A laying tool is an instrument used in hand embroidery to help keep multiple strands of thread that are being used at one time, flat and parallel. It can be used for a number of stitches, but I use it especially for satin stitch when stitching with multiple threads. It’s also used extensively in Japanese embroidery (the tool is called a tekobari) to stroke flat silk, and in cross stitch and needlepoint as well. Pretty much any needlework technique that involves a smooth-lying stitch made from multiple strands of floss would benefit from the use of a laying tool.
The laying tool that I’m using in the following video is made from stainless steel. It’s got a perfectly smooth shaft that narrows to a sharp point, so the tool can be used effectively as a stiletto, too. You can find laying tools made of wood, bone, plastic, and metals of various kinds, and they all range in price, depending on what you’re looking for. And, for the stitcher who likes to accessorize (hey, who doesn’t like to accessorize?!), you’ll find laying tools that are decorated with beads, gold filigree, silver handles, carved handles, and on and on.
But, when it comes down to it, you can also just use another needle as a laying tool. It won’t be as comfortable and easy to hold, but it will work. Choose the largest needle you have in your supplies and use it in the same manner as you would a laying tool. The larger the needle, the more comfortable it’ll be to hold.
The one regret I have about the video below is that I was stitching from top to bottom of my work. It’s easier to use a laying tool when you stitch from the base of your work upwards, although this isn’t always possible. But if you’re working from the base upwards, keep in mind that you have less of a chance of gouging your previously worked stitches.
I hope you find the video useful, and that you enjoy the pleasure of beautifully finished stitches through the use of a laying tool.
For e-mail subscribers, please visit the tutorial on How to Use a Laying Tool on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’d like to view the video.
So what about you? Do you use a laying tool?
I’ll try not to bombard you with too many videos in the upcoming days. I’m getting a few sorted out, so I can do some cleaning up on the website over the upcoming holidays. I hope they don’t bore you! But don’t worry – I’ve got some other stuff coming up as well… including my favorite subject – Thread Talk!
Enjoy the weekend!