Thread the Needle:  230 Tips

In our March 28 newsletter we asked for tips on threading needles.  We received useful, enlightening, inspiring, and entertaining answers.  We edited out several repeated tips, but left many in because they were so fun to read.  We learned some great tips, and decided to share.

  1. Have patience!
  2. Needles really do have a front and back. If you're having trouble,turn it around and approach the needle from the other side.
  3. Nothing beats good lighting when you're threading a needle.
  4. A fresh cut at the end of the thread at a slight slant seem to give me a sharper point.
  5. A little beeswax can help.
  6. Sometimes fold thread around the needle & then put the folded thread thru the eye.
  7. After I get the end of the thread damp, I also get the eye of the needle wet for easier thread to be inserted.
  8. Always cut the thread at an angle to help it pass through the eye much easier; do the same thing with sewing machine needles.
  9. Always get the end of the thread wet.
  10. ALWAYS HAVE GOOD LIGHT!
  11. Always 'needle the thread' rather than threading the needle
  12. Always put the end of the thread into the needle as it comes off the spool. Wetting the needle eye helps to attract the thread to the eye.
  13. Always use the end that came off the spool first.
  14. And a close-up pair of glasses :)
  15. And lucky us...the new machines have us spoiled with built in needle threaders!
  16. As I am older and don't see as well, I sometimes look for something with a white or cream background (even my metal machine) and I can see the needle eye more clearly and usually don't have much problem.
  17. As my eyes get older I can see that help will eventually be needed, but for now I prefer the old-fashioned way
  18. Be sure to make a sharp cut, moisten the thread and pinch the thread end.It works every time--even with thick thread and poor eyesight.
  19. Beeswax makes threading a needle so much easier!
  20. best tip ever: hand it over to someone who thinks they're really good at everything!!!! This allows you to continue making their day! lol.
  21. Bring the needle eye to the thread instead of trying to put the thread into the needle eye.
  22. Clean cut, pinch the end between your finger.
  23. Close one eye and I keep my elbow on the table and view it through a stationary magnifier.
  24. Clover needle threader is the best!!!!!
  25. Cut a fresh end on the thread at an angle before attempting to thread the needle.
  26. Cut end of thread at a slant and lick and it goes right through!
  27. Cut end of thread at an angle. It will slide right in needle.
  28. Cut my threat on a slant.
  29. Cut sharp edge of thread and moisten the needle eye--not the thread. Grandma taught me when I was a young child
  30. Cut the thread at a slant
  31. Cut the thread on and angle.If your needle doesn't want to be threaded on one side then turn the needle around and try the other side.
  32. Cut the thread with a sharp scissors to get a clean edge. Then moisten the end of the thread to keep it together and make a point.
  33. Cut the tip off at an angle and wet slightly to thread needle easier
  34. Cut thread at an angle it threads even through the smallest eye needle and wet the needle not the thread.
  35. Cutting a small strip of paper whose width is slightly less than the hole in the needle works as well as a wire threader and often lasts longer. It is also cheaper than having to replace a wire threader when the wire breaks.
  36. Daylight works well for optimum threading.
  37. Depending on the thread, I might make a fresh cut for easier threading.Or place a fold in the thread to go through the needle.
  38. Depending on where I am, but majority of the time, I thread my own.It’s simple, the Old-Fashioned Way!Best way for me is using my Otto-Lite Magnifying Floor Lamp!Have it threaded the first time!
  39. Depending upon the thread I am using I may use a 'fancy needle-threading gadget.'
  40. Tip: if you are having trouble threading your needle turn the needle 180 degrees because needles are stamped and the eye is slightly larger on one side.
  41. You can also try 'wetting' the eye of the needle, not the thread.
  42. Depends on the thread...with pearl cotton I have to do it the old-fashioned way.Otherwise I can use the needle-threading gadget.
  43. Don't forget to put on your glasses.
  44. Don't get old!!!But in case you do, a white piece of paper behind the eye of the needle can help.
  45. Don't push the thread through the needle-move the eye of the needle over the thread.
  46. Except on my machine it had a needle threaded!Love it!
  47. First make sure the thread is cut at an angle this gives it a chisel point. Don't touch the end. Thread the needle before cutting thread from the spool. When cutting from the spool always cut at an angle and you are ready for next threading.
