Lesson #4 A Laying Tool
What is a Laying Tool and what does it do?
If you use two or more ply of a thread to make a stitch, you may find that the ply twist (as in 1-2) instead of lying side by side very neatly (as in A-B).
A Laying Tool is a large needle-like tool (no eye) that
helps you straighten each multiple-ply stitch so that they
lie neatly side by side as in A-B.
You hold the Laying Tool in your left hand,
bring up the thread at A with your right hand,
thread over the laying tool and use
the laying tool to straighten the ply from A to B,
thread down at B.
Choosing a Laying Tool: A Tekobari
The traditional Laying Tool is a metal Tekobari, described by the Japanese Embroidery Center as “Extremely sharp metal stroking tool used primarily for laying flat silk, but has a variety of other uses in the embroidery process.”
Here’s what a Tekobari looks like and here’s where you will find it:
You can also choose an old-fashioned stiletto traditionally used in making holes for Broderie Anglaise, a form of whitework popular in the second half of the 19th century. Stilettos come in so many decorative forms and are pretty additions to any tool box or sewing case.
Below is a pretty stiletto with a silver handle that sold recently on eBay. If you look carefully at the stiletto below and then up at the Tekobari, you will see what they have in common.
My Own Preferences
Contrary to the popular belief among my students and followers that I never use a laying tool, I do use one, but perhaps not as often as other needlework teachers. As I will describe later on, I favor using one ply or one strand of a thread where possible. It is just a matter of personal preference having to do with my own design goals and when we come to the advanced section of these lessons I will write about this more extensively.
For now, know that if you wish your work to look its best and you are using more than a single ply or strand of thread, I heartily recommend you learn to use a Laying Tool.
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