Recently, I have been hand quilting a lot, and I have come to a simple conclusion: knots are very similar to humans. There is a wide range of different knots. Very simple ones, and very complicated ones. There are thick knots which won’t go through any layer of fabric and will stand any resistance, and there are tiny knots which will slip through anywhere and barely are worth the name.
“Oh, oh, this will never go through!”
There are those knots which give you trouble because they won’t form as you want, and there are those knots which form without you even noticing. And of course, there are those which you do not want at all but you cannot untie, and you even must clip the thread to get rid of them.
Do you know what I am talking about?
“Bugger! When did this happen?”
To avoid at least the latter, I have a simple tip (besides using a strong hand quilting thread, and if not, waxing your thread to make it stronger): Do not pull too fast. I have noticed that the slower you pull the thread the fewer knots will form.
Besides this, the length of your thread is important, too. My grandmother had a saying which I often remember (but not necessarily obey): Long thread—lazy maid, short thread—busy maid. Meaning of course that if you are working with a very long thread (in order to avoid having to sew it up so often) you are much more likely to have problems with it. Pulling the thread through the layers of fabric will roughen it slowly but steadily. And a long thread will become weaker and weaker every time you pull it through. Rough and weak, it is more likely to form knots, and it may even break when worse comes to worst.
“I guess this is a hopeless case.”