  48. First you put on your glasses
  49. First, I find my 'cheater ' glasses, then thread the needle by hand with a piece of white paper behind the needle.If that doesn't work I call my husband (again)!
  50. Fold the thread around needle, pinch tight with fingers, slide needle out of the way and thread the fold through the eye.Sounds crazy but it works!!!
  51. Fold the thread on the needle and pinch tightly between thumb and forefinger.Remove needle while still pinching and place the eye of the needle over the pinched thread. Role your fingers away and into the eye of the needle.Voila! Needle threaded.
  52. For a thick or ravel-y embellishing thread, fold a narrow strip of paper over the thread end, place paper fold thru needle's eye and pull through.
  53. For cotton thread wet the needle eye (with saliva), hold thread close to the tip and push the thread through the needle eye.
  54. For embroidery floss, I fold approximately a 1/4 inch over the eye of the needle, pinch it together, and slide it into the eye.
  55. For my sewing machine, I have a little wire threader which I have bent to the side.I slip it into the machine needle, then use it to pull the thread through.
  56. For sewing thread, I thread the needle the 'old-fashioned way'.For heavier threads for more decorative stitches, I fold the end of the thread over the needle, pinch, and slide the eye of the needle over the pinched fold.
  57. For thicker threads, I use the Lo Ran flat threader it's so simple… one of the best little gadgets ever.
  58. For threading my machine needle I put a white paper behind the needle to help.
  59. For white or light coloured thread I slip a piece of dark cardstock behind the sewing machine needle and for dark coloured thread I slip a piece of whitepaper behind the needle - this help s to show up the hole of the needle.I thread my hand-held needles under a lighted magnifying lamp.
  60. Freshly cut the thread at an angle.That gives a more 'pointy' end to get through the eye.
  61. From years working with wool doing crewel work, I fold thread tightly over needle, slide needle out, hold folded thread tightly between my finger and thumb, and slide this folded thread into the eye of the needle. It works with all weights of cotton, including perle cotton thread. Occasionally I have to use a little wire needle threader if the thread is bulkier than usual.
  62. Gadgets don't work on a size 12 needle with a round eye!
  63. Get dollar tree magnifiers!
  64. Get on your bifocals,lick the needle hole and use the thread end that came off the spool last. Works almost every time,!!
  65. get saliva on the thread, squeeze tight between thumb and fore finger to flatten the thread, hold the needle in front of a white background so you can see the hole, poke the thread through
  66. Getting the needle eye wet will help if I'm having trouble.
  67. Glasses…lots of light…patience!
  68. Glasses, magnifying glass, steady hand and when the kitten isn't watching!
  69. Good light and a dampened end!
  70. I take the thread and wrap it tight near the end of the needle's point.That makes a flat double thread that slides into the eye easily.No wetting it, it's just wrapped around the needle.
  71. I became blind in one eye and I thought I would never be able to thread a needle again.I have trained my eye.I come in from an angle, always cut the thread at an angle, use white behind the needle, wet the needle not the thread, I have to use a wider needle hole, and stay relaxed as it will take more than one try.But, I do it.
  72. I can't see the eye so I catch my husband as he passes by. Another reason why I keep him around.
  73. I clip end of thread to a small angle and run the tip through 'Thread Heaven' before slipping it through needle opening.
  74. I coax the eye of the needle over the thread instead of pushing the thread through he needle.
  75. I crease the thread first by wrapping the thread on the needle and then putting the fold through the eye.
  76. I cut my thread at a slant then thread the needle
  77. I cut on a slant with a sharp scissors; if it doesn't thread easily from one side, turn the eye around, wet the thread, as a last resort grab the little wire thingy!
  78. I cut the end of the thread first to be sure there are no frayed edges. I also wet the tip of the thread.
  79. I cut the thread at an angle before trying to thread the needle (and yes, sometimes I still lick it! The thread, not the needle.lol)
  80. I cut the thread at an angle first the pinch close to the end to thread the eye.
  81. I disregard all the advice and lick the thread, then squeeze it flat.Works for me.
  82. I don't even use the needle threader on my sewing machine!
  83. I don't have any tips (but it seems to work to wet the needle's eye as well as the thread) but I'd love to read some!
