I’ve dabbled with embroidery a few times over the years but have never actually completed a hoop.  I found the book Hoopla (love the name) by Kirsty Neale at my Mom’s house a couple of months ago and it immediately made me want to bust out my supplies again.DSC_0077

Kirsty has come up with 100 ideas that you can do with embroidery hoops.  100! They are incredibly creative and use a variety of materials that will help you de-stash and make your own works of art.  She also shows you how to decorate the hoop, an often neglected piece of fabric art.

I figured since I borrowed/stole my mom’s book I should make her something from it for Christmas.  The fox on p. 78 immediately stole my heart and became my first completed project. DSC_0084

The start of the fox was a little rough and I had a few choice words with my photocopier.  I had a hard time figuring out how to blow up the images by 200%.  I would get half of the foxes face, part of his arm, and a cut-off sweater.  It was not felt-tastic.  With a lot of tape, and many failed attempts, the fox came together enough that i could fill in any missing pieces.  DSC_0089

Materials I used:
Fox’s Body and the Heart: Felt
Floor: Robert Kaufman Chambray
Background: Navy Dot Quilting Cotton for the background
Fox’s Shirt: Robert Kaufman Oxford Yarn Dye Fabric in Blue Stripe for the fox’s shirt.

We didn’t have any toothpicks to use for the stick, so I used a match instead.  No worries, I shaved off the flammable tip so my mom’s hoop doesn’t burst into flames.

I have a confession to make.  I never realized that the thread that I used for years to make friendship bracelets was the same thread originally intended for embroidery.  At 8 years old, everything seems to be made for the reason you need it: to show your BFFs that colored thread will bond you forever. EmbroideryThreadI was spoiled during my first embroidery class because we used Finca Perle Cotton to learn the different stitches. I fell in love with it mostly because it’s pretty, but also because it makes your stitches look really nice, even when they are messy. DSC_0085

Straight stitches create the illusion of fur on the fox’s body and also outline his heart. DSC_0073His eyes are french knots and his nose is a small piece of black felt.

I finished my furry friend on a plane ride out to Colorado and was so excited when I finally gave it to my mom.  I sadly had to take it back from her shortly after so I could finish the back of the hoop and take pictures for this post, but hopefully she will get her gift back soon.  As for the book, I might have to purchase my own copy because I’m not ready to give it up just yet.DSC_0080

  • Suzie
    Posted at 23:24h, 19 February Reply

    Love the detail and the clever use of fabric…adorable!

  • holly
    Posted at 00:10h, 20 February Reply

    Your products are always so unique.

  • Kirsty Neale
    Posted at 10:11h, 07 May Reply

    Hurrah! Am so glad you like the book, Shannon, and I love your fox hoop. The addition of the little felt heart is just perfect.

    I’m not sure if it might help, but you can also download the templates, ready to print out at full size if and when you come to make more of the projects. They’re on the publisher’s website, here: http://ideas.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Hoop-la-templates.pdf

    And I’m guessing you’ve already found the one project in the book which uses embroidery threads for *exactly* the same purpose as your 8-year-old self? As a fellow childhood-friendship-bracelet-maker who’d spent several months surrounded by embroidery thread I couldn’t resist it for a minute longer!

    Thanks for such a lovely post.


    • Shannon Woodruff
      Posted at 13:41h, 07 May Reply


      Thank you so much! Your book is awesome and I can’t wait to make something else out of it.

      Thank you for the tip about the templates! I will definitely use that next time.

      And I loved the reference to friendship bracelets. I still enjoy them even as an adult 🙂

      Take care,

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