Which end do you knot?

DonutDetail

I want to collect some data. This won't be a scientific collection of data, but rather an anecdotal sampling. When we thread our needle and then cut the thread, we have always knotted the end with the freshest cut. We do this because it cuts down on the knots and frays that form in our thread if we knot the other end. This is what we know works for us and it's what we teach.

Bob Purcell from Superior Threads recently wrote this in his most recent newsletter:

Question: When hand appliqueing or hand quilting, there is a school of thought that says you pull the
thread off of a spool and knot the end you cut while others say you
pull the thread off of a spool and knot the end you pull.  The notion
is that there is a twist to thread and pulling it one way through fabric is better than the other and pulling it the wrong
way ends up causing problems.  So, what’s the answer?


Answer:  It will matter if you use a low quality, loosely twisted,
budget thread.  If you use a
high quality thread with a tight, consistent twist (such as So Fine,
Bottom Line, MasterPiece, or Kimono Silk) for hand applique or King Tut
and Treasure for hand quilting, the twist is so smooth, precise and
consistent, the direction does not matter.

So what I want to know is what happens when YOU sew. Are you careful about the end of the thread that you knot? Do you have problems? Do they clear up if you knot the end we tell you to knot?  Who knows – in the years we've been appliqueing maybe thread has changed.

I'm off teaching Decatur and Bloomington, IL, this week. I'll happily read your responses from out there on the road.

24 thoughts on “Which end do you knot?

  1. I guess I have been doing it backwards all these years, as I thread my needle with the fresh cut. I’ll try it the other way to see it there is a difference! Looking forward to seeing you in Champaign with the ICS quilters!

    Like

  2. I knot the cut end because that’s what so many quilt teachers advised when I started quilting (about 5 years ago), then I read someplace that because I’m a leftie, I should do it the other way. That didn’t really make sense to me (it’s still the same end going through the fabric first), so I decided to stay with knotting the cut end. The other thing I’ve wondered about is when you create your own bobbins to carry with you, then the thread is reversed from the way it was on the spool. I know I do seem to have fewer tangles than before I was aware of always doing it one way, but I’m probably using better quality thread now, too.

    Like

  3. I have always knotted the end I cut from the spool. Years ago when I started quilting it made a difference and I didn’t realize the threads have changed over the years as much as the fabric has – duh! Some days I’m just lucky to remember to put in a knot before I start sewing….

    Like

  4. I knot the freshly-cut end because I thread the needle before cutting the thread from the spool. However, when I use thread wound onto bobbins, I knot the end I used to thread the needle because the thread on the bobbin is the opposite of how it was on the spool.

    Like

  5. I usually knot the end I cut –but NOT always. I try to use a good quality thread such as Superior, Presencia, or Aurifil. My biggest problem is in trying to use too LONG of a piece of thread.

    Like

  6. I knot the opposite end- the end you pull on. I really haven’t had any problems. On the rare occasion it starts to drag or twist or knot, I just run it through some Thread Heaven & problem solved!

    Like

  7. I knot the end that’s the freshest cut. But I’ve decided that I must inadvertently turn my needle as I sew because my thread still becomes twisted and needs to be held upside down to untwist. I use Aurifil for hand applique. Since the thread is high quality, I’m sure the problem is with the pilot and not the plane!

    Like

  8. I always knot the end that you pull to keep it from tangeling on me. The only exception happens to be the Masterpiece bobbins, where the thread has been re-wound onto the bobbins from another source, so I consider on there backwards, I knot the end that I cut so it won’t tangle. This really works well for my applique. Anytime your thread tangles, take it out of the needle and re-thread from the other end.

    Like

  9. I knot the end I pull and use the fresh cut end to thread the needle. It always seemed to be easier to thread with the fresh cut. I never have twisted thread when I do it this way.

    Like

  10. I’m fairly new to applique (and thanks to both of you from Piece O’ Cake for all the beautiful, easy to do tips you have given in your blog and your books!). However, I have done hand sewing of many kinds previous to this. I always knotted the cut end of my thread and then used a “smoother” on the thread (Thread Heaven, bee’s wax, Sewer’s Friend, etc.) to keep it from tangling. I’m going to try this method so that I don’t have to use the products on my applique, as I’m not sure what they will do to the applique itself or the background fabric.

    Like

  11. We tell lefties to knot the other end. Its not so much the thread itself as it is the twist that your fingers give to the needle that is transferred to the thread. Its OK to over-twist the thread but you dont want to un-twist it. Lefties twist the needle the opposite way from righties so it makes sense to knot the other end. And, yes, if you wind your own bobbins you need to knot the other end. At least thats what works for us.

    Like

  12. I knot the cut end, my applique teachers always mentioned it as one of those tricks that made for smooth process. And i always use lovely thread!

    Like

  13. I knot the cut end as taught in the Piece O’Cake DVD (my go to tool!). However there are the rare times I find the thread being difficult so I try knotting the other end. If that doesn’t help i throw the spool away – its just not worth the frustration. :o)
    I always use the best thread I can find (and afford). Makes all the difference.

    Like

  14. I always thread my needle before cutting the thread from the spool. And then I knot the fresh cut end. If my thread starts to twist & tangle as I stitch, I just give the needle a bit of a twist as I pull.

    Like

  15. i knot the end with the freshest cut just like you do… and it seems to work well for me!
    p.s. i have that same bobbin holder with thread from superior & i love it… i’ve actually been using it tonight!

    Like

  16. I always knot the end that comes off the spool first. I’ve tried it differently, and it always twists and gets knots more easily. Love, love, love my bobbin donut!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s