i use a hoop for my project (is that what they're called?), and i leave it on when i'm not working on it. should i not do that? what's the harm?
will it ruin my project?
is there a better way?
I don't use a hoop because I find it can distort your work because the hoop stretches the fabric and as you move the hoop over your stitches it can also stretch the stitches. I was taught never to touch my stitched work with my fingers because I might transfer oils from my hands to the fabric. I find when using a hoop you bunch up your fabric and stitches in your hand sometimes when you stitch with a hoop. I used to use an embroidery hoop when I was a kid when I first learned how to embroider and even then I didn't like the hoop mark that was left on my project.
I use scroll frames. Your work stays flat and clean, and as you work on your project you can roll up what you have already done. I have many different sizes scroll bars and extender bars. I also use a giraffe stand to attach my scroll bars to so my work can be hands free. I can also easily detach the scroff frame from the stand so I can take my work with me to work on.
Here is a link to show you what a scroll frame looks like.
Lots of people use hoops and like them so I guess it is whatever you are comfortable using. I prefer the scroll bars.
Here is a link that might be useful: Scroll Frame
I have both hoops, stretcher bars, and scoll bars that I use depending upon what I am doing at the time. If I'm doing embroidery including cross stich, I reach for a hoop to keep even stitch tension (tried it without and not good) and I'm not picky about marks on the fabric, those launder out when the piece is blocked and pressed. I have multiple projects going so stretcher/scroll bars would be impractical for me for embroidery.
With stretcher and scroll bars, you have to attach the fabric to the horizontal bars so I like those for crewel work and needlepoint.