Craft Focus - Page number 85 - August/September 2021 (Issue 86)

85 ARTICLE Modern Hoop Embroidery Richard Wood, Commercial Director of Whitecroft Essentials takes a look at how lockdown saw a huge resurgence in arts and crafting, particularly hoop embroidery During lockdown, many people had time on their hands, stuck in their homes, looking for things to do. This included the young, old and all genders. One craft that became hugely popular during this time was hand embroidery. Many new to the craft didn’t have stitchery or embroidery frames so they found embroidery hoops a cheap, easy and portable way to stitch their designs. They could take it from their armchair to the sunbed easily. Being new to the craft they were without set ideas on what ‘the norm’ with embroidery is. This allowed some great new ideas to appear. Many starters had few stitching skills, but still created their own designs, which saw the growth of basic ‘outline stitching’. Although simplistic, some were clever and creative, (perhaps the Lowry of embroidery)! Embroidery kit companies also produced designs for people who didn’t have their own ideas, but still wanted to give it a go. They offered a complete package, with everything needed, including the hoop, fabric, pattern, thread, needle and instructions. This was a great way to get people stitching and from current reports it seems they are continuing to do it. Many older styles of embroidery are also having a revival with a modern twist, like punch needle and chicken scratch embroidery. Punch needle is a form of embroidery related to rug making. It’s popular because of its quick results. It uses thick floss or yarn on an open weave fabric like Monk’s cloth and gives a highly textured finish. Chicken scratch is a variation of cross stitch that’s traditionally stitched on gingham fabric using cotton or stranded embroidery thread. The gingham squares act as stitching guides and help to form a lacy pattern. Also, showing an increasing trend is mixed media embroidery, where stitching is combined with other media like lace, buttons and pen drawings, examples can be seen at the website: They use texture and layers to create three dimensional pictures, often using the embroidery hoop as a display frame. Some use the huge 23om hoops down to miniatures on 3in frames. Of course, embroidery has been around for thousands of years and hoops were a progression from tambour frames and were originally made from wood, bone or ivory, but the modern adjustable embroidery hoop was invented (and patented) by Helen Harmes in 1903. Since then, they’ve been modified and are now available in wood, plastic, and metal in square, oval and other shapes. There are a wide variety of companies offering embroidery hoops, one of which is Nurge (a Turkish based company offering a range of embroidery products), the popular ones being their quality sustainable European beech wood hoops, square plastic hoops and the metal spring hoops, which are also used for machine embroidery. They’re available in the UK at al so there’s Whitecroft Essentials who supply bulk quantities of wooden hoops to wholesalers and kit manufacturers It’s great to see the revival of any craft and modern ideas bring fresh life into something that has passed the test of time. A lovely way to spend time away from the TV or computer, unless of course, you’re using it to create your next design! For further information email or visit the websites an d