Trimming Threads

Feb 17, 2010

Jean CampbellTrimming Threads
In what seems like a lifetime ago already, I was the editor of Beadwork magazine. At Interweave in 1997, Linda Ligon played Spanky, I was Darla, and we said “Let’s have a magazine!” Much like the sewn-together blankets that comprised The Little Rascals’ stage sets, we cobbled together those first few issues with moxy, lots of elbow grease, and crossed fingers. Fast-forward to today and you’ll see that current editor Melinda Barta has fostered Beadwork to become the best bead 'zine out there. It has truly matured into a sophisticated force of creativity. Are you a subscriber? If not, take a minute and sign up.

When we first started photographing pieces for the magazine, the designers who had good finishing skills quickly became my heroes. Close-up photography showed every tiny tail, visible knots, and raveling bits of thread––all of which screamed SLOPPY in the resulting photos. Now, with macro digital photography, it’s even more important to make sure your finishing skills are perfected.

One major point of issue is cutting the thread properly once you’ve finished stitching. Want to know the best ways?
Here are my tips:

Spacer 10x10 pixels Cutting Thread
If you’re stitching with nylon thread, use sharp, pointed embroidery or surgical scissors to neatly trim it against your finished piece.
Spacer 10x10 pixels
Spacer 10x10 pixels Use the fingers of your nondominant hand to pull the thread tightly away from the beadwork while trimming it with the scissors’ points as close to the beads as possible. After cutting, the tension will make the thread end pop back into the beads.
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Spacer 10x10 pixels Burning Thread
If you’re stitching with braided beading thread, which can be tricky to cleanly cut, use a thread burner. This battery-operated tool with a thin wire tip has become my absolute favorite tool. Once activated, the tip instantly heats to a ridiculously high temperature so it will cut through thread in an instant.
Spacer 10x10 pixels
Spacer 10x10 pixels Use the fingers of your nondominant hand to pull the thread tightly away from the beadwork to create tension. Turn on the burner and wave the tip across the thread, close to the beadwork. The tension will cause the thread end to pop back into the beads.

Note
: I find it works well to steady my cutting hand by placing my pinky on my holding hand.

Another bonus with using a thread burner is that the heat makes the end of synthetic threads ball up and melt a little, creating a tiny knot that will further secure your work. Want to perfect your finishing skills? Stay in the know with a subscription to Beadwork magazine.

What tricks do you know to keep your finished beadwork looking neat and clean? Share your secrets on Beading Daily.


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Comments

Loued007 wrote
on Feb 19, 2010 8:32 AM

I was taught to never use good scissors on nylon thread because they get ruined.  So I use kid's scissors and they certainly don't cut close to my project to give that "hero-worshipping" finish.  Can anyone tell me their thoughts on nylon ruining good scissors?