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Needle Trolley - A laying tool you wear

My favorite laying tool is a needle trolley.  You place it on your pointer finger and just stitch away.  You don't have to worry about loosing it while you stitch or stopping to pick up your needle (or a cookie) which is close by.  It becomes one of those very long finger nails.  I have a friend that forgets she's wearing it until she pokes a hole in her cleaning glove.  Just a warning!

needle trolly

A laying tool is a smooth, long and thin object used to get your fibers to lay down flat on the canvas.

laying tool

There are decorative laying tools you can buy specifically for this purpose:

laying tools for needlepoint

or you could also use a crochet hook or a large tapestry needle - anything that is smooth, long and narrow.  The Needle Trolley has the same thin end, but allows you to place it on your finger - and it's adjustable, so one size fits all.

You don't need to use a laying tool all the time - unless you're entering a competition.  So, when should you use one?  The short answer is when your thread is stranded (especially if it has a luster to it like cotton and silk) and when your stitches are straight and parallel. Some stranded fibers e.g. cotton floss, can become twisted and make your stitches look uneven.  Stitching a Satin stitch is the perfect opportunity to use a laying tool to get your stitches smooth, even and lustrous. Flat, untwisted stitches give much better coverage than their uneven, wayward cousins.

Here's a great video on how to use a laying tool by Mary Corbet, an instructor in the needle arts.  You'll see, it's easy.  And don't worry about  her speed.  She's moving at a snail's pace to demonstrate. It'll only slow you down a little. You'll find it easier if your work is mounted on a frame (stretcher bars), and always strip your threads first - separate the ply and lay them back together alongside each other before you stitch with them.  But that's for another article. 

Needle Trolly

And you can always use the laying tool with all stitches (just ask a certified Needle Arts teacher).  As you can see, I used my Needle Trolley while stitching a basket weave stitch on "Cosmo girl"  by Voila!   Although the tent stitches are short, I wanted the skin to look even - this girl is too chic to have blemishes. 

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Needle Trolley the needlepoint tool you wear

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