When it comes to annoying threads, metallics take the first spot. They plain suck, well, before we put together a list of how to make cross stitching with metallic threads easy that is. However there is one thread type that’s a close second, and whilst it doesn’t get as much focus, it has its own special elements that mean you can’t just pretend it’s like a metallic. We’re talking about glow-in-the-dark threads.
Condition, Condition, Condition
We really can’t state this enough. Conditioning your thread, will, without a doubt, help you. Unlike cotton thread glow-in-the-dark threads aren’t anywhere near as smooth. As a result, they catch on your fabric constantly. By conditioning the thread, using someone like beeswax, you can solve most of your problems in one go. If you’ve not conditioned threads before, we round up the best thread conditioners.
Use Short Lengths
This one might be fairly simple, but reducing the lengths of your threads will help on a whole bunch of issues with specialty threads of all types. We’d even suggest using 6-inch threads when it comes to glow-in-the-dark, as the threads often get messy after this point. It might be a pain to keep threading your needle, and cutting new pieces, but I promise you, this will help.
Remove The Curl
The weird glow of glow-in-the-dark threads is the selling point. But its also the problem. Whilst the reason behind the green glow is rather interesting, for now we’re just going to concentrate on the actual product; zinc sulfide. This chemical, that gives it the glow, has to be unfused into plastic then added to the thread. The problem with this process is that the plastic is now brittle to sheer forces. These forces come in the form of curls.
When you stitch on average you add a quarter turn to your needle, slowly winding up the thread. With normal cotton, this can lead to knots, but it’s otherwise not too problematic. Glow-in-the-dark thread, however, snaps. Not the whole thing, there is still cotton in there, but the fibers infused with the glow powder snap meaning the threads look torn and messy. By making sure you let the curls fall out every few stitches, you can stop this happening, leaving you with nice, smooth stitches.
Double Eye Needles
One way of avoiding curling the threads is actually to change your needle. A double-needle can help with cross stitching faster, but it also stops the threads twisting. It’s a little love or hate to use long term, but for a short bit of glow-in-the-dark stitching, it makes things a lot easier.
Use The Right Needle
However, if you don’t like a double-needle, it might help to change your needle anyway. One of the biggest problems with specialty threads is the eye of the needle putting stress on the thread. By upsizing your needle (to give a bigger eye to use), or even using a gold cross stitch needle you can avoid the stress on the thread and save yourself a lot of ripping/catching.
Another tip is to make sure you thread the needle well. Using a needle threader makes sure that threads are always placed correctly in the eye.
Use A Railroading Tool
I’m not the biggest fan of railroading, but I have to admit, sometimes a laying tool is just what you need. By using a laying tool, you can allow the thread to lay better, but you also stop it curling, stop it fraying and stop it from catching. It should be noted that while you are using the railroading technique, thanks to the way the fibers make up glow-in-the-dark threads, you won’t get as neat a finish as if you were railroading cotton threads.