I’ve been trying my hand at machine free-form embroidery. Like nearly everything, I’ve found it takes time, patience and practice to master this technique. And like all craft projects, having the right tools really helps. I started by using a traditional wooden embroidery hoop. The hoop did not fit under my needle or presser foot so every time I wanted to change the thread (which is a lot in thread painting), I had to remove the needle and the presser foot. Then I positioned the hoop in place and put the needle and foot back in. Needless to say, that was a lot of work! Then I found a spring embroidery hoop. The hoop is narrow enough to fit under my needle and foot. It also does what hoops are meant to do – hold my fabric tightly.
So if you are considering giving this a go, I also suggest that you use a heavy needle. I broke a few needles before I learned my lesson. You will also need a wide array of thread and use the good stuff. Cheap and old thread breaks easily creating more frustration then the extra buck or two you will save.