I Lay, I Layed, I will Lay…threads


Oh yes, if you could wear out a laying tool I am giving it a good shot. I am stitching an Orna Willis piece I won by mistake. I thought since I won by mistake the least I should do was stitch it…I also have a good home for it when it is completed. If there is one drawback to this piece it is that it is all stitched in floss and that means…”Strip, Stoke and Lay.”

But I have given quite a bit of thought to laying threads and laying tools this past two weeks. And by no coincidence, not only do I have a scissor collection but also have a laying tool collection. Remember, if you have three you have a collection and I would have a collection just in the three I use all the time.

But first, here are the others in my collection: I have tried all of them but seldom use any but my three favorites.

laying-tools-31 I love these two, they were gifts and so I always think of the giver when I see them. I have used both of these, but I don’t take them out of the house anymore because I would hate to break them,  lose them or leave them somewhere. The top one is a Micheal Ernst Glass Laying Tool from Stitch Elegance (www.stitchelegance.com). This laying tool is so smooth but I am always afraid I will break it. It also does not have a sharp point on the end that I tend to prefer. It is beautiful! The wooden one is also a beauty and it has a sharp end but I definitely am afraid of breaking this point. At one time I know you could find this type laying tool at M’s Canvashouse (http://www.mscanvashouse.com/).  

laying-tools-6 These I think are suppose to be bone or ivory but I think they are synthetic. All of these are part of a scissor/laying tool set.




Two more wooden laying tools and their cases. These laying tools are about 4 inches long.





These are all very different: The top one has a metal tip that is rounded on the end. I have found it good for laying ribbon type threads. The next one  is wooden and the pointed end was used to lay the thread and then the larger bowl end is suppose to be used to rub over the laid threads to flatten even more. I think this tool had a name but I don’t remember it. And the lower two are Wooden Cable Needles. I find these great to use when I want Turkey Tufting loops to be uniform.



Necessity is the mother of invention…these are other examples of what may be used as a laying tool. I have used these tweezers as a laying tool. I have a friend that uses this type all the time, she grabs the threads between the prongs to keep the threads flat and lays them very nicely. I never got the hang of this but then practice does make perfect.  The next laying tool is really a “hair pin”. It is painted wood with a jeweled end. And the last one was a kit I bought…one of those impulse buys. It is a doll needle with a beaded end I made . Other things that I have used are my finger, collar stays and Large #18 Tapestry needle.


laying-tools-2These are traditional type laying tools I use. The top one is a “tekobari” inserted into holder made especially for the tekobari. One end had a gel like substance that was suppose to be used to insert the point to keep it from getting damaged. Well, I didn’t know that and since I have large hands I put mine in handle side first so I would have something extra to grab. I am very careful about putting the lid on the tekobari. Some of these holders do not work as well as mine did but you can try . The next is a laying tool that was made with the laying tool inserted into the handle. It is from Rainbow Gallery ( http://www.rainbowgallery.com/Detail.CFM?ID=942)  and was my laying tool of choice but I only use it at home now because I have left the top someplace two or three times.  The bottom one of three I carry with me. I showed it here  because it is a laying tool in a case. The top of this case not only screws on over the tip but it screws on the back to make a longer handle (shown here) so I don’t forget it this way either. The husband of a stitching friend made this for me out of a pen base and a laying tool. I have shown this in two other pictures also.



 These are my laying tools of choice, I carry these with me in my stitching tools. The  Trolley needle I have had for years…it is really a large tapestry needle on a finger ring. I use it when I do not have a stand or it is a small take along project. It is not my laying tool of choice when doing a large project or working on a stand.  The middle laying tool is the an aluminium tool, but I am not sure which brand or who marketed this laying tool. I like it because it is lightweight, long and fits my hand nicely. The bottom one is the same one from above, shown with the top not attached. I like this one because it is long, fits my hand nicely and has weight to it. I use the bottom two laying tools most often.


laying-tools-1b laying-tools-1c 

Laying tools need protection, not only to protect their points but to protect you and your work. All my laying tools have some protection. Some have their own cover like the tekobari and case pictured here. I use red case for my long aluminium tool. (Red case  is a bookmark needlepoint. It comes with the canvas inserted. Some canvases are painted others blank…this one was blank and I added this design. After stitching needlepoint I lined and stitched up sides and left top open.) All the other laying tools have one of the tops pictured in 2nd picture. The three caps on the left of 2nd picture (pink, blue, & yellow) are knitting needle protectors. I like these knitting protectors but I lose them with great regularity so I am now using…clear rubber tube. The two protectors on the right of 2nd picture are clear rubber tube from the hardware store. It is inexpensive and comes in about 3-4 diameters and will fit most laying tools. I love the hardware store!

 Now if you are still with me…breif lesson laying thread…

lay-1lay-2Thread coming up from back of canvas. Using laying tool keep plies separated and laying side by side. I prefer to lay threads toward myself (top to bottom). But if I am in a class where teacher prefers that the threads are laid away from you (bottom to top), I do it.


lay-3  lay-42                                   I keep a firm tension on the thread as I return the thread to the back side of the canvas and is firmly set.




lay-5 This is a thread laid using a Trolley Needle.  Laying threads with any laying tool is like anything, it takes practice (and I am getting practice), at some point becomes second nature and is easier to do. I tell people it is like learning Basketweave…at some point it becomes second nature.  I also think your preference of laying tools is personal; it is what works for you and that can be anything as long as the threads are properly laid.


Okay, I need to get back to laying threads…


Author: sudukc

I was taught that everyday you should learn something new, so I consider myself a needle artist in training. I may have more experience than some but I know there are needlepointers out there who have forgotten more than I will ever learn. I am a member of the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG), have completed the Fellow Level of ANG Teacher certification and am a member of TNNA. I also love to stitch using my computer...I do stitch diagrams for national teachers, needlework shops and my own business sd designs. In my other life, I am a wife, mother of 3 sons & GRANDmother to nine GRANDchildren (only 3 girls here too).

4 thoughts on “I Lay, I Layed, I will Lay…threads”

  1. Wow – that’s very interesting. I have to confess to being very lazy – I don’t own any laying tools, although I will confess to having used a large needle occasionally. Mostly I just railroad or comb out the strands of thread with my needle. I don’t know anyone who would look at my work in enough details to see whether the threads are lying nicely or not. But it’s good to know more about it!

  2. Three is a collection?! LOL, I now have another collection! Great piece. I own some of the same ones you do, but must confess I use Shay’s laying tool–I think it is called the Best Laying Tool the most!

  3. Oh yes….I have a collection also. My deceased husband used to make turned wooden laying tools and I have one that I keep and never use….just don’t want it to change. This was a wonderful post on laying tools. I lay my threads all the time, even Krienik braids.
    Jan S aka stitchlady

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