Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Needlepoint Lessons






Needlepoint Lessons of Mine: Lesson 3: Beginning and Ending Threads and the Value of Sharp Needles and Magnets



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I have passed my ripping stage, at least the monumental amounts of ripping I

was doing when I was setting up the design. The lines are established, the mountains

of tent stitch are behind me and I'm at the fun part where the design looks like it will

 work (Yay!) but I still have decisions to make, enough decisions that I'm still engaged.

Not out of the woods quite yet but I see daylight ahead.


So stitch stitch stitch now and I'm making significant progress.


Lots of Long Waste Knots

I am basically a thread squanderer. When I'm working on congress cloth (which is most

of the time) I leave waste knots at the edges of my canvas, carry a long thread to the area

I'm stitching, stitch stitch stitch, then end the thread by parking it at the edge of the canvas.

New thread, with equally long waste knot, stitch stitch stitch, end the thread by parking it

at the edge of the canvas and so forth.


Parking a Thread I've Just Finished

I don't use reverse waste knots, that is, a knot to end the thread. I bring the thread to the front of the canvas  and park it between a thumb tack and a small magnet.


Why I Don't Anchor Threads As Soon As I've Finished Them

Why don't I end off each thread as I finish it? Because I might want to change a stitch or two and long unanchored threads allow changes more easily.


Also, I am particular about when and where I anchor threads. Whenever possible, I like to anchor threads under the areas I stitched with them. I try not to anchor threads through areas belonging to other threads so that if I have to rip I have to 'chain rip'. That is, Area A, the one I want to rip has threads from Areas B, C and D anchored there; result, I have to rip not only Area A, but Areas B, C and D as well.


Anchoring Threads with Sharp Needles

As you might imagine, I can have a mess of long beginning and ending threads all floating on the back of my canvas after a while. Eventually I have to take time and anchor the threads. Most people anchor threads with whatever needle they are using for stitching, but I change needles.


Whenever possible, I thread the thread end onto a sharp (embroidery) needle, and here's why: I've taken great pains to make my stitching even and delicate. Now I force a somewhat bulky tapestry needle through the backs of my carefully stitched stitches and the tapestry needle can easily tighten, dislodge or disrupt my careful stitches. A sharp (embroidery) needle catches the back of the stitches easily and glides through them. I know it can be an extra step but I think it is so worth my time. Anyway, chances are good my threads are parked without needles anyway.


Silk Ribbon

The project I'm currently working on has some silk ribbon orange blossoms. I learned a long time ago that the traditional way to start silk ribbon is with a knot, It works fine with a relatively isolated flower like a spider rose, but these orange blossoms are all close together. It didn't take long to have the knot interfere, so I switched to a long waste knot at the edge of my canvas and it worked much better. Yes, silk ribbon is expensive so I don't like squandering it. Maybe eventually I will discover a better way to start and end it, but for now my long waste knots worked very well and I'm pleased with my orange blossoms.