Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Tidbit - Using Beeswax for Hand Sewing

Today's tidbit comes with a bit of a history lesson.  Back in the day, when our grandmothers gathered around the frame to spend the day quilting and gossiping, thread was just thread.  In order to get the thread to pull smoothly through all 3 layers, they would run it over a hunk of beeswax.  This gave the thread a nice, even coating of wax as well as strengthened the fibers just a bit.

Fast forward 50 years.  Threads made specifically for hand quilting come already treated with a coating to make it nice and smooth as it drags through the layers of a quilt.  But, what if you want to hand quilt using one of the newer, fashion threads?  Beeswax to the rescue!  (BTW - NEVER use thread marked "Quilting" in your sewing machine.  The factory coating can damage the moving parts.)
Using a larger quilting thread (like perle cotton or 12wt Aurifil or Sulky) is a big trend in the modern quilting movement.  I have used both and running the thread over the beeswax made it quilt up just fine.  I also use it when I am English Paper Piecing - I use a thinner, 60wt thread (so my stitches won't show), and I sometimes had a problem with it knotting or shredding.  Not any more! 

We carry a product in the store called "Mind Your Own Beeswax", and each package contains 1oz of pure beeswax molded into the cutest shapes!  You'd be surprised how just a little bit of beeswax on your thread can make your hand sewing and quilting more enjoyable.

1 comment:

Chris H said...

I have used wax to strengthen thread with EPP since it does fray. I will have to try it with Perle cotton applique. I have see something called Thread Conditioner. Does that strengthen and make thread move more easily like wax?

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