  84. I fresh cut the thread, give it a lick, squint my eyes and aim for the hole with the spit wet thread. If I'm lucky, the thread goes through and after a quilter's knot, I'm stitching again.
  85. I gave in and bought a sewline threaded because those size 11 needles have small eyes. I just couldn't do it the old-fashioned way anymore. I love my threaded!
  86. I have been blessed to have had eye surgery and I cannot believe how well I can now thread the needle.It is a blessing to get older and discover these new options.Keep the faith dear sisters. I have found lots of people don't know needles have a 'right' side that is shaped to make for easier threading.
  87. I have found that I can thread a needle on my machine if I hold a white business card behind it so I can see the hole in needle.
  88. I hold the needle to the light and—this may sound disgusting—I wet the thread and flatten it between my teeth before trying and it almost always goes right through the eye of the needle!I suppose it may be easier to use a threader or fancy gadget but I don't have any!And besides the 'old fashioned way' is so rewarding :)Tada!
  89. I hold the thread between thumb and finger, and push the needle onto the thread.Its needling the thread, rather than threading the needle.
  90. I hold thread n move needle to it
  91. I hope someone else has good ideas to share! I could use the help!
  92. I just cut he end of the thread and it goes in if not I turn the needle around an in it go's
  93. I just found out that there is a front and back side to a needle, works all the time if you thread from the front!!
  94. I look for the rounded edge of the needle's eye.When the eye is punched by the machine that makes it, there's really a rounded or front side of the eye that allows the thread to go through more easily. At times it is hard to tell, but you if keep fighting with the thread, turn the needle around and the thread may just glide right through the eye.
  95. I love my Clover needle threader. I have it glued onto a 2 1/4' by 4 1/4' piece of 1/2' thick wood. I would recommend it to anyone having problems threading a needle.
  96. I love the clover embroidery thread threader. The larger wire is great.
  97. I make sure the end of the thread is cut cleanly.
  98. I 'needle the thread' instead of stabbing the thread through the eyehole. Keeping the thread almost completely hidden between my thumb and first fingertip, I slide the needle between my finger and thumb with the eye of the needle perpendicular to my thumb surface. Works every time, especially great if you have any tremors.
  99. I pinch the thread between my thumb and finger hen I place the eye of the needle on to the thread.Works every time.
  100. I prefer the old-fashion method. That is the way my grandmother showed me.
  101. I press the tip of the thread between tightly squeezed lips or fingers. A little moisture helps.
  102. I put my left finger beside the needle and with right hand I thread the needle, most always the freshly cut thread goes in on the first try.
  103. I put the needle onto the thread instead of the other way around.
  104. I put the needle up to a window so I can see the light through the eye. I live in sunny CA so we have lots of bright sunny days
  105. I read in an Amish quilting book to always cut thread on an angle, using a fresh cut. Also that needle holes are stamped so try turning the needle as one side may have a slight burr not able to be seen. Works for me!
  106. I run the end thru Thread Heaven or beeswax if it is going thru a small eye. I always cut the end at an angle before threading.
  107. I scatter little wire threaders in all my thread containers.
  108. I slide a loop of the thread over the needle and squeeze the thread with my thumb and forefinger while sliding the needle out then I slide the needle eye between my thumb and forefinger and the thread goes thru the eye of the needle.
  109. I snip the thread at an angle and lick the thread at the end.Gives it a little body.
  110. I sort of hold the thread and stick the needle over it rather than feeding the thread through the needle.
  111. I think I am headed towards the little wire threader or a gadget.... but, having good lighting is the best advice I can give.
  112. I thread a needle the old-fashioned way my Mother taught me!I think of her all the time!
  113. I thread several needles at a time leaving them on the spool. When it is time for more thread I simply grab the next needle along with the thread I need.
  114. I thread the needle the manual way if I am using silk thread. I do this, as I will rethread the needle two or three times thus avoiding the thread to slip out when appliqueing. Silk thread works beautifully when working with wool.
