Untangle Your Thread!

One of the most common complaints I hear from hand quilters has to do with thread knotting up as you are sewing.  Thread needs to be able to hold a knot, but it should hold a knot that YOU put there, not one that it creates all on its own.

So why DOES thread knot? There are several  reasons.
·         Static– remember static cling – walking around in the winter with a sock stuck to the back of your sweater?  Or, like my high school English teacher back in the day who was caught walking down the hall in January with her skirt hiked up in the back, exposing… things that shouldn’t be seen?  If the air is dry where you are sewing, the motion in and out of the fabric can cause thread to cling to itself, thus creating knots.  Try some beeswax or Thread Heaven on your thread and see if that helps.  It will provide added strength and conditioning that can help.
·         Dryness– same as above
·         Twisting– When thread is wound onto a spool by a machine at the manufacturer, it causes the thread to twist.  Some thread will twist more than others.  I have found that If I thread several needles at a time (perhaps a dozen) and stick the needles into a pincushion and let the thread tails relax, my thread will produce fewer knots.  Try it!
·         Age – The age of your thread DOES make a difference!  It can become brittle, rotted, and will easily knot, twist and bunch up.  It can also snap if you are sewing and give it a little tug, so be cautious using older thread!  Get yourself some new, high-quality thread.  See if that doesn’t make a difference for you!
·         User error – I worked for a while as a technology director for a local school district, and “user error” was the most common problem that we saw.  That is, the problem is not caused by anything technical.  Rather, it is a problem created by the user him/herself.  User error is found in sewing as well.  As you are sewing by hand, the way that you stitch and pull, stitch and pull actually TWISTS the thread and eventually will create a knot.  The best way to prevent this is to 1) use beeswax or Thread Heaven on your thread to coat it, AND every 6 to 10 stitches, stop for a second, let your thread and needle dangle, and then start stitching.  As your thread dangles, it will unwind and reduce your chances for tangles.
Here are a few more tips found in an article from Thursday, 31 May 2012 at:
1.       Always thread the end you’ve actually cut from the spool into the eye of the needle. 
2.       As you hand sew, pull the thread in the direction you are sewing. 
3.       Hand quilters will roll the needle between their fingers as they stitch in the opposite direction of the twist of the thread.
4.       Cut you thread into lengths no longer than about 18″ to 20″.


Published by Caron Mosey of www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com 2014.
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