Monday, January 31, 2005

What's the difference?

Know what the difference is between a thread conditioner such as Thread Heaven and beeswax? Think about the difference conditioner or wax would make on your hair! Conditioner applies a charge to the thread to help prevent tangles. Wax, stiffens and helps to keep things in place. Contrary to many bead patterns which indicate that conditioner or wax can be used, they each perform differently, and can affect the outcome of the piece you’re working on.

Some particular pieces like hollow beaded beads need the structure that wax can add. Even thread which is pre-waxed, such as Silamide, can be waxed if you need that stickiness and hold. This same stickiness is also what gums up your needle. Quality of the beeswax can be an issue. If you find it’s crumbly, it’s probably old, or has been frozen.

If something you make is turning out limp, and it shouldn’t be, switch to wax and try again. Of course the same is true of using thread conditioner. You may want to experiment with it in a piece that should have more drape.

Two other “conditioners” I’ve heard of, but not used are soap or Chapstick. I’ve even read of using beeswax based lip balm so that when you moisten the thread tip when you’re threading, you add a minute amount of wax to the end!

Finally, if with either you are getting lots of tangling and knotting, you may be working with a piece of thread that is too long! Alternatively, if your thread is shredding, it could be the fault of your needle.

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