  115. I thread the needle through the thread, rather than the thread through the needle!
  116. I try anything that will work. No real secrets.
  117. I try to cut the thread on an angle before threading
  118. I try to find a needle that is a little larger than the thread, makes it a lot easier to get that thread through the eye
  119. I try to use a needle-threading gadget but they often break and I use the method of holding the thread between my fingers and placing the needle on the thread.
  120. I use a dental bridge floss string. It is looped and I put it thru the needle eye and slip the thread thru the loop and pull it thru the eye of the needle.
  121. I use a little wire when I can find it, or it's not broken (often) Mostly fingers and my glasses
  122. I use beeswax, running the thread over it before I thread my needle.Sometimes I just wet the tip of the thread myself with my mouth, but I know that's not as sanitary.So I prefer beeswax.
  123. I use dental braces floss loops to thread fat threads you can find them in with the regular floss in the toothpaste isle. Works great
  124. I use the gadget for hand-sewing, for my sewing machine, I have it positioned in front of a window; the sunlight comes right through the eye of the machine needle.On cloudy days, I put my finger behind the needle.It works for me!
  125. I use the old tried and true.... I trim off the end of the thread so it isn't frayed or ragged in any way.Then I simply put the thread through the needles eye!It helps to have very good light.
  126. I use thread doubled and then when I tie off to start I slip needled through thread loop.
  127. I used to struggle with threading a needle with floss or pearls cotton until I bought a cute little beetle needle threader with a light. Wow how much easier.
  128. I usually hold my needle in from of something white so I can see where the eye is.
  129. I usually needles with gold colored eyes. I always cut the end of the thread just before threading. Finally holding the eye in front of darker background like your jeans or dark pants also helps.
  130. I usually wet the thread first before threading.
  131. If it's for hand stitchingI usually wax the treadmill.Makes it much easier to work with.Thread magic works great.
  132. If sewing by hand, using either thread or yarn, I wrap the thread once around the tip of my needle, pinch it tight & flat and slide it off the tip, then push the loop through the eye of the needle.It works every time for me.On my sewing machine I just cut the thread into a point and then poke it through the eye - sometimes I wet the end.
  133. If the hole is big enough, I trim off the end and wet and press the thread and hope it goes through!
  134. If the thread doesn't go in after a few tries, I turn the needle so the eye is in the opposite direction.
  135. If the thread doesn't go into the needle eye from one side turn the needle around to the other side. It has to do with the manufacture of the needle. Sometimes the eye just works better the other way.
  136. If the thread won't go into the eye, flip the needle around and try from the other side.
  137. If thread will not go in from one side, turn needle around to other side.Also bring needle toward the thread and not the reverse.
  138. If threading by machine, I use both methods--finger and wire threader; if hand sewing, I use a 'cheater' needle--best method ever!
  139. If you are having difficulty threading a needle, cut off thread end and make sure it is straight--then it is sometimes easier if you wet the needle rather than the thread before you attempt to thread the needle.If you can't see the hole, it is sometimes easier if you place a piece of white paper behind it.
  140. If you are threading a needle by hand be sure to do a slant cut on the thread's end instead of a straight across (blunt) cut. You may not be able to see it but a slanted cut enters the needle's eye easier. Thanks s works for both hand sewing & your machine needle. Jan
  141. if you can't thread on one side of the eye, turn the needle around and thread from the other side
  142. If you dampen the needle eye instead of the thread end it sometimes is easier.
  143. If you hold the needle in front of a light background it's easier to guide the thread through the eye.
  144. If you trouble seeing the eye of the needle, take advantage of craft magnifiers that hang around your neck. You will see better and your hands are free to do the job!
  145. I have one of the threaders from the embroidery thread section. Nothing fancy but I don't have to struggle with it.
  146. I'm just very pleased @ 67 to see 'up close' just fine, super far away not so good.
  147. Incur the thread on a slight angle and that seems to help me .
  148. Instead of wetting the thread, wet the opposite side of the needle where you will insert the thread.Also holding something white up next to the needle hole helps.
