These skills are very basic to hand sewing and among the first learned when beginning to sew. When a few mothers in our church asked a woman with years of sewing experience to teach our girls some beginning basics, she graciously agreed. I looked forward to learning from her as well. Sure enough, she taught me a couple “tricks of the trade” that have been a tremendous help to me. I would like to share them with you.
STEP 1: How To Thread A Needle
Unravel the thread from the spool and cut to desired length. Take a wax candle or beeswax and press the end of your thread onto the wax and hold it there for a few seconds. This will allow your body heat to slightly soften the wax. Then drag the thread across the wax a few times. This will coat the thread, keeping it from splitting and making it easier to thread your needle.
Proceed to send the thread through the eye of the needle.
To give your thread double strength, pull the top end down to meet the bottom end until they are matching lengths.
STEP 2: How To Tie A Knot
This may seem complicated, but bear with me. Follow these instructions, practice a few times, and you will see how truly simple it is.
Hold your needle perpendicular to the floor. Take the two matching length ends and bring them up to cross the needle like a “T.” Wherever that thread is on the needle is where your knot will end up. You only need a little bit of thread sticking up over the needle.
Now, take the thread that is hanging down and begin to wrap it around the needle point several times. The fewer times you wrap it the smaller the knot you will have. The more times you wrap it the larger your knot will be.
Point the needle up to the ceiling and pinch the wrapped threads between your thumb and finger. Proceed to slide the wrapped threads down the shaft of the needle. You may need to use your other thumb to push the needle up from the eye end to get started.
Once it has raised enough, you can use your other hand to pull up on the needle while your pinched fingers are pulling the thread down. Continue to pull the thread down over the needle eye and down the thread until the knot has reached the bottom.
When I was young, I learned that you rolled the thread between your thumb and finger until you had aggravated it into a knot. Having sustained a thumb injury a few years ago (my family was at a batting cage and I just happened to somehow catch my thumb between the bat and the ball), this motion is strenuous on my thumb joint. So learning to knot the thread this way has been a huge help. I hope it will be an asset to your sewing skills as well!