Grey Thread Should Be In Every Weaver’s Toolbox


Grey thread.

Simple right?

Don’t stop reading though, there’s more to it than that.

Why would a weaver need regular old grey sewing thread?

Grey thread is a powerhouse.

It hides in the shadows of your weaving – holding things together and helping you keep your mind and your studio uncluttered.

Instead of having thread for every color of yarn you use – you can just have one. 

In theory, you will use this thread perfectly so that it is completely hidden underneath your weft and on the back of your weaving.

In practice, there’s a good chance that your grey thread will peak through your weaving occasionally. This is more than likely because despite the fact that the thread will never be on the surface of your weaving – if you’re not careful it won’t sit perfectly where it’s supposed to.

Luckily, it’s sewing thread! This means it’s VERY thin. If I had to guess, I would say probably a lot thinner than your weft yarn. It should easily tuck into wherever you need it to. When it inevitably peaks through? It appears as a shadow.

The magic is in the way it mimics these shadows.

So, how can you use it?

Let me count the ways:


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Sew Up Your Slit Tapestries

When you are weaving tapestry, a widely used technique when you have 2 different colors weaving in the same shed (a.k.a. on the same line) is to create a slit.

This is a great technique for when you want create a clean straight vertical line in your weaving.

If you decide to do this instead of joining them together then there is a good chance you will need to close that slit back up. You will only need to do this if it is a large opening – anything over an inch. Or if the weaving will be handled often.

When a weaving with a slit in it is hung up and it’s not sewn shut then eventually gravity will take it’s toll.

Damn gravity.

In this case you do have options. IF you have thread that is similar to both of your weft yarns, then by all means, you can use that.

Let’s say for example, though, you have a slit with 2 opposing colors. One side of the weaving is blue and the other side is orange. 

Which color do you choose?

Grey.


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Tack Down Your Warp Ends

Sometimes you may want fringe on your weaving.

Sometimes you don’t.

When you don’t want fringe you have a lot of options to choose from. Most of these options require you to deal with your leftover warp ends in some way.

After doing your favorite edge finishing technique – you can either:

  1. Weave all of your ends back into your weaving. This creates an attractive looking back and is therefore the best option for a double sided weaving. Depending on the size of your weaving – this could be the lengthier option.
  2. Tack your warp ends to the back of your weaving. This is a great option for when the back doesn’t need to match the front.

Pulling the warp into little bundles and tacking them down, keeps them out of the way and takes less time to do. Don’t forget to use your grey thread to do this.


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Sew On Velcro

There are a lot of different ways to hang a weaving (check out THIS POST on hanging options!) I am partial to using velcro on the back of my weaving when I want my weaving to speak for itself.

If you decide to use this option then… Do I even have to say it?

Grey thread does it all. 

You will want to use grey thread to sew the velcro onto the fabric and then again to sew the fabric onto the back of your weaving. Always making sure that you can’t see it on the front of your weaving.


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What are some other ways you can use grey thread in your weaving studio?

Sew on embellishments

Stabilize intentional weft holes

Stabilize floating areas

Attaching title tags



Is there any time you wouldn’t want to use grey thread?

The only time I can think of is if there is no way to hide it. The magic shadowy-ness that it exudes only works when it is in a place that would normally have a shadow.

When you have no choice but to use something that shows up on the front of your weaving it is probably best to find thread that matches your weft.

Do you already use grey thread in your studio? Let me know in the comments!

-Nicole
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