I find it interesting to observe people and see when doing hand embroidery those who hoop and those who don’t.
I’m not a strict hooper or a strict free hoop embroider (are they even real terms?) For me it depends on the project I’m working on. If I’m doing a pre-printed stitchery then I always like to have it in a hoop. I like how taut the fabric is in the hoop, I find I can do small fine details easier in a taut hoop. The draw back to a hoop is that often you need to re hoop it a few times due to the size of your hoop or stitchery. I don’t like the creases it leaves even though I know I’m going to iron it out anyway.
I like to free hoop if I’m doing a project where it is simple lettering or features. There isn’t a lot of detail and usually I finish it quickly. For me letters on a kids book isn’t worth the time hooping. If a project is really small like satin stitching an eye onto applique I can easily control it in my hand.
I’m curious as to what others do. Do you have a preference?