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Hoops & Feet

by Trisha Livingston

When was the last time you inspected your embroidery hoops or feet?
These products go through a lot of wear and tear and often suffer
from inattention.

Clear sewing machine feet are a perfect example, since they are used
many times when you want better vision, but not always for the best
functionality. When a needle breaks many times it will damage a
plastic foot causing the needle opening to become rough or cracked;
this can be the cause of thread getting caught on the damaged foot and
can also cause poor stitching results. In light of this, be sure to
check your plastic feet for breakage or damage regularly.

People who machine embroider often use lots of special stabilizers and
fabric sprays. This gums up our hoops and feet and can have a big
impact on stitch quality and keeping one’s fabric hooped properly. If
your hoops and feet are sticky, you can try cleaning them with
Goo-Gone and an old tooth brush; avoid the use of alcohol based
products, because using such products can contribute (over time) to
weakening the structure of your hoops, which will eventually cause
cracking. After the sticky residue is loosened, wipe with a lint free
paper towel or rag. Be sure to check for any cracks or damage on your
hoop or feet while you are cleaning.

If you find your hoops are not holding the fabric tight enough for
your embroidery, check your hoop screws. It’s difficult sometimes to
avoid the temptation to over-tighten your hoop screws, but doing so
can cause the center of the screw to become stripped. If you find that
your hoop screws are stripped, they can be replaced by your dealer in
most cases.

Oftentimes, machine embroiderers will struggle to tighten or loosen
their hoop screws. A simple solution for this is to employ the use of
“pencil pillows”, they are made of foam or foam rubber and are
available at office supply stores (and oftentimes in department
stores and even well stocked grocery stores). These are great for the
screws on your hoops, and even better for your hands. Simply cut one
in half and install one of the halves over the screw. It makes it much
easier on our fingers to turn the screw to tighten or loosen whenever

I try to set aside part of one day per month to clean up my area,
machines, hoops and feet. I also vacuum, dust and put my supplies away
where they belong so I can find them when needed. After the cleaning
is done and you’re done putting everything in it’s place, you’ll get a
good feeling and feel more creative.

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6 Responses to Hoops & Feet

  1. Penny DuBose says:

    Thanks for the tips and your right about cleaning up our sewing space – it really makes me more productive. Clutter around me just keeps my brain in the same shape!

  2. Lorraine says:

    Great comments on hoop and area. I do accomplish more when my area is cleaned up and can see what is happening.

  3. Michelle says:

    I use spray adhesive a lot, I cut a rectangular hole in a piece of newspaper and place it over my hoop to catch some of the spray as a spray my stableizer. Some spray still gets on my hoops but it is a lot less. I usually reuse the newspaper if embroidering with the same hoop that day, otherwise I just toss it.

  4. Mary Reid says:

    I agree with Trisha – having a good clean out and sort of craft/sewing equipment and fabric really clears the mind and helps the inspiration. Thanks for the timely tip!

  5. Carylanne says:

    This is a great message for all of us that love to embroider. I have so many items to do each week for my web sites, I HAVE to be clutter free. After each set or group is complete, every thing goes back to it’s rightful place. The room is cleaned and then I can start a new project. It does make it easier tofind the right thread color as well. When you are cleaning up don’t forget to brush out your bobbin pin for collected threads. I do this at every bobbin change. Don’t use your needles too long, or you may find miss stitches or worse. I had my machine serviced this weekend, and I needed the feed dog raised a bit. the embroidery was great but the button holes on a blouse had to be removed as the feed dog wasn’t doing the feeding. my service $120. each time and I have the machine checked twice a year. Yes I sew for a living.

  6. Gail says:

    a picture would help this tip out a lot for those of us who are instructionally challenged, Which way in half do you cut it and how does it go on the screw. For instance, do you cut it into 2 whole pieces or 2 half pieces or should i say length wise or width wise

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