Do you use a hoop for cross stitch?
Yes. Hoop is used to tightening the fabric, but unlike other embroidery stitches, a cross-stitch doesn’t require the support from a hoop. So, you can easily cross stitch without a hoop.
Does a hoop damage cross stitch?
As long as you don’t put the work away after your session with the hoop still on it, the stitches will not be damaged. Any signs of squashed stitches will be removed once you wash your finished piece.