Day 4 of my month-long series, All About Machine Embroidery, is going to focus on hoop size and why it matters.
Where machine embroidery is concerned, it’s all about the hoop size. All of your creative ability and potential is limited by the size of the hoop a particular embroidery machine will handle.
Manufacturers will list their hoops either in inches or millimeters. This chart will give you an idea of how many different hoop sizes there can be from just one manufacturer.
Many hoop sizes are in millimeters, but a few will come in US measurements. The most common hoop measurements are 4″ x 4″ and 5″ x 7″. The key point to remember: Most designs that you purchase will be digitized for either a 4 x 4 hoop or a 5 x 7 hoop.
An example is this fall leaf design which requires a 5 x 7 hoop. If you had a machine that could only handle a 4 x 4 hoop, then you could not use this design.
The question to ask when shopping for an embroidery machine is this: What size hoops does this machine use? If you choose a machine that will only take up to a 4 x 4 hoop, then your embroidery field is going to be pretty small – more like 3” x 3”.
A 4 x 4 hoop is very limiting and all that it is good for is stitching out very small designs and three-letter monograms.
Here’s why. If you were to purchase this set, it would come with the complete alphabet in three sizes. That means that each letter of the alphabet would be 3.5”, 2.5”, or 2”. You could put an initial onto something with a 4 x 4 hoop, but there wouldn’t be enough room to monogram an entire name, even with the 2” letters.
You will see these types machines at both dealers and chain stores. My recommendation is to avoid machines that can only handle a 4 x 4 hoop. It is just too limiting. However, getting a machine that can handle up to a 5 x 7 hoop is ideal. It is the most universal hoop available.
Most designs are created for fitting into this hoop size. That means you will have lots more variety in what you can embroider. There are many different price variations on embroidery machines. The higher the price, the larger the hoops the machine can handle.
Things to remember about hoops when shopping for an embroidery machine:
- Look for a machine that will take up to a 5 x 7 hoop. Many manufacturers may come with a 4 x 4 hoop with the option to add the 5 x 7 at another time. This is great for anyone with a small budget. You can get started with machine embroidery and purchase the 5 x 7 hoop when there is a sale.
- Understand the millimeter/inches conversion for hoop sizes. Many companies such as Bernina and Pfaff will list hoop sizes in millimeters. By doing a little homework ahead of time, you can know these calculations. Also, there are some aps available that can do conversions for you.
- Almost all stablilizers (I’ll be talking about this soon) are designed around the 5 x 7 hoop. This lowers the cost of machine embroidery.
Tomorrow’s topic will be machine embroidery designs. See ya’ there.