  149. It all depends on the thread I'm using and the size of the needle eye.
  150. It really does work to place the needle over the thread rather than the thread inside the needle!
  151. It's a struggle sometimes but it works!
  152. It's not one of my favorite things to do!
  153. I've bought all the latest gadgets and always end up going back to the old fashioned needle threader.
  154. I've tried the other methods, but the old fashioned way works best for me. A good light helps.
  155. I've tried the special little threaders and I always return to the old fashioned way of using my fingers.
  156. Just do it!
  157. Just keep jabbing at it until it goes thru the eye.
  158. just keep trying till you get it.
  159. Just make sure that the thread end is cut nicely and not frayed, to go through the needle easier.
  160. Just the plain old way. I am 70 my glasses work pretty good would love to win
  161. Keep trying.Good lighting makes all the difference.
  162. Keep your eyeglasses up to date!
  163. Lick the end of the thread then bite it between your teeth to flatten.
  164. Little hard to explain but here goes.Lay the needle on the thread close to one end. wrap the thread around the needle 3 times, hold the wraps gently with one hand and pull the needle up through the wraps moving the wraps to the other end of the thread.Viola a knot at the end.
  165. Magnifying glasses.
  166. Make sure the end of the thread is not frayed.
  167. Make sure there's good lighting and hold the needle up to something white or very light in color before attempting to thread the needle, and cut the end of the thread at an angle so it will go through the eye of the needle smoothly!
  168. Make sure you are using the right weight of thread with the appropriate size needle.
  169. Make sure you have good lighting.I think this helps more than anything.
  170. Making a quilt now from scraps, piecing by hand, so there is a lot of needle threading going on! I don't have a problem threading with my fingers.
  171. Move needle to thread. Thread needle with end coming off the spool and knot where you cut it off.
  172. When quilting by hand. Thread a number of needles at the same time.
  173. Only cut the one to be used at a time, leave needles on thread on the spool and cut each as you need it. Saves time in the long run.
  174. My age and eyesight is the cause for the fancy needle threader, but a wire threader will do in a pinch.If manually threading, cut the thread at an angle, wet the ends, pull it thru your fingers to 'flatten' it and have a go at the tiny needle eye!
  175. My eyes are not as good as they were when I was younger.I need a needle threaderor magnifier for threading the needle.I wish it weren't so because if I'm gone from home and forget the threader, my stitching is done for the day until I find someone to thread the needle for me!
  176. My friend calls it the 'spit and twist' method.
  177. my glasses, good light, and a little moisture on the thread.
  178. My grandmother taught me to make a fresh cut, bury the thread between my thumb and second finger with just the tip of the thread showing. Then push the needle over the spot of thread. It works most of the time for me.
  179. My last little wire threader broke and I haven't replaced it yet.The best tip I can think of is be patient!
  180. My readers work great! :-)
  181. Needle eyes are punched so one side of the hole is a bit bigger -- think of punching a hole in paper with a pencil.Thread the needle through the largest side of the hole.If the thread just doesn't want to fit, then the needle and thread pairing is incorrect and a smaller thread or larger needle is needed.
  182. Needle eyes are punched, one side is wider than the other... if threading one way doesn't work, turn the needle 180 degrees...
  183. Needles have a right and wrong side - much easier threading on the ' beveled' side.
  184. Never 'lick' the thread (some folks think that moisture will help the thread go in the needle eye better) - nope, wet thread expands making it more difficult to thread.However if you 'lick' the needle's eye your thread will magically be pulled in by the moisture.

    Also, if you are having trouble getting the thread through the needle eye, try from the other side of the needle -occasionally the process used to punch the eye leaves burrs which snag thread.
  185. Never lick the thread when threading the loopers on serger!
  186. Not only moisten the thread, but also the needle. It really helps!
  187. Not sure I have any advice for threading.....I just wet the end of the thread, smooth it flat with my fingers and slide it into the eye of the needle!Been threading needles for close to 65 years.....think I have it down pat now!
  188. Of course I always lick the thread first!
  189. Often, just pressing the end of the thread between my thumb and first finger I can slide it through the eye of the needle no problem.
  190. Once when my dad saw me threading my needle, he told me to cut the thread at an angle as that is what they did with the twine on the baler.That is the old fashioned way. A good memory.
