Linen is SLUBBY. There’s no way to get around it. Some linens have fewer slubs than others, but linen and slubs just go together. In linen fabric, slubs can be pesky; in linen thread, they can be downright maddening. Well, until you remember it’s linen… and slubs and linen just go together…
A slub is a little lump in thread (or yarn or fabric) that develops during the spinning process, when loose fibers get caught up in the thread being spun. “Slub” is a magnificent word. When I hear it, the word “slug” automatically comes to mind. There are two reasons for the connection: 1. slubs look like slugs, in a fibery sort of way; and 2. slubs in thread try my patience and make me want to slug… something, someone, anyone!
But then I remember… slubs and linen just go together.
On my needlebook project, Londonderry Linen thread is used for the edging around the needlebook. Before assembling the book, the instructions require backstitching all around the edge of the needlebook, using black Londonderry Linen thread. Once the mitering is done on the cover of the book, I think I am supposed to go back to those backstitches and work a scalloped buttonhole needlelace in them, using the same thread.
And I don’t mind using Londonderry Linen thread! As linen thread goes, I like it a lot.
But if you’ve never used linen thread, you should prepare yourself for the experience. You should know that slubs and linen just go together.
I backstitched all around the outside edge of the needlebook.
It was a lot like writing with a bloppy pen. You can see where the black stitching is a bit thicker-looking, can’t you?
In places like this, for example?
Or in places like these?
This is the culprit. It is a slug. No, no – sorry – it’s a slub. And slubs and linen… they just. go. together.
But you know, you can take a stand against slubs. They can be conquered. When I find them on thread, and I see that they are an obvious protrusion from the thread, I take a needle and try to pick them out, or, if it’ll work without cutting the thread, I take my scissors and I trim them. I do! And when I find them in fabric, if they interrupt the design and I can do it without damaging the fabric, I carefully pick them out with a needle and tweezers. But you know, sometimes I think I might be damaging the character of the linen.
But if you find that slubs really frustrate you when you’re stitching – because on linen thread, they can be frustrating! sometimes they’re like pulling a small knot through the fabric! – just calm down and remember that they both (slubs and linen) just go together.
Have you experienced slubs? What do you do about them?