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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sewing 101: Threading a needle the easy way

 Last time in this sewing 101 series we went over thread, needles and scissors, the basic tools required by any self reliant person. Not sure I should assume you know how to thread a needle nor how much thread you should use, so I'll start there.

Take the end of thread and put it through the eye of the needle. Simple, right? Not always. I find this more and more difficult as eye sight dwindles, so I'll show you a little trick for getting the thread through the eye. (No, I don't know why it's called an eye. It just is.) 

Hold the thread end (make sure the thread has a clean cut end. A frayed end makes this much harder to do) hold it between thumb and forefinger of your non-dominate hand (if you are right handed that would be your left hand and vise-versa) so that only a tiny bit of thread protrudes, then hold the needle in your other hand. Now guide the eye to the thread and try to get the thread to enter the eye. You may have to wiggle the needle a bit but it usually goes in pretty easily. Then pull the thread out to desired length.

I find this far easier to do, than it is to try to get a limp, wiggling thread to fit into the eye. Try it and see. If that's still not easy you can just get yourself a needle threader or make your own from relatively stiff wire which is thin enough to go through the eye of your needle. You fold the wire in half and insert it into the needle's eye just enough to put the thread through the wire. Then you pull the wire out and the thread comes along with the wire and your needle is threaded. Nifty, huh?

Wrap thread around fingertip

So, you have the needle threaded. Now pull about 12-18 inches of thread through the needle, cut the end and hold the thread doubled.  More than that length and it will get tangled. For a beginner, start with no more than 18-20 inches in total length of thread. Cut the thread and hold the two ends together.

Roll it off. Instant knot!

Holding the thread double--this is for extra strength-- make a knot at the end of the thread. How my mom taught me to make a knot is super easy. Just wrap the thread once on the tip of your pointer finger and simply roll it off. It automatically forms a knot. Don't ask me how, but it works. You should practice that a few times to get the hang of it, because once you know how to do it that way...well, there's no need to do it any other way.
Threaded needle with knot at end

Next time: The running/straight stitch

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