Let’s talk about starting and stopping threads….. Compelling topic, no?
There are as many different ways of starting and ending your threads in needlepoint as there are stitchers. Well almost as many. These are just a few of the options I use.
In most instances a Waste Knot is your friend. Tie a knot at the end of your thread, place it on the front of the canvas in the direction your stitching will take you, an inch or so from where you are starting. Yes, the knot goes on the front of the canvas. You want to see it. When you place your knot think about two things:
- Where are you starting your stitch and what direction are you stitching in? This is where you want your knot to be placed. As you stitch you will cover your thread on the back of the canvas securing it.
- Will the canvas between your knot and your starting point be covered enough that the traveling thread won’t be seen. You know my love of open stitches so plan carefully.
When you have covered about an inch of the traveling thread on the back of the canvas, you can pull on the knot and snip it.
What to do if you are planning on using an open stitch? In this case, move your tail several inches away from your starting point. Place it in a area where you are not headed. Stitch until you have enough of the area complete that you are starting to see coverage on the back of your stitching. Clip your knot, rethread your needle and weave it under your stitches. Again pay close attention to what might be seen from the front of the canvas.
Note: When weaving under open stitches it is always best to change directions. Threads have a mind of their own and can wiggle out. They don’t have a brain so they can’t do it if you change direction.
An L Securing Stitch is another useful way of starting a thread. I use this when I want to start a thread in the outside border of my needlepoint and drag my thread into the design area. Again, make sure your traveling thread won’t be seen. When placing your L Securing Stitch, keep it close to your design area in the border. The framer or finisher may need to trim your canvas. You don’t want them to trim and cut off all your securing stitches.
Finally, the Pinhead Stitch, this is a stitch from Japanese Embroidery. It is magically secure. With this stitch you place it in the area you are stitching and simply stitch over it.
You can employ the same stitch options in the reverse for ending your threads. You can simply drag your thread off in the direction your stitching is heading and stitch over it, securing the thread. You can move a few stitches out of the way and execute a Pinhead Stitch or you can simply weave under previous stitches. The choice is yours. Each method has it’s place and has it’s own pros and cons.
What do I do? Generally, I am a drag and go kind of girl. As much as possible, I will start and end with a tail on the front of my canvas. I stitch over it wiggling it as necessary to hide it on the reverse. (You know I love, love, love open canvas) This means I rarely have to flip my canvas. Keep in mind if you use a Waste Tail and not a Waste Knot that you need to be certain that your first stitches are tight so that your stitching is pretty and uniform. I use L Securing Stitches in my borders to start backgrounds. I also weave under previous stitches. It depends upon what I am stitches, what threads I am using and what stitch I am doing.
Hope this helps you start and stop and in between.