fabric pieces and thread. 

When you are not using a quilting hoop when working on your quilt, these other accessories are especially important to help you through the process. 

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