A laying tool is a smooth, usually sharp tool used in embroidery to help you lay the threads so that they are smooth and parallel to each other, without twisting. It’s a handy tool for any type of embroidery, but I think it’s especially necessary when working with flat silk.
A laying tool can be used, though, with any kind of embroidery thread – even your every-day stranded cotton. If you’re using more than one thread of stranded cotton, the laying tool will help ensure that you get smooth coverage and no “overlapping.”
I’ve tried several different types of laying tools – and they do come in all kinds! My favorite one is Shay Pendrays “Best Laying Tool.”
There are two things I like about it: it’s perfect smoothness and it’s sharp point. It doubles as a great little stiletto to enlarge holes while doing goldwork (for plunging your threads) or while doing whitework (for creating nice little eyelets). The square end of the BLT helps you maintain a firm hold on it so it doesn’t turn in your fingers as you’re using it – or so you can control the turning better, if you like to turn your laying tool when you use it.
Here’s my video on how to use a laying tool. It does take extra time to use one, and, to be quite frank, I don’t use one often – but when I need to ensure that my threads are perfectly flat, especially if I’m working with flat silk, it’s the best way to accomplish that.
You can find the Best Laying Tool at Nordic Needle, if they don’t sell them in your local embroidery shop. They run about $17.00.