When I learned to sew by hand, it was with a combination of motherly advice and online tutorials. At some point, I was taught how to thread a needle the “traditional” way (by poking one end of the thread through the eye of the needle and pulling through to double up). This was a great way to strengthen embroidery thread for cross-stitch and hand-sewing.
However, threading a needle this way means you need two knots to secure the thread at either end, once when you begin sewing and then again to tie off. You can hide these ugly knots in the hem of garments or between layers of fabric and lining, but you’ll still be able to feel them — and the Craft Goddess help you if the piece you’re stitching is supposed to be reversible.
In the decades since then, I learned another way to secure thread without the knot: You poke the needle through the fabric a few times in the exact same place to create a tiny securing stitch.
This method is neater than a knot in my experience: there’s less of a bump, less of a noticeable beginning, and you’re somehow less likely to get your thread tangled before you even begin. It’s still visible and it can be tricky knowing just how tiny to make the stitch (too small and the fabric might rip), but it’s much more secure than a standard knot.
It’s a great way to tie off, at least, but in the last few years I found an even better way to secure your thread at the beginning of your stitching:
I cannot for the life of me find the source anymore (I went looking when I tried — and failed — to describe the technique to Emma over at Puddle Side Musings). It’s not really something you can describe in text, anyway, so here’s a video to explain instead.
With this method, you don’t need a knot or any kind of securing stitch at all. The way you thread the needle automatically secures the thread when you pull through. Great, huh?
Now I just need to find a way to secure my thread when I’m tying off and I’m all set!