Some projects require scroll rods or q-snaps due to length of project, specialty stitches, etc. The advantage of scroll rods are that tension remains the same and there are no creases like when using a hoop.
Other projects allow more flexibilit. Medieval Hearts by Kelsyns is one of those, in my opinion. While the piece is all cross stitch, it is done in silk and treasure braid (metallic thread) and on a linen 32ct. Many would argue that means you should use scroll rods.
I'd agree except that there is nothing like having a gorgeous soft linen in hand with silk threads. So I have been stitching my version in hand.
- creases in linen
- uneven tension
- easier to damage stitched stitches
For me (I stitch like a lefty) but needle in my right hand, so working right to left to ensure I'm not damaging stitches is okay when I'm stitching each x on its own (which I am due to variegated silk thread).
So with all those drawbacks why stitch in hand?
Because I just love to. There is something about working on smaller pieces in hand that I find personally satisfying. Maybe because as a child I learned to stitch in hand; maybe because I love the softness of a gorgeous linen. But then maybe also because it feels more like the women of 1800-1900's would have stitched. We know the higher class ladies used hoops but the average peasant would not have had such luxuries. Odd as it may be I like the challenge of handstitching and it just feels more genuine (if you will).
Not to say that we should always hand stitch. Definitely not! But I do tend to have pieces that I plan for hand stitching from the start. There's a challenge to it and a connection that I adore.
If you've never hand stitched before I recommend starting with an ornament sized piece on Aida with DMC. Learn if you like it first with the basics. Remember for truly perfect stitching you can't beat scroll rods. But not everything has to be perfect!
I'd love to hear in comments if you like to hand stitch?