Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Double thread…..Do you?

Every time I teach a class and I suggest (sometimes more strongly then others depending on the project) that one use double thread.  I hear many moans and groans….I realize I am in the minority so I will spend a little time telling you why I prefer double thread.

By thread I usually mean 6lb fire line but I am giving Miyuki thread a try since I am worried about the long term availability of fire line suited for beading and I appreciate the color choices.

Back to double thread…..I think that I have both better tension and a longer MTBF (mean time between failures) if I have two threads.  I am often asked if you can use one 10 lb instead of 2 6 lb pieces and the answer is probably yes, but….I am still of the opinion (and it is just that) that a failure comes from a thread being abraded in a place where it is rubbed and that  you are much less likely to abrade two threads in the same place.

Second most popular question 'Can I just make two passes?' Well yes you can but for me these old hands need to last me for a good long time of beading, knitting, crocheting and whatever else may cross my path so I don't to use them twice when I can use them once.

For me I find I have better tension with two threads but I know for sure there are some beaders who are able to get amazing tension with one thread, if that's you and tension is the goal then one thread may be right for you.

On to addressing the most common complaints.

My thread always gets tangles.  Two solutions, use slightly shorter thread lengths (I know that means weaving in more often, but really you are a beader, that part is a fact of life.) and use wax.  I like beeswax on fire line to hold the two pieces together.  So far I've not used wax on the Miyuki, but I do pull slower to avoid tangles.

What if I have to pull my work back?  For me, I actually find double thread easier to pull back.  I  find the working bead, pull until I can grasp the working thread and continue pulling back until the eye of the needle is at the work.  A gentle wiggle will almost always result in the needle following the thread through the beads.  In the event you've turned a corner as in ndebele, you may have to push the needle through some beads eye first and then come back to method one for the next set of beads.  It saves having to unthread and rethread a needle each time you undo the work.  This in my book is faster.

The last question that comes up is what if I have to change my needle because it breaks or I need a smaller needle.  To solve this particular dilemma I cut one of the threads down at the body of the work, unthread my needle and thread a new one.  Then I pull the cut thread 2 to 3 inches past the body of the work and hold onto it for the first two or three stitches and once again I have double thread.  I also use this method if I have to switch from double to single in the course of a piece, for example if I was using double with size 15 and the design changes to s ice 15 beads where I might want to use single thread.

I know I am in the minority but over the course of the years I have managed to convince some of this way of working.  What about you, single or double?

and for those of you who prefer to see pretty pictures, here is some beadwork, all done with double thread!

All three of these designs benefit from the extra tension I get using my thread double.  A Touch of Whimsy looks better if the top is sprightly like here.  It's not good having a floppy top!

Duomos Romanticos counts on having a firm cubic right angle base to hold the fancy stone in place.

Robbins nest ring also needs a firm tension to surround the bird so beautifully.


Glorious Beads said...

I wish my mind and hand worked better together so that using double thread would be workable for me. I am a professional frog stitcher - no matter how slowly I bead! I think if you are pretty well free of ADD, and don't make many errors while beading, double thread is doable and the best choice, especially in RAW. For me it's a can't do. I envy those who can!

tinybeads2004 said...

I didn't believe in double thread till I sat down to make a project from your second book.
I beaded a sample swatch w/ a single thread, no wax (aka my usual method) and the beads wobbled all over the place. The RAW looked more like an untidy pile of beads.
I waxed the thread and beaded a second swatch w/ double thread. Suddenly all the beads fell into the right places and stayed there. This swatch looked like the photos in your book, something I had never been able to achieve before.
As I worked on the project, there were times when I needed to back out my needle. Your technique worked. The wax really helped the threads behave much better.
I thought to myself OK OK, double thread and microcrystalline wax win!
Thank you so much for sharing your hard-won experience!
Mary Alexander

bead engineer said...

Hi Marcia, in the case of using 10# instead of double 6# you are now pulling through the mother tread and the tail which is quite a bit of thickness through the bead hole. I like beading with a long tail so shortening up the tail doesn't work for me. As far as backing out, which I think would be the biggest issue, you get better at paying attention to your beadwork so you don't have to back out as often;) Susan

Kim said...

I have never tried double thread. I always have tension issues with RAW and have to go through it twice to get it to look right. I will be trying the double thread next time I use RAW for sure. I am curious to hear your opinion on the Miyuki thread because I always use Fire line. It would be nice to have more color choices. I use microcrystaline wax on fire line all of the time. It behaves so much better.

Marcia DeCoster said...

Kim, I really prefer beeswax but which will hold the two pieces together is fine. I like the color choices of miyuki, but I don't seem to get quite as good a tension, although I'm still experimenting. I am concerned about rumors of biodegradable fire line being a future requirement. So far facts about this don't seem forthcoming, but in the event it should happen I want to be prepared with a new way of working.

LoriF said...

Marcia, I'm curious as to whether you mean two single threads, together in a needle. or a single thread doubled?

Here Bead Dragons said...

Great insight. Very much liked your explanation for using double thread. Will also be checking out Miyuki thread because I have the same concern about Fireline. Thank you.

The bad Liz said...

Lori - It would be one thread, pulled so that the ends are together when touching. Two single threads in one needle would mean 4 layers of thread going through a size 15 bead - that wouldn't work well.

I am one of Marcia's many converts to double thread beading.

Charlene said...

You and I had this same conversation at Bead & Button, and the reasons you give are the same I've been giving to my students for years - and I've converted more than a couple!

Plus when I work with a single thread, that tail invariably makes a half-hitch around the working thread so I waste time every few stitches unknotting my thread, and I hate that.

Another reason is thread integrity: the eye of the needle invariably abrades the thread as you stitch, and if you keep moving your needle closer towards the tail as you work your project, then almost half of your thread has been weakened and abraded before you even wear your beadwork.