Beyond the Lap Hoop

By Addy Harkavy

Many quilters have recently asked me to comment about hoops vs. frames and to discuss the relative merits of each. I don't have direct experience with all products on the market, so I'll confine my remarks to those with which I am familiar.

Since most quilters who use frames prefer not to baste, only three-pole frames will be discussed here.


For those interested in minimal expense for a frame, Hinterberg makes a "kit" that has all the parts needed to make a frame "work," including cogs, etc. Quilters add the wooden members, which many lumber yards will cut to the sizes specified in the pattern.

Hinterberg also makes 2-and 3-pole frames, in two price ranges, the Classic and the Homestead. Though the Classic is boasts a better finish and is more expensive, the Homestead is fully functional. Both frames are available with 93- or 59-inch poles; 31" extensions for king-size quilts are available. Tension is maintained by ratchets on each side which offer incremental control.

Jasmine frames must be purchased as components, which include the frame ends and the rails. Prices for the frame ends vary; rails are priced by linear foot. Available in Victorian Oak and Classic Maple, these furniture-quality frames are well designed, offering a lamp mount at each side. The Jasmine Frugal Frame offers an affordable alternative to the Victorian and the Classic. As durable as the other two, Frugal frames are made from a hardwood veneer core with a maple exterior and shipped sanded and ready to finish. All Jasmine frames offer infinite tension control, with equal tension on both top and backing fabrics. A simple pivot point with a single knob provides tilt adjustment; fingerbolts on each end permit adjustment of height. When selecting frame ends, quilters can chose between wide and narrow; the wide frame end (24" rails) is more suitable for groups, the narrow (14" rails) for individuals. Victorian and Classic Frames are guaranteed for five years; the Frugal Frame for two.

Pleasant Mountain Woodworks' frame offers three-rail design, lateral tension system (side-to-side tensioning in addition to "roller" tensioning), and full adjustability. Flip-up top lets quilters see the back of the quilt, and the flame folds flat for storage and can be leaned against a wall. Constructed from solid oak, Pleasant Mountain frames are available with 116", 95", and 61" rails; quilters may choose one or more sizes when purchasing the frame.

Why use a frame?

On the plus side for frames: No basting, even tension, no moving of quilt in frame other than to roll or unroll rollers. On the minus side, frames take up a lot of space, you have to finish one quilt before you can work on another (well, maybe not "have to" but *should* if there's no basting), and though you can vary position somewhat, they leave relatively little room for a quilter like me to wriggle into different positions. Definitely not portable!

Hoops on stands:

Hinterberg's Homestead quilting hoop on a stand offers unobtrusive design, high quality, and a variety of accessories. Basic hoops are 22" and 29" in diameter; border hoop adapters and quilt-as-you-go frames. Height of hoop is adjusted with a simple thumb screw on the stand, and the hoop itself can swivel and tilt in all directions. Shipped unfinished, all members other than hoop should have a coat of Tung oil (dilute 3 parts Tung oil to 1 part paint thinner; rub on, dry 24 hours; repeat; dry 24 hours; assemble stand); the stand is easily assembled.

Jasmine's Dream Spinner hoops (available in 18" and 22" diameters) and stands must be ordered as components; stands are shipped assembled and boast furniture-grade finish. The Jasmines however, is more expensive, and is available in two stand designs, oak (ornate) and maple (simple). Both are elegant and have a durable natural finish. Like the Hinterberg, Jasmine also swivels and tilts in all directions. The mechanism is a post affixed to an oval base, and position can be changed by lifting and dropping the post into its metal gear slot which is artfully concealed inside a boot at the base. One of the nice features of this set-up is that you can slide the oval base under a chair or a sofa, which virtually elminates leaning into your work. Jasmine's hoop design permits the under hand to get under the middle of the hoop a bit better; It is easily rotated and tilted into any position required.

Why use a hoop on a stand?

In a word, versatility! You can use these almost anywhere, varying height to seating height. For example, you can easily move the set-up (and your quilting activities) from studio to sofa, to trunk of car...

Hope this clears up some questions on frames and hoops on stands.

(c) Copyright 1996 by Addy Harkavy.

(c) Copyright 1995-2012 by The Virtual Quilt Company. All rights reserved.


                                          Four Wheel Drive for your Machine!

The Tutto Machine-on-Wheels is the strongest, most lightweight, and most ergonomically friendly of sewing machine luggage choices!

Read our review and check out the wide assortment of sizes and colors (and great prices) for this highly maneuverable carrier for taking your sewing machine across town or around the world!

Planet Patchwork won't be undersold on quilting software!

Visit our sister sites

The Quilt Channel | The Quilt Software Network | Quiltropolis

Home | Newsletter | BOM | Search | Store | Books | History | Advertise
| Mystery | Quilters | Planet | Beginners | Travel | Tools | Essays | Views | Links