All You Need To Know About In The Hoop Quilting + 17 Stunning In The Hoop Quilt Blocks

Sometimes it can be a little tricky to decide what type of quilting you want to do on a quilt project, especially if you want intricate quilting designs on specific blocks. 

Luckily, some incredible artists have created gorgeous quilting designs for embroidery machines. 

In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about in the hoop quilting and look at 17 examples of what is possible with an embroidery machine. 

What Is Quilt in the Hoop? 

In general, there are three definitions of “quilt in the hoop.” The first is when a quilter uses a quilting hoop to stitch a quilt by hand.

This is a quilting technique that has been around for centuries.

The second definition is a more modern version where you place your quilt sandwich in an embroidery machine hoop and use the embroidery machine for quilting the quilt. Quilting in the hoop can be tricky, but you can do it yourself with maneuvering. 

The third is defined by creating quilt blocks using an embroidery machine hoop. Designers have created beautiful and fun quilt blocks that you can piece together using your embroidery machine. Pretty cool, right? 

What’s the Difference Between a Quilting Hoop and an Embroidery Hoop? 

Hoops are a standard tool used for both quilting and embroidery, but is there a difference between these hoops? These two hoop types have a few key differences, and I would love to review them with you. Remember that the hoops we’re talking about right now will be hoops used for quilting or embroidery work by hand.

  • Difference #1: Quilting hoops generally need to be large, at least 12” in diameter. Embroidery hoops can be as small as 4”, depending on how large the piece you are trying to embroider. 
  • Difference #2: The hoop depth is different for each hoop type. Quilting hoops should be anywhere from ¾” to 1” deep, allowing you to hold the three layers of a quilt easily. A standard embroidery hoop will have a depth of ½”. 
  • Difference #3: The material that the hoops are made from varies depending on the type of hoop. Quilting hoops will be made from sturdy wood to withstand the tension needed to hold a quilt sandwich taut while hand quilting. An embroidery hoop is made from thinner, lighter material.

Can You Machine Quilt in a Hoop? 

If you have an embroidery machine and have either designed or purchased quilting designs for your embroidery machine, then yes, you can certainly machine quilt in the hoop. The section will walk you through the steps when using an embroidery machine for quilting. 

How Do You Make Quilt Blocks in a Hoop?

Here are the steps you will need to take to create a quilt block using your embroidery machine. You will need to follow these basic instructions regardless of the quilt block you choose to make. Refer to your quilt pattern for specific instructions for your project.

Step 1: Add a Stabilizer to the Hoop

When making a quilt block using an embroidery machine, you first need to lay the foundation, in this case, a lightweight stabilizer. The quilt pattern you choose should tell you which stabilizer the designer recommends for the specific quilt block. 

Step 2: Lay Out the Fabric in Order

The pattern will give instructions for fabric requirements and cutting that you will need for the block. Follow the sequence in the pattern and lay down the pieces of fabric. This is similar to foundation paper piecing (FPP.)

Step 3: Cut Away Any Excess Fabric

There may be excess fabric and stabilizer you need to cut away once you have pieced together the quilt block. If you follow the instructions in the pattern, you will have flawlessly pieced quilt blocks that you can then use to create a beautiful quilt top.

17 Stunning In The Hoop Quilt Blocks 

Now let’s check out some fun examples and patterns in the hoop quilting designs. To be able to make these quilt blocks, you will need an embroidery machine and know how to use it. 

1. Quarter Log Cabin Block

This is an excellent first time in the hoop quilt block. The quarter log cabin quilt block is a classic block that works with various quilt designs. This pattern includes the embroidery files to make the block, instructions, and an embroidery file for the swirl quilting design. The block measures 7 ½” x 7 ½”.

2. Solid Square Block

How gorgeous is this quilt block? You only need a square of fabric, batting, and backing fabric for the block. Your embroidery machine will do the rest. This pattern comes with files for 5”, 6”, 7”, 8”, and 10” squares.

3. Sampler Quilt Block

This pattern comes with ten quilt blocks that you can use to create a sampler quilt like the one pictured above, or you can create your quilt design using the blocks you make. The pattern also includes five embroidery machine quilting designs you can use on your quilt projects. The quilt block measurement options are 4”, 5”, 6”, 7”, and 8”.

4. Vertigo Quilt Block

This fun block comes in a wide range of sizes from 3” up to 10” blocks. The pattern comes in a zip file where you’ll find the necessary embroidery file to create the block with your machine. This is a fantastic scrap-friendly quilt block.

5. In the Hoop Strip Block

This quilt block pattern comes in the most common embroidery file formats and will walk you through each step to create this block. This pattern does not come with written instructions on using this block in a quilt design, so you will need to make your own design. It also includes the file for the quilting motif in the image above.

6. Log Cabin Block

Here is an excellent pattern for one of the most popular quilt blocks: the log cabin block. This pattern includes files for two block sizes and a file for the stipple quilting design. When you purchase this pattern, you will receive all the files needed and written instructions on using the files with your embroidery machine.

7. Hexagon Quilt Block

How gorgeous is this hexagon quilt block design? You can make a 4”, 5”, or 6” quilt block with this pattern. The instructions will show you how to create these blocks using the quilt-as-you-go method. 

8. Cathedral Window Block

The traditional cathedral window block can be tricky to make, but with this pattern, it’s much more straightforward. The pattern files include 4”, 5”, 6”, 7”, and 8” block measurements. The file comes in all standard file formats. 

9. Cat Quilt Block

This adorable cat block comprises rectangles and squares pieced together strategically. The pattern has options for piecing the cat facing left or right and multiple block size options. With the embroidery files, you will receive instructions on creating the block and changing the thread colors. 

10. Floral Field

This gorgeous quilt block combines embroidery and applique for the design. You can make an 8” or 9” square block with this pattern. The embroidery file will help you assemble the applique centerpiece and add beautiful echo quilting to the quilt block.

11. Card Trick Block

This quilt was made using a in the hoop (ITH) embroidery pattern. The card trick quilt block is a super fun block to make, and this pattern gives it a fun, quirky spin. There are four block sizes included in this pattern.

12. Scrappy Hexagon

 A hexagon quilt block like this is usually only possible using foundation paper piecing, but with this embroidery file, you can make it your home embroidery machine. The file also includes a tutorial on how to piece together the block. There are three block sizes included in the files.

13. Quilted Honey Bag

How adorable is this bag?! This pattern includes all the files needed to create each bag panel, instructions on how to make the bag, and worksheets to help you along the way. Your machine should be able to accommodate a 5” x 7” embroidery hoop.

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14. Dresden Block

The Dresden quilt block is another classic block that every quilter should make at least once. This embroidery pattern will help you make this beautiful block. The embroidery file will help you make an 8 ½” square unfinished block.

15. Storm at Sea Block

The Storm at Sea block is a fun optical illusion block that makes it appear that you are sewing with curves, but surprisingly you aren’t. With this file, you can make a 4”, 5”, or 6” quilt block. This block looks amazing using solid fabrics or a scrappy fabric selection.

16. Strips Quilt Block

Here is a unique and modern quilt block that uses strips to create this fun angular design. This is another fantastic scrap-friendly block. The pattern includes embroidery files for four block sizes. 

17. Flying Geese

Flying geese blocks are a staple quilt block used in many different quilt patterns. This quilt pattern will help you make perfect flying geese. It also includes gorgeous quilting designs for various projects. You will also receive a link to a pillow project that features this block.

It’s pretty incredible what embroidery designers have been able to create for us quilters. These quilt blocks look like a lot of fun to make, and I hope this collection has inspired you to try some of them on your next quilt project.