Monday, March 22, 2010

Tools for Ripping Out UPDATED

I'm working away on the Tardis ornament.  To date I have tent stitched the entire left side plus the left door, and have ripped out the interlocking Goblein I first thought would work on the right door so I could start tent stitching it.  This is time-consuming, but perfect stitching for a weekend spent mostly in yard work.  I was too pooped at night to do anything more complex than basketweave anyway.

I've done quite a bit of ripping out in my last couple of pieces and it dawned on me perhaps you might be interested in the three items I use for this from my needlework toolbox.

When it comes to cutting threads, if I have more than just one or two to remove, I usually turn to my sharp little Thread Snips.  Mine are Japanese and they look like the ones here except mine have colorful foam covers on the handles so that squeezing them to cut is easy.  I bought mine at Needlewoman East but Liz didn't know who distributed them and there is no manufacturer's name on the package or the snips themselves.  They are quite sharp so there is a plastic point protector on their tip.  I like them because they are small and slip under the threads I want to cut easily, making it less likely that I will cut anything I didn't mean to.

Once I have the threads cut and removed, I pull out my Boo Boo Stick to carefully brush the surface of my bare NP canvas where the threads were to pick up any leftover fuzz.  The wider end of the Boo Boo Stick is soft and the smaller end is hard bristles, so you can scrub or just softly wipe the canvas, depending on your need.  I've had my Boo Boo Stick for at least ten years and use it often but it looks brand new.  Of course I keep it in the plastic envelope it came in to keep the bristle ends clean.

My final tool is one we all have--a 2-3 inch length of leftover metallic thread.  When I finish a length of metallic thread, and cut off the short end that is not long enough to use elsewhere, I check to see if there is a similar piece already laying with my pile of current threads.  If not, I keep it, particularly if it is something medium sized like a #4 or #8 Kreinik braid.

Often I find when I rip out threads I accidentally disturb threads next door. Sometimes these threads will start to poke their end through my stitching to the front.  When that happens, I thread up my needle with my leftover metallic (no knot on the end--that's important) and put the needle in the hole with the loose end from the front.  Pull the metallic thread to the back and it will drag the loose thread with it.  Then you can decide whether to snip it close to the back or re-secure it.

My friend Mimi told me about this trick which she picked up from the ANG email list years ago and it has proved very useful.  So keep a little tail end of metallic thread around.  It is a useful tool when you find yourself ripping out something that needs replacing.

Hopefully tonight I'll finish the tent stitching on the Tardis and can start stitching the roof line.

UPDATE:  My spies say the little thread snips are distributed by Dovo, who also distribute the grasshopper scissors.  I still can't find a photo of a set exactly like mine but these are close.

Here are the "grasshopper" scissors. I don't own these but I find them intriguing.  They also allow for precise fine cuts and are operated by squeezing.

If you need scissors to meet a special need, while searching for the above I found Nordic Needle's newsletter that talks about the scissors they carry and recommends various types for various chores, for lefties, etc.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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