First, I would like to thank Milward and the UKQU for giving me the privilege of testing these lovely colourful embroidery hoops.
Here is what the press release from Milward says about them;
“This lovely set of new hoops from Milward is hard to resist! Designed for use with all fabric types from organza to heavy denim, the clever groove locks the hoops firmly together when tightened, ensuring fabric is held securely and avoiding any slippage. The set includes the most popular sizes; 3”/7.6cm, 5”/12.7cm, 7”/17.8cm and 9”/22.9cm. Each hoop size is in a different colour to make it easy to select the right one for every project. Made from 100% polyester. RRP £10.80 approx (2171118)”
• Green Hoop 9”/ 22.9cm
• Orange 7”/ 17.8cm
• Blue 5”/ 12.7cm
• Red 3”/ 7.6cm
The first thing I noticed about these hoops is the lovely fresh colours, with green, orange, blue and red. This adds a modern fresh look too today’s embroidery hoops.
I am going to put each hoop through their paces and test to see how accurate the press release is.
Impressions, overall appearance of this set was nice and fresh. It had an easy to adjust screw, which you could alter with your finger for more of a precise control, if you only wanted to loosen or tighten it a little bit. The hoops appeared well made with a nice finish on the plastic, and lightweight and washable – minus the screws – allowing for the use of fabric glues and sprays. Although I would recommend only wiping down with a damp cloth or a quick rinse with luke warm water. Hot water or soaking hoops may damage them, and therefore not recommended. These are also my recommendations on how to clean the hoops and not the manufactures. So please clean at your own risk.
Based on a quick search from an online retailer they are a similar price to the recommended retail price -RRP – and compared with other sets of embroidery hoops, which contain more than three hoops they are again similarly priced making them value for money.
I tested the hoops with fabric coming out the top of the hoop and with fabric coming out the bottom. Not sure which way is the “correct” way, to me it depends on what project I am working on.
Fabric type; Do the hoops do what they say they will?
First on test was cotton. I hooped one sheet of tearaway stabiliser with my cotton shirt fabric. It hooped tight like a drum with the easy to grip screw. The only thing I noticed that the small gap where it tightens you do need to pull the fabric taught, but otherwise it remained like a drum with only natural stretch of the fabric. I removed the fabric to check for hoop burn and there was not any, only creases where the hoop had been, which, when ironed disappeared. Tested, using the large green hoop and I used this project in my February blog. https://ukqu.co.uk/the-cheap-procrastinator-machine-and-you/
Next was denim, which I hooped with the largest hoop, the green one. I had been working on “My Great Wave” project using another product I reviewed – https://ukqu.co.uk/clover-embroidery-stitching-tool-product-review-denise-inkson-aka-cheap-procrastinator/ – when using another embroidery hoop, because of the force of the Clover embroidery tool the denim would often slip in the hoop. This was a great opportunity to test both together. With this tool, there is some natural stretching of the fabric. That said, Once I hooped the denim it held like a drum. I did notice a slight distortion on the hoop itself but after a closer inspection – I lifted the fabric up – situated here was the screw section and this straight edge was part of the hoops design. This project remained in the hoop for a few weeks while I was testing the set of hoops, so I was worried about hoop burn. Again, none was present once I ironed the fabric out. Large green hoop used as tester.
The Organza fabric challenge came next; I have never embroidered on organza so this was a first for me. In hindsight, I should have used the smallest hoop – red – instead of using the larger one – orange – but when I started on that project, I had a larger design in mind. Because organza is so sheer, I covered with a layer of wash-away stabiliser, with my design drawn on and hooped both together. The reason I ended up with a smaller design than planned was quite funny. Sheer fabric means you can see through it right! Therefore, why was I surprised that my embroidery stitched showed through. I did feel rather stupid with myself; however, I adapted to suit. I used stem and couching stitches within my work, I wanted to test the push and pull and there was no slipping of the fabric. Once removed from the hoop there was evidence of the hoop marks. A gentle steam press and squirting with some water were able to remove most of them. I do not work a lot with organza so I am not sure if this is a common thing with the fabric, a hoop that you are able to bind might be better choice. Tested the Orange hoop.
Final test using the smallest -red – hoop was on a small image on some Damask fabric. Using that image as a guide, I sewed around it using stem stitch, over the centre using a satin stitch. Again to test the push and pull of the fabric within the hoop. Please to report no slipping. However, when taking out of the hoop the hoop marks showed quite a bit. A good gentle steam press and all marks were gone, no hoop burn.
For the blue hoop I did three layers of cotton as I was practicing a technique of reverse appliqué for my March Block blog. No slipping and held like a drum. In fact when I cut through the first and subsequent layers of fabric, I found it hard as the hoop held it very tight – just want you want it to do – so again no slipping in the hoop.
To sum up:
I have a slight concern over the usage of sheer or fine fabric, though they will not slip in the hoop I am concerned that it may cause some hoop burn, however, this just might be because of my lack of experience with a range of this fabric. I do not know for sure if this is the case. Other than that, the only down side that I could see, there is not enough hours in the day to play more.
I really enjoyed testing these hoops so again thank you to Milward for allowing me the honour to test them.