How To Wrangle Doubled Thread
I love working with doubled thread. However, though it has many benefits, some beaders struggle when working with two threads at once. Learn the benefits and how to troubleshoot frustrations.
This lesson was first available to my newsletter subscribers, sign up here for future educational emails and exclusive patterns & kits.
Why use doubled thread in the first place?
Doubled thread makes work stiffer.The threads fill the bead holes faster, so the work is naturally less flexible.
Strength. More thread passes always mean stronger and more durable beadwork because if one thread breaks, you have a backup.
Tension. Doubled thread helps with tension, especially when working with larger beads. Because larger beads have larger holes and filling these holes helps them stay in place, doubled thread makes it easier to hold tight tension. I've found that especially with right-angle weave, doubled thread helps hold the unit just made tight as you begin the next unit.
How to double your thread
There are two times when you can double the thread:
1) Use it from the start. Before you begin beading, slide your needle to the center of the thread, then fold the thread in half.
2) To double a thread mid-project, pull the tail thread so it's longer than the working thread and begin stitching. This tail thread can later be trimmed without having to knot it. I learned this handy trick from Cynthia Rutledge. This is a great thing to do before you add elements that benefit from needing extra strength, including clasps and embellishments . Here's a picture from my books (Interweave), Mastering Peyote Stitch and Mastering Herringbone Stitch.
Remember my mention of hating doubled thread? Well, some people avoid doubling threads because when you get a tangle or knot, it's twice the trouble. To me, the benefits still outweigh these potential frustrations. So what to do?
If your thread is getting tangled, wax it.
If you have made an error or had to cut the thread due to knots, you can fit two threads through the eye of most needles and stitch on. I promise it's doable. If this doesn't sound like something you want to try, weave in, knot, and trim each thread individually. Then, start a new doubled thread.
Frequently pull on the needle to make sure your thread in still perfectly folded in half.
If you made an error, DON'T STITCH BACKWARDS. This rarely ever works and ends with tangled thread. However, you can try to reverse the stitch by pulling on the threads and back the needle out, eye first.
Ready to give it a go?