Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Philosophy of Knots #1

This is the post you write when you have done no sewing worth reporting.  I have spent the weekend about an hour north of Sydney at Pearl Beach.  This is why there has been no sewing
and this
However, there has been ample time for thinking.

We all know there are good knots.  They are necessary for starting and finishing.

Bad knots are an interruption to my sewing trance.  They have lead me to examine the science of knots.   I think it is worthwhile to classify bad knots into two subgroups; those that can be unravelled and those that have to be cut out.

Knots that can be unravelled are generally caused by using thread that is too long.  It is tempting, especially when the eye of the needle is small to attempt to reduce the number of times you thread the needle.   I like to use size 10 and 12 needles and consequently I cut my thread  too long and I get frequent knots.  During the action of sewing, the thread twists and turns on itself and eventually a knot is formed.   It's difficult to change bad habits and make my thread shorter so  I've found two ways to deal with knots.

The first is useful in simple knots ie. those knots that have single loop extending out of the knot.  Pull gently on one side of the knot.  If the loop doesn't move, then change the pulling action to the other thread.  Generally the knot will pull itself out without further effort on your part.

With more complex knots, insert the needle into the densest part of the knot
and tease the knot apart as much as possible.  It won't collapse at this stage, but then the first strategy above can be applied.

Of course, you may have your own infallible way of dealing with knots.  I'd love to hear about your techniques.   They don't get enough attention in the literature, considering we all suffer from knots...right?  This is only the first installment on knots.  More will follow regarding complex knots and their unravelling unless I get a chorus of complaints.

Now, where was I?


Crispy said...

Sorry, I don't have any other method of undoing knots. I do what you do. I do try to keep an eye on my thread as I start a new "too long" piece of thread so if it is starting to twist, I straighten it before it becomes a knot :0)


The Quilted Finish ph 02 63310084 said...

I still do the knot I was shown by my non-sewer Mother when I was a child. I've tried all the PROPER knots but always go back to the first.
Pearl Beach is a truly beautiful spot, we used to stay just around the corner from there for many Christmas holidays. Lucky you!

Alice said...

I have the same problem. First I bought myself a pair of reading glasses and a needle threader (I have been know to try and thread the wrong end of the needle!).
I also keep a piece of dressmakers chalk handy, try rubbing it on the knot if it is particularly stubborn and then try your unknotting strategies (which are the same ones I use).