  191. Over the years, I've learned various methods and tools for threading a needle.I always fall back on the old fashioned way.
  192. Pass it to the 90 year old lady in your group. Our dear elderly member threaded a needle perfectly every time!
  193. Patience and my reading glasses.
  194. Pinch between fingers and go down with the eye of the needle.
  195. Pinch thread between thumb and pointer finger and bring needle over the end of it.
  196. Positioning the needle over a light background helps outline the needle eye!
  197. Put a light fabric behind the eye. It makes it easier to see.
  198. Put a piece of white paper behind the needle
  199. Put something light colored behind the needle. Have a good bright light.
  200. put the needle at eye level.....
  201. really good daylight and a strong magnifier
  202. Roll the thread between damp thumb and forefinger before sliding the thread through the eye of the needle.
  203. Rub the end across a small white candle with your finger and then thread the needle.Wax makes a sharp point of the thread and easy to slide through the eye.
  204. Run the thread over bee's wax before threading needle.It gives the thread more stability.
  205. Sharp cut, steady fingers, and a little spit.
  206. Snip, lick and pinch!!:)
  207. Some spit and chocolate
  208. Sometimes I have a little chapstick handy too
  209. Sometimes I have to use bees wax
  210. Sometimes I put a piece of white paper behind the needle to see the hole better.
  211. Sometimes I use the Desk Needle Threader, which is terrific for needles with fairly small eyes.
  212. Sometimes if you fold your thread a short distance and then take the point through, it will go through the eye of the needle easier.
  213. Sometimes my husband threads them for me, but next week I get cataract surgery and I hope that will restore me to always being able to do them myself.
  214. sometimes the old fashioned way is still the easiest
  215. Spit on the eye of the needle rather than the thread and it usually zips right through.
  216. Spit to moisten the end
  217. Squeeze the thread as close to the end as possible. Move the needle rather than the thread.
  218. Squint and poke
  219. The big eye needles by Tulip Needles have helped me tremendously
  220. The eye of the needle has a right and wrong side to it.If you can't seem to get the thread through, then twist the needle to the other side of the eye and it should go in smoothly.Also, if the eye is tiny and your trying to get more than one thread in, you may need help with a little wire threader.
  221. The method changes as the years go by!
  222. The REALLY old fashioned way....I 'needle my thread'.... It's an old technique; hold thread taught over a fingerand place eye of needle on top of thread & slide a very short distance. The thread makes a little loop that can be pulled through eye. This is my favorite 'stand by' method!
  223. The wire threader works best for me although sometimes I can do it the old-fashioned manual way.
  224. This isn't a tip-it's just what I do.I stick the wire threader into my needle (preferably one with a bigger hole) and then I put the thread thru the threader & pull out the thread.TaDah-needle threaded!!!
  225. Thread end that comes off spool first. Moisten while flattening end by sliding thru my front teeth.
  226. Threading that needle gets harder every year.I usually use the third gadget but recently I have used the 2nd one as some of the threads are too thick.So I have 3 options when I have to thread a needle.
  227. Trial and error many times LOL!
  228. When threading yarn or several strands of thread through an appropriate sized needle, I cut a sliver of paper 3-4 inches long (make sure the sliver of paper will fit through the eye of the needle). Fold the sliver in half and place the strand of yarn between the slivers but not in the fold.Make sure there is some yarn showing above the sliver so the yarn so it doesn't slip out. Insert the fold through the eye of the needle and gently pull the yarn through.
  229. Whether it be for hand sewing or machine sewing I find that by cutting my thread at an angle with a good sharp pair of scissors just before threading, helps make a nice smooth/sharp point on the end of the thread, making threading the needle much easier!!  ALSO, if the thread is a dark color, I hold the needle in front of a light color, and if the thread is a light color, I hold the needle in front of a dark color! The contrast makes it easier to see the needle hole! This works especially well on your sewing machine! I keep a business card that is white on the backside and dark on the front just for this purpose! Holding it between the needle and the presser foot when threading.
  230. Wipe the needle eye, it seems to help, and don't forget there are two sides to the needle!!!!