Thread Tips and Tricks.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

With the launch of my recent collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss, I thought it might be handy to throw some thread tips into a blog post. There are some super easy things that can make a huge difference.

  1. Work the thread in the proper direction, which is the direction that it is spun. Doing so will result in fewer knots. This might sound tricky and overly technical, BUT it’s super easy in practice and can just be a matter of creating a new habit. Here’s what you need to do; if you’re right-handed, knot the end of thread that you cut, and if you’re left-handed, knot the first end off the spool (or NOT the end that you cut). Keep in mind that this trick works with factory-wound spools and not any bobbins that you have wound yourself (because they’ve been re-wound in the opposite direction).
  2. How’s that thread length? If you’re having problems with knots, and you’ve already adjusted your knotting routine (see #1), then you might consider cutting a shorter length of thread. A shorter length might also be needed if your threads are starting to shred or thin out in the middle while you work. There’s always a balance between getting the maximum length of thread so that you’re not stopping and starting unnecessarily, BUT not too long that it’s wearing out the thread or getting knotty from all of the wear and excess length. Handwork is easily adaptable thanks to our ability to adjust the many variables in the process. Length is an easy adjustment to tinker with until you find what works best for you, the project and the materials. In general, I shoot for a thread length of 18″-24″.
  3. Work that thread conditioner! Yep, it makes a difference. I used to go back and forth on the subject–mostly because it was easy to get lazy over an extra step, but after so much handwork, I’m firmly on the side of using thread conditioner. While it is an extra step, doing it pays off in ease of use which in the end makes me feel like I’ve saved time and loads of frustration. My thread conditioner preference is the beeswax-based Sew Fine Thread Gloss, and I have some special collaborative scents available in the shop that you can find here.
  4. Tools and materials matter, especially when it comes to handwork. Always use the best tools and materials that you can. The reason I decided to stock some of my favorite scissors, thread and thread conditioner is because I believe in them, and I know how much they’ve helped me.

aurifil 80wt appliqué thread set . carolyn friedlander

Oh, and I just created a couple of quick thread knotting videos if you’re interested. First up is a Garment Knot, which I like using after conditioning my thread and before starting my appliqué.

And if you’re up for another good knot, here’s how you make a Quilter’s Knot.

Do you have any favorite thread tips? Feel free to share!

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11 Responses to Thread Tips and Tricks.

  1. Neha December 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm #

    Sorry, but I’m a bit confused. As a left handed person, wouldn’t I sewing in the opposite direction of thread spin if I knotted first? I imagine the needle and thread should travel through fabric the same way irrespective of hand?

    • carolyn friedlander December 9, 2018 at 9:51 am #

      Hi Neha. Great question! If you’re left-handed, you’re working in the opposite direction of a right-handed person, and therefore spinning the thread opposite as well. Because of this, if you’re left-handed, you’ll want to knot the opposite end of the thread. The “spin” created by a right-handed person is moving right to left, clockwise, whereas a left-handed person is moving left to right or counterclockwise and therefore spinning in the opposite direction. This probably sounds confusing, but you can try it both ways, and I’ll bet you’ll notice a difference. Hope that helps!

      • Neha December 9, 2018 at 9:37 pm #

        Clockwise and counterclockwise. Yes, now that makes perfect sense. Thank you for taking the time to explain that again!

        • carolyn friedlander December 11, 2018 at 10:03 am #

          You’re welcome! I’m glad that was helpful. Happy stitching!

  2. Audrey December 10, 2018 at 6:54 am #

    I wound a lot of bobbins for my EPP project and I have been working them like spools, which explains the frequent unwanted knots in spite of my carefulness. Thank you for this counterintuitive info.

    • carolyn friedlander December 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

      Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean! I was using bobbins one time but quickly reminded by the knots of them being wound in the opposite direction. Hope you notice a positive difference!

  3. Iyanna Lewis-Holland December 11, 2018 at 10:32 am #

    I like how you provided a lot of details, and I like how you added instructions for if you mess up in a spot, and you always have away to fix it, without starting all over.

    • carolyn friedlander December 12, 2018 at 9:13 am #

      Definitely. Thanks, Lyanna!

  4. Rosie December 18, 2018 at 4:25 am #

    I have bought a ring of different coloured bobbins for my EPP. Will these have been wound from a spool ? Difficult question, as it may depend on the manufacturer I know ! They are a well known brand.
    Thanks so much for your hints and tips. Much appreciated.

    • carolyn friedlander December 18, 2018 at 10:23 am #

      Great question, Rosie! These will be fine. The manufacturer wound them in the same direction as other spools you’d buy, so you can follow the same routine described above. Happy sewing!

  5. Rosie December 18, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks for your quick reply Carolyn. Happy Christmas !

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