A Sneaky Way to End Threads

Have you ever had difficulty figuring out just how to secure the ends of a thin, slippery thread?

That dilemma turned up I was stitching away on Magi #1. One area was covered only in long stitches in a thin metallic thread, couched every so often by more thin metallic thread. There really wasn’t much bulk on the back of the canvas to allow me to bury the thread ends and be assured that they wouldn’t work themselves loose.

I tried hiding a few backstitches underneath the couched thread to start and end threads, but those backstitches peeked out a bit and looked bulky.

For a light stitch like this, sometimes you have to forget about trying to bury the thread ends within the same area. Instead, look at what stitches will eventually be in the surrounding areas. Aha! The area right next to this one is going to be covered with a faux suede applique. Perfect!

For the Magi, I simply brought the threads over to the to-be-appliqued area, then used a simple L-stitch to start or end the thread. (Ok, truthfully, this thread was so slippery that I actually went over the L-stitch a couple of times, but that was the idea anyway.)

Here you can see where I have a few L’s (or +’s) in the empty area.

Magi partial 18Jul2011

And from the back…

Magi partial back 18Jul2011

Of course, the area you’re ending the threads in doesn’t have to be eventually covered in an applique. It could be any heavy-coverage stitch that covers up your tiny thread ends. I could have just as easily ended the threads in the blue area on the other side, which is just long satin stitches.

One word of caution, though. Please be aware that if you’re trying to do this with a thick thread, your L-stitches are going to be bulky, and may distort whatever is placed on top of them. With a skimpy thread like this, though, the only thing that might be a concern is if the tiny stitches will peek out from under whatever will be placed over them. With a suede-like applique, I have no worries about this for my Magi!

If you try this technique, please let me know how it goes!

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Just in case you were wondering about how I was progressing with The Magi (designed by the very talented Dorothy Lesher), thus far I have only been stitching on Magi #1. Here he is so far:

Magi 18Jul2011

I am having a lot of fun with this piece, so despite my previous comments about changing out projects more frequently, I haven’t picked up anything else in a while! But that’s how it goes sometimes…

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