Monday, 6 June 2011

How Long is a Piece of Thread?

I have a question for those who love doing stitcheries. How long is the piece of thread you work with? I've tried a long thread so that I can go further before ending off but it can get a bit frayed looking. I've tried short but am forever having to thread a new needle which reminds me I must go look for my needle threader.

So I would be very interested to hear what length thread you prefer to work with.

I had a little accident with my pin container the other day. One minute is was sitting on the end of my ironing board where I was pinning the log cabin blocks together and the next thing I knew .....

Thankfully they didn't scatter on carpet like they could have and I have one of those magnetic pin pickeruperers which was a great help.

Happy Monday and have a lovely week :)


  1. Mornin'!! :D
    Ewwww, pins. Well at least you had magnetic help picking them up.
    Thread. Rule of thumb as I was taught by my Mum and Nans and also after working in a needlecraft shop was, your thread should be the same length as from your finger to elbow.
    I don't know if this has changed but it works for me.
    Have fun stitching xx

  2. Hello Narelle,

    I was taught the same as Robyn. I have found the Cosmo thread wonderful and it doesn't twist and knot. I think if you find a happy medium work with it.
    Happy days.

  3. Hi Narelle,
    I'm with Robyn. That's how i was taught. I hold the thread between my finger & thumb then measure to elbow & cut. Happy Stitching,

  4. I prefer 18 to 20 inches in length. But its because I am not a fan of many knots.

    And I am devoted to the magnetic pin rounds & sticks. They have saved me. Hubby is NO longer crabbing about getting his foot or leg stuck with pins and needles.
    And we have hardwood floors, they are great for cleaning up scraps of fabric, threads, and most important pins and needles....Karencg

  5. Yes, thumb to elbow is how long I use. Either that or, when working with DMC threads I pull the thread out twice, doubling this over. It gives approximately the same length. I also regularly let the thread hang from the fabric to untwist itself. I don't tend to have many problems using these methods.

  6. That is a good question Narelle and i found the answers helped me out as well,lol

  7. Same thumb to elbow rule for me too. Any longer and it gets furry from being pulled through the fabric too often.

  8. I usually cut around 50cm when doing a lot of the same colour. I also 'strip' my thread by separating each thread and putting the amount required back together ready to stitch.

  9. Yes, even the Royal School of Needlework suggests the finger to elbow as maximum. Also if you're using multiple stranded threads to separate each one (hold between thumb and forefinger cupping other fingers around the strands so they lay in the natural crease in your palm and pull gentle one at a time is the easiest way)to let them untwist, then re align the amount you need keeping them in the same direction as how they came off the skein. If you use one of those card things to store your threads remember you've now reversed the twist and should thread at the end nearest the cut. Should help to lessen the fraying.

  10. I am with the thumb to elbow rule but sometimes use a bit longer. I have just done a class with Deb Layt and her first rule in the classroom was use a pincushion. As she said" If you knock over your pins, you'll spend half the class picking them up. If I spill your pins, you'll spend half the class picking them up" I am now a big fan of pincushions.
    Also just to let you know I have posted your June hexies today so keep an eye out for them

  11. To be truthful I haven't really given it much thought.

    I just anchor the thread in one hand and pull the thread out until my other arm is extended and just snip it off.

    I'll pay attention in the future LOL

  12. Oops! and what a good question. I've been wondering the same thing. I don't like the length too short because, yes, one is always threading the needle. Cottage Garden Threads come precut at 30cms (I think). It is a good length. When I use Cosmo or DMC, I pull out two folds, does that make sense? Don't know how long that is. Have a great evening, Narelle.

  13. OH, I also use Thread Heaven. It helps the thread not to twist and fray.

  14. No answer to this one! I'm like you - try varying lengths and I haven't found one that I'm completely happy with. The nuns at school used to tell us that the length should be from your thumb to your elbow. Don't know where this wisdom came from - but you didn't question any statements they made!!

    I know that every time I use a longer piece I can here Sister telling me not to - it's been many years since I was at school with nuns! Such was their power.

    Look forward to reading about the ideal length.

  15. Thread pinched between your finger and thumb, pulled down to your elbow is what I was taught. Works for me! 8-)
    Hey Narelle, how are those PhDs coming along? I'm not as far as I had hoped... And I've fallen way behind in my "1 Xmas Item" a month.. 8-(