Q & A: Threading a Hand Sewing Needle

Question: How can a hand sewing needle be threaded without sight?

The techniques are very similar to threading a sewing machine needle, as mentioned in my November 1st writing. The key to success is having a long eye needle, a stable holder for the needle, a magnet to find a dropped needle or needle threader and patience. Below is a description with methodical pointers my students find helpful when threading hand sewing needles.

Keep on enjoying needle arts without sight.

Supplies Needed:
Small Tray, 4-inches x 8-inches or larger containing-

  • Thread
  •  #7 to #9 long eye needle such as embroidery or crewel needle
  • Needle threader
  •  Pincushion
  • Glasshead straight pins
  • Magnet
  • Small scissors
  • Project

Directions
1. Knot the Thread
For all threaders first knot and measure thread an arms length.
To knot the thread use one of the following techniques.

Option #1 for Beginning knot
Hold the thread end between index finger and thumb; wrap thread around index finger one to three times; slide your index finger down your thumb toward your palm to twist/roll the threads together. When the loop is off your index finger pull the rolled thread end taut to make the loop smaller so a knot is created.

Option #2 for Beginning knot
Hold the needle between your thumb and index finger of left hand, loop the thread around the sharp tip end of the needle to form a circle; pinch the thread tail with left index finger and thumb against the needle, with the right hand make three or more wraps with the thread around the needle tip; slide wraps under left fingers and hold gently while pulling needle with right hand away from fingers holding wraps. Keep pulling needle till you reach the end of the thread tail with a knot.

2. Cut Thread
Cut thread off spool by sliding the thread against the scissor blade. Cut after the thread end is knotted. Measure thread an arms length to prevent tangles while sewing. Place knotted end of thread in a designated place on sewing tray or put knot in your mouth. This makes hunting for the knot easier to find when ready to put the knot into the needle threader. The next step is to use a needle threader.

3. Thread the Needle
Put needle’s point into something stable, such as a pincushion. Then use one of the following needle threader’s particular threading method.

1-inch-Wire-Loop with Handle
Put the threader into the needle’s eye before putting the thread into the threader. Roll the needle between the index finger and thumb to find the flat sides. This is where the eye is. Have the flat portion of the eye face out like a window or tunnel between your fingers. Use fingers to guide and aim the wire loop through the needle’s eye. Once through the eye, take the thread knot and rub knot between the wires to push the thread partially through the loop. Or put a straight pin through the knot to help guide the thread through the wire loop. Once the thread is through the wire loop let go of the thread. Hold onto the needle’s point base with one hand and the other hand is to pull the threader out of the needle’s eye until the thread is out of the threader.

Keep pulling thread using an up and down hand motion. Keep the threader below the top of the needle to prevent the knot from dragging against the thread in the eye. Keep pulling till the knot stops at the top of the needle and the thread is out of the threader. Now take the threads unknotted end, match to the knotted end and tie the two together into a knot. Put the needle in the middle of the thread length.

If it is difficult to tie the two ends together then tie a separate knot in the unknotted end. Match the two knots together putting the needle in the middle of the thread length. The needle and thread are ready for sewing.

4-inch-Looped Threader
First put the thread knot through the 4-inch loop. Once the thread is through the wire loop, let go of the thread. Put the non-loop end of threader into the needle’s eye. To find the flat sides of the needle’s eye roll the needle between the index finger and thumb. Have the flat portion of the eye face like a window or tunnel between your fingers. Use fingers to guide and aim the non-looped wire end through the eye. Once through the eye, hold onto the needle’s point base with one hand and the other hand is to pull the threader through the needle’s eye. Keep pulling using an up and down hand motion.

At the same time keep the threader below the top of the needle so the knot does not drag against the thread in the eye. Keep pulling till the knot stops at the top of the needle and the thread is out of the threader. Now take the thread’s unknotted end first and match to the knotted end. Next tie the two together into a knot. Put the needle in the middle of the thread length.

If it is difficult to tie the two ends together then tie a separate knot in the unknotted end. Match the two knots together putting the needle in the middle of the thread length. The needle and thread are ready for sewing.

4.  Make a Finishing Knot 
Option #1 Finishing Knot 
Pick several threads of fabric where thread strand comes up out of the fabric. Do a small backstitch; pull needle half way through. Take loop of thread from the back of needle and loop over the tip of the needle. Pull the needle completely through. Repeat a second time.

Option #2 Finishing Knot
Pick several threads of fabric where thread comes up out of the fabric. Pull needle all the way through; repeat this in the same place two more times. Stitching in the same place a total of three times.

5.  Cut Thread Without Cutting Fabric
Cut thread away from fabric by sliding the sharp scissor blade against the thread close to the fabric. Closing the scissor blades against the thread could accidentally cut a hole in your fabric with the tip of the scissors unknowingly.

Enjoy your finished project!

Resources
Annie’s, 1 Annie lane, Big Sandy, TX 75755, Phone 800-582-6643, www.AnniesCatalog.com For: 4-inch-one-step-looped needle threader item #147470.

Berkeley Sewing and Vacuum, 2108 Berkeley Way, CA 94704, Phone 510-540-6248. For: 1-inch-loop with handle needle threader.

Laci’s, Store & Museum, 2982 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703, Phone 510-843-7290 For: various types and sizes of needle threaders.

Local fabric store.

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