Friday, May 20, 2016

Threading a needle

If you do a lot of hand sewing, you probably thread a lot of needles. Do you struggle with threading needles? If you do, maybe this post might help you.

This is how I thread my needles when I was younger. I trim the tip of the thread, give it a good licking and with as much accuracy as possible, I push (will) the thread into the eye of the needle. Sometimes it takes a few tries but it works. If I'm not wrong, this is how many people thread their needles.

Several years ago, I attended my first beadweaving class and you may not know this but beading needles have very tiny eyes and after watching me struggle with threading the needle, the teacher taught me her way. It's not a secret way of threading a needle and I'm sure many people already use this method but in case you've been out of the loop, this is how it's done.

The trick to this method is to hold the thead with your LEFT hand (for right handed people). And you should pinch the thread as close to the tip as possible.

Next, with your left hand holding the tip of thread steady, use your RIGHT hand to bring eye of needle to the thread.

See the difference? Needle to thread instead of thread to needle.

p.s. I know the pose in the image above looks weird. It's because I'm photographing both my hands myself and this was the best I could do.

Next question most people would ask is. Before threading, do I trim the tread horizontally or at a 45 degree angle. Honestly, I don't know the answer. What I think is this. If you cut it at a 45 degree angle, you need to either wet the tip of the thread (with water or your saliva) or condition it with beeswax/thread conditioner. The idea is to keep the thread together because since it's at an angle, chances are you could have one strand going through the eye of the needle while the rest are still stuck at the other side. For me, I cut at an angle when the eye of the needle is very small. Otherwise, I cut horizontally.

For people who struggle with threading needles, I suggest you use a needle threader. This one I have is very cheap. Sometimes this comes in a sewing kit.

Insert the loop of wire through the eye of the needle. Put your thread through the loop.

Pull thread through eye of needle. Remove needle threader and your needle is threaded.

The limitation of this method is the loop of wire might not be thin enough to go through very fine needles.

If you don't have a needle threader you can make your own. I forgot who taught me this method but it's really awesome.

Cut a strip of paper, the width slightly smaller than the eye of needle. Fold strip in half across the length and insert into eye of needle. Put your thread into the folded end of paper strip.

Pull paper with thread through eye of needle. Remove paper and your needle is threaded. Is this cool or what? Again, this method has its limitation. Doesn't work with very fine needles.

Finally, the big question. Are you a licker? I am a licker. I lick all my sewing thread and embroidery thread. I only wet the tip so I don't think it's gross. Plus I cut off the wet tip once I've threaded the needle. One time on Project Runway, there was a designer who doesn't use chalk to mark her patterns. Instead she spits on her fabric. Now, THAT'S gross.

Well, if you're not a fan of your own spit, you can apply beeswax or thread conditioner to the tip of your thread. Beeswax and thread conditioner can also be used on the entire thread if you want to prevent fraying and tangling. But I absolutely never use them on sewing thread or embroidery thread. Never. It's because I like my thread to feel like thread.

However, when I work with beads, I always use Thread Heaven. Beads cause thread to fray and shred easily and Thread Heaven helps somewhat. I never use beeswax because beeswax smells. And crumbles and flakes.

Coming back to spittle. Some people are worried that it might cause the eye of needles to rust. For me, I don't worry about that at all because I live in a very humid country. Sometimes unopened packs of needles become rusty. On the other hand, there are well used needles which never seem to rust!


Indonesia Lover said...

Did you know when you prick your finger and get blood on your sewing you can use own spit you to easily remove easily your own blood?

Projects By Jane said...

Thanks for the tip Indonesia Lover. I've never bled onto my sewing before but I shall remember this tip. Saliva is so useful!

Bethany said...

I once read that you should lick the needle and not the thread. I am not above using my own spit for several purposes, hahaha.

Jane McLellan said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of spit! I have struggled to thread a beading needle, so I'll give your tips a go, thanks.

Angela said...

What a brilliant post. I totally agree with the saliva-on-blood-spot thing, it really does work. I was taught it as a child and have been using it for years. Never seen the 'needle -onto-thread' method before. I shall try that one out. Have a blessed weekend xx

Linda said...

Great tips, Jane. My mama uses the eye to the thread method because she has macular degeneration. A blind seamstress taught her this method!
I've never seen the paper idea. I love it!
I have used the thread heaven for my applique thread because it is very fine and easily forays and knots. I have never noticed it stiffening the thread.
How in the world did you photograph BOTH hands at the same time? ?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns