Multiple hooping in machine embroidery sounds like a nightmare but is easier than it looks!
Big hoops mean big projects. This 24-inch block was featured in Volume 103 of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine and was the first multi-hooping project I ever stitched.
The wall hanging was a joint project with my friend, Marjorie Busby of Blue Feather Quilt Studio. Marjorie digitized the designs to fit 5 x 7 or 6 x 8 hoops, which still translates into seven separate hoopings. I am going to show you how it works with the top corner of the block.
While digitizer techniques may vary, the basic idea is the same. The key is tracing motif alignment marks on the base fabric, lining them up with embroidered motif alignment stitches on adhesive stabilizer, and stitching out the design.
Print the alignment template provided by the designer and tape it over a light box or window.
Trace motif alignment marks onto the right side of the fabric using a tested water-soluble marking pen. Trace an “X” over each hourglass shape. The fabric is now ready for embroidery.
Each embroidery design correlates to an area of the marked fabric. The design instructions will spell it all out. The motif alignment marks traced on the fabric will match up with motif alignment stitches on the sticky fabric-type water-soluble stabilizer. Lining up stabilizer and fabric markings ensures that embroidery designs are arranged properly regardless of how many times you re-hoop.
Load the design on your machine. One color stop stitches motif placement stitches on the hooped stabilizer.
The motif alignment marks on the fabric must be placed directly on top of the motif alignment stitches on the stabilizer. When the two marks are lined up, finger-press the fabric in place on the sticky stabilizer. Return the hoop to the machine and stitch the design.
When the design finishes stitching, remove everything from the hoop and carefully trim away stabilizer. The great thing about using water-soluble stabilizer is that it will eventually wash away during laundering.
Hoop new stabilizer, load the next design, and stitch the motif placement stitches. Line up fabric marks with stabilizer marks. Secure to the stabilizer and stitch the second design. Unhoop, trim, continue!