I say, YES. It is a very good question. Just let me start off by saying that I DO NOT HOOP. I have hooped in my embroidery career, but it never was a comfortable way to stitch for me. I realize that many stitchers don't have a problem with hooping and love the result that they get. Personally I have never been a person who enjoys using a hoop. Embroidery should be enjoyable--that is the objective, is it not? In the last few months, I decided to pick up my hand needle again and discovered that using a light to medium interfacing adhered to the back of my embroidery piece allowed me to ditch the hoop with success. Hey--when I hand quilted, I did it without a hoop too--what can I say.. You always think that someone else knows more than you (I). At least that is always my frame of mind, but now that I am old enough to know better, I realize that I am the only one who can know what is best for me. What about you? The problem with hoopless embroidery is in the tension. The tension must be right. Each stitch that I take must be pulled just taut enough, but not too taut. If your stitches are too taut, they will draw the fabric, not allowing it to lie flat, causing the whole piece to be distorted. On the other side of the coin, loose tension will not allow your piece to look neat and nice the way you want it to look. The lines will not be defined and the image will not blend together as it should. The correct tention in hand stitching is learned through practise and only practise.
In closing, let me say that I believe that the more stitches in a piece of embroidery, the less chance there is of success in hoopless stitching. Also, I use alot of wool applique in my embroidery pieces and those wool pieces also serve as a stabelizer of such. Also, what works for one person, does not work for another. One person may have the "eye" to know when the perfect stitch is accomplished, another may not. One might have to practise for some time before realizing what she has to do to accomplish the "perfect stitch". One more thing that factors in is your level of perfection. How perfect does you piece have to be? Remember--to each his own--maybe a hoop is the best way for you