Daffy's Stitchy Friends

Monday, November 7, 2011

Loop Method Start

How do you start threads? I was taught the standard "leave a tail and tuck" method when I first started stitching. Somewhere along the way I learned the loop method and was truly thrilled with the fast start! I thought I would share it with you. This start is for standard threads only. You wouldn't want to use it when stitching with a variegated thread because it uses only one thread and you'd lose that variegation.

I'm showing you with half my usual thread length just for example. Start with one thread and put the two ends together.


Thread those ends through the needle leaving the "u" end as a loop at the bottom.


Start your stitch (your first half of the X), leaving a tail. Now, I've flipped the fabric over so I'm showing you the backside. Put the needle through the looped end and into the place where you start the next stitch (or the top half of the X) and hold your needle there.


Can you see it better here?


Holding your needle steady, pull the thread so the loop disappears and grips around the needle. Once it is tight, pull the thread on through. We are still on the back side of the fabric here.


Here is the looped end held tight by the first half of the X.


Here is the front side at that point. Yes, my stitches run backwards when compared to most! When I learned to stitch I found it easier to keep count if I started my rows going this direction.


What direction is that again? A "people love to tell you how wrong you are" story.

Years ago, when I first got "online" I read somewhere (probably a message board) about how the loop method was wrong. How you shouldn't use the loop method because then one of your threads would be going the wrong "direction." Wait, what? Direction? What did this mean? I was worried. Embroidery floss has a direction? No one ever told me this before. Fevered Internet searching brought up site after site telling you how to tell which direction with which to stitch from. I worried myself into a tizzy. All these thousands of threads I've stitched with, all going every which way and both. Gasp! All those stitched things I've given to people I loved with stitches that had threads maybe going the wrong direction! Holy Moses, I was mortified!

I studied the instructions. I studied my threads. They said look for the "twist" in the thread. Make sure the thread is started by this, the correct end with the twist going this way. WAIT! I couldn't tell which was correct! OMG I CAN'T TELL ANY DIFFERENCE! The major thread manufacturers websites gave no help. Crap, they actually said NOTHING about which end of the thread to use ~ their own product! What the hell was I going to do? I was certain my beloved hobby was ruined, all because I couldn't see the obvious.

After several anxious weeks I came to my senses. The bare fact is it doesn't really matter. If YOU think you can see the correct end of a strand of embroidery floss then by all means, use that end. If you like the loop method, use it. I promise, no one will EVER be able to tell the difference. I mean, really? Can you see any difference in these three rows of stitches below? Each one was stitched with threads going one way, threads going the other way and threads going both. No tricks here. Tell me true, which one is correct?


Thank you for visiting my blog today!
xox

49 comments:

Kaisievic said...

Love this post and I luuuurve the loop method - I have been using it for years. It is the way to go for me.

Hugs, Kaye xoxox

Margaret said...

I like the loop method, but can't ever use it since I never use two strands. lol! I sometimes use the pinhead start, and otherwise just thread the thread under already existing threads like you said.

Vicky said...

The loop method is the only one I use unless using overdyes :)

mblittle5 said...

I find this especially helpful when stitching only a few stitches with that color thread.

P.J. said...

Amen stichin' sister! I once stressed over the same thing and was even challenged when I was teaching this method in a class once. Some where along the way some one once told me that judges for needle work co potions could tell the difference; they would use magnifying glasses to see you stitched in all the same direction, missed a cross, etc. No worries now! Thank you for the humorious reminder of the ridiculous!

Keep on stitching. P.J.

Jan said...

How cool is that! I'm going to try it tonight. Thank you for sharing.

Jessica @Blessings in the Country said...

I pretty much always use the loop method. It's just so easy! (I also prefer stitching with two strands because of that loop.)

You crack me up! I have never heard of thread going the wrong direction. I did learn though that the eye of a sewing needle has a wrong way, which explained why my thread just wouldn't go in sometimes ;) . But with cross stitch needles the eye is so big I don't think it matters. And gosh there is no wrong way to do your X's. Busybodies who complain that it's 'one way or the highway' need to take up a hobby. *wink wink*

Karen said...

I love the loop method when I'm using 2 strands and especially if I'm only putting in a few stitches with that color. I also used to hear that it's SO WRONG because floss has a direction, yadda, yadda, yadda. I don't put much stock in that.

CalamityJr said...

Unless I'm using an overdyed floss, I'm actually disappointed when I have to use an uneven number of strands, because then I can't use the loop method!

Teresa said...

