***Let me start by saying that this review was totally done on my own dime. I was sponsored by no one. (However, if you'd like to have me review something, by all means email me!)***
Okay, the Clover Embroidery Hoop. I am a huge fan of all things Clover. Blame my Japanophile tendencies. I've been checking out the Clover embroidery hoop for awhile now, picking it up and putting it back. As far as embroidery hoops go, it's very spendy. The 4.75" one runs $10.99. Compare that to the average plastic hoop, which runs around $2.99 for the same size. (Bamboo ones run about $1.29)
I decided to compare the Clover against a typical plastic 6" embroidery hoop (Susan Bates), and a 5" Bamboo hoop.
[caption id="attachment_3324" align="aligncenter" width="676" caption="Hoops in action!"][/caption]
The Clover is a little easier to adjust. It has a larger lip on the inner hoop, which makes getting the fabric to stay in place easy. Instead of the typical screw and nut fastener, the Clover has a really nice screw and nut fastener cased in plastic. At least, I'm assuming that's what's in there. The little dial is very easy to turn, and adjustments are really smooth. But it takes a lot of little spins to open and close the hoop. Actually, it kind of takes forever.
The plastic hoop had a much smaller, almost nonexistent lip. The fabric slipped around quite a bit. The fastener can be flicked open really easily- wheee! - which is fun. But your fabric is slipping around, so you probably don't want to mess with that much.
The bamboo hoop held the fabric well, despite not having any sort of lip at all. However, the screw and nut fastener is super cheap, and feels like it's going to break right off. It's tiny, and tough to adjust.
The fabric seems to stay in place really well with the Clover hoop. I've noticed that the bamboo and cheap plastic hoops tend to let your fabric sag the more you work with them. However, it's really fast and easy to adjust the bamboo hoop once this happens.
I left some cotton mounted in the hoops for about a week. I intended to just leave it in there overnight (You know, like you're never supposed to do, because it stretches out the fabric or something).
The Clover by far left the biggest marks. They're raised really high, and very clear.
Oddly enough, the cheapola bamboo hoop left the least amount of marks. The indentations left behind are very faint.
Ironing and a little spray of water took care of all the indentations. Poof, gone. Really not a big deal.
The size of the Clover hoop (4 3/4") is a little unusual, but very nice for the smallish scale stuff that I do. Also, it looks so cute.
The Clover hoop is pretty nice. But is it actually worth it? Meh. Honestly, you may be better off with the cheap bamboo ones. Weird! The bamboo is the hoop I reach for most frequently now. It's faster to adjust, and doesn't leave too much of an indentation. But by all means, pass up the cheap plastic. Those things are terrible.