I love the loop method. I sometimes won't use 3 threads if it calls for it because of the that. I was told in last years retreat I wasn't getting the full event of the overdyed threads by folding in half and loop starting. I say so what you like, who cares which the thread is or if you are getting full overdyed effect.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Jan said...

My friend and I have a saying "The Cross Stitch Police will not come after you!" Whatever works for you is whatever works for you.

Chris said...

I use the loop method when working with DMC. For other starts an away waste knot or passed under earlier stitching.
Great post!

Becky K in OK said...

Oh my goodness, yes, I can tell the difference...NOT. I've used the waste know away from the stitches, the loop method, and now I use the pinhead stitch. It works wonderfully however I can sorta see where I put that first stitch...if I get up really close, with a powerful magnifying glass! I used to railroad all my stitches too. Got lazy about that so now I just stitch. It's so much more fun that way.

Did you feel the "quake" this evening?

Theresa said...

Hum..... I never knew there's a right way to stitch!! I always stitch it "my way"!!! LOL
Thanks for sharing this method, I'm going to go try it!!!

Mireille said...

Thank you so much for the information. This method will help me to have a cleaner work on the backside.
Mireille

Lesleyanne said...

A great post. I use the loop method most of the time.

Ali said...

Yup, I'm a loop girl but omg not heard about the correct end of thread and the twist - but as you prove with your picture they all look identical - so thank you for that xx (my panic has gone now - lol)

cucki said...

yup.i always used the loop method too.

Carol R said...

Great post Sharon! I like to stitch with one thread over 2 on high count linens but am I stitching each thread the 'right' way? Do I know or do I care?

Kate said...

I'm a loop girl too - I have heard about the wrong/right direction but never experienced that it makes a difference. I sometimes reverse the way I use overdyes to be able to get the colour effect I want. Our dressmaking teacher at school always made us use sewing cotton in a particular way - we had to start our sewing with the end that came off the reel as she said to use it the other way diminshed it's strength.

Sue said...

I've never tried the loop before, but I am going to give it a bash tonight. I had a giggle over the right and wrong end of a thread. It is like choices of colour combination, isn't it? If you are happy with it, that is all that matters. Great little tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to share. :)

LoriU said...

I love the loop method too!

Annie said...

I've read long posts on some message boards about the horrors of using the loop method. I always use it unless I'm starting with a small length of thread left over from the last area I used it. I sure can't tell the difference.

I used to do needlepoint with Persian yarns, and there was a definite difference in stitching with the grain or against the grain. But that's a totally different fiber.

Rachel said...

I love the loop start method! Once I learned about it online, I use nothing but...unless it's a variegated thread, or I only need one strand of course. :)

Lisa said...

When I learned how to "x" stitch, my grandmother taught me the "long-tail-tuck". Oh, how stressful that was. I remember starting, leaving that tail behind, trying to hold it down with my other hand...but it always took a few tries because Iw ould always pull it through when I made that first stitch.

Then I learned the "waste knot". Tying that little ball of a knot at the end, which always stayed on the "pretty" side of the project when you made that first stitch...and as long as I remembered to anchor it down in the back, I could cut that ball off after I had made a few stitches. But for some reason it always took a little while for me to figure out where I needed to put that ball and which direction I needed to stitch in order to anchor it.

I, finally, learned the "loop" when I took a stitching class at my LNS when I lived in New Orleans. OMG, this was wonderful - it made all the difference! I felt like I had found the Holy Grail of stitching!

I am glad that you shared it with all.

Take care!

Stephie said...

I have always used the loop start except on the HAED I'm working on (although for my next HAED I will be using 2 strands as I'm not fussed on the tail start).

As for people saying thread has a direction, I have never noticed this nor have I noticed any difference in the end result. Stitch how you want...it is your hobby after all :)

Pumpkin said...

Great tutorial Sharon. I love the loop method when I can use it :o)

IMHO, I think the 'right' direction of threads really matters when you're doing something like Hardanger. Working with larger threads, you can see the right and wrong way of the fibers. With DMC embroidery threads being so thin, I don't think it matters.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Oh this is an awesome post! I learned the loop method and never knew there was a different way. The only time I don't use it is when I stitch with over-dyes or a short end I don't want to waste.

To those who say there's a difference, I say "GET A LIFE." Who needs to stress about stitching?! I say do your thing and just enjoy it! LOL

Lauren - Ambitious Stitches said...

I'm a huge fan of the loop method. It's so much faster and, IMHO it makes the back of the work so much neater in the long run. I actually get frustrated when I have to do the "normal" start method (like when tweeding).

Vinniey said...

Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Love the loop method!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Lone voice in the wilderness here -
I never use the loop method because you get two "tails" in your needle so it comes unthreaded too often (mine does anyway!).
For plain flosses I always use the secured needle method of stitching, really useful if you stitch while travelling or have children/pets and worry about missing needles.
Basically you use one length of floss, thread the needle onto the middle of the length then secure the tails under some stitches in the usual way. Hey presto your needle is secured to the fabric and can't be lost!
If my words do not make sense then I'll post on my blog tonight. Pictures make it much easier to understand!

Lisa Dunn said...

I have never heard of the loop method. I will have to try it!

I think with such tightly twisted thread as DMC cotton floss, which doesn't come untwisted, it doesn't matter. I can think of some threads, such as Edmar's rayon threads, that it would make a difference because they have a loose twist and tend to come untwisted in the best of circumstances. :o) In that case, you would have one half of the thread oriented to keep the twist and one half oriented to loosen the twist. So I think it just depends on the type of thread you are using.

Thank you for sharing this method!

Meari said...

I've heard about the "right" direction of floss, too. I say phooey!! No one has ever been able to tell. Really, can you see someone look at you and say, "YOU used the thread in the wrong direction." LOL Highly unlikely.

I use the loop method, too. It's great for even numbered strands.

Emily said...

Ok, I feel like a total noob ... I'd never even heard of that way before!!! AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing!! Can't wait till I have time to stitch again so I can use it!!

Jeanne Dansby said...

RE: the 'right direction' of floss...

I have found that I get a lot less twisting and knotting if I use the thread in the 'right direction'. I don't have to drop the needle so often because the thread doesn't twist up as often.

Does it show on a finished piece? Not that I can tell, but it sure makes the stitching easier and more fun.

Rachel S said...

I love the loop method. Much neater back.

Mouse said...

yooo hooo Daffy ... fellow wrong way stitcher ...we stitch the anchor way apparently compared to the DMC way ..lol and I use the loop method when using normal threads and the tuck the tail under neatly when using variegated threads..... the only time it becomes obvious we stitch different is if we stitch on a piece right next to some one who stitches the other way .. the "shading" gives it away :) love mouse xxxxx

Doris said...

i use the loop method too, except in the hand dye threads, because they have differents level of color in the fiber, but all the other with solid color,i use the loop...

Colorado Stitcher said...

I'LL tell you which one IS correct....... they all are! Use what makes you happy.

I recently started using the loop method from the top of the fabric down. I forget where I read this, but it works just fine and there is no need to turn over your fabric. I did find it was a bit tricky to do, though, if there you had to go down into holes with thread in already since you do have to give it a little tug to get the loop on the back and if you catch a thread from a filled hole then the loop gets caught. Clear as mud??

Julie said...

Loop method for me, once taught it you never do any other way. Great post!

Mel said...

Great post Daffy! :)
I have been using the loop method for years and years. Never had a problem. Just cant' do that with one strand of thread or variegated of course.

I have been told my stitching goes the 'wrong direction'. That scared me once, until I realized that so long as your stitches all go the SAME direction it didn't matter!! :)
Sometimes I think the internet can get us into more trouble than good. lol.

Lindsay said...

If I'm using good old DMC then I'll use the loop start (unless it's a kit with stupidly short lengths of thread) but if I'm using silk/ varigated etc I'll do a pinhead start

Parsley said...

You are giving me hope that I'm not a total stitching flake! I'm all wrong but it still looks like an x to me ;-)

Rhona said...

Another loop starter here!!!

Melanie said...

Never heard of using the right end of the thread. Oh well. I've been doing this for almost 20 years now so I'm a hopeless case now anyway. lol
I'm a total lover of the loop start for regular threads. Very very handy. I've even been known to switch out a hand-dyed white/black for DMC colors instead just because of the loop start thing, instead of tracking those colors all over the place for things like stars, etc.

TinaTx said...

I always use a loop if I'm using an even number of threads - unless I'm using over-dyed threads, and I've been known to use it then!

Lynn said...

I'm still a tail and tuck girl. Change doesn't come easy for me but I can see the advantage of the loop when you're only putting in a few stitches.

Patty said...

I've heard of floss having a right and wrong direction. To find it, you run your thumb and index finger down one strand of floss. If it's the right direction, it will feel smoother. Try running your fingers in both directions to feel a slight difference. I often use the loop method too so it doesn't matter which way my floss is smoother. And I didn't think it mattered which way your X's go as long as they all go in the same direction. I always do my top cross left to right because I'm anal and like things going left to right.

Tama said...

DMC's website used to say - don't know if it still does - that their thread/floss had no 'right' direction; that it was equally smooth both ways.