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Parallel thread

This is not a knot, but a way to join a new thread to an old one, when you have found that you have run out of thread on a bobbin.

The obvious way to do this is by knotting the new thread to the old one, and this has been described under slip knot. Here is a way to do it without knotting.

Working: Make sure you do this a little before you actually run out of thread! Wind a new bobbin with thread, and hang it on an existing pin in the lace, above where you want the join to come. (I suggest you use a slip knot over the pin to do this.) Now carry on working the lace, but wherever you use the bobbin that's running out of thread, use the new bobbin as well. So both bobbins get lifted over a thread together, or another thread goes over both together. You could even twist both threads together from time to time, for extra strength. After you have worked enough lace, then cut off the old thread close to the lace. Carry on working with the new bobbin. When removing the pin that this new bobbin was hung from, trim the loose end.

When I tried this technique, I found it quite easy. I was worried that the new thread would pull out, or that the old thread would work loose. This doesn't happen. Firstly, you decide how many stitches to do with both threads. Don't do just a single stitch! If you're worried, then do a few more stitches. But even after you've abandoned the old thread and are working with the new, this new thread is still hanging from a pin (with its slip knot), so it won't pull out. You don't remove that pin until you would normally remove it, after you've worked enough lace for that part not to get distorted when you tug a bobbin. If a bobbin tug won't distort the lace, then it won't pull out the thread either. And the old thread won't work loose because it's part of the lace right up to the point you abandon it and use only the new thread.

In fact, I didn't trim both threads (the end of the old or the start of the new) straight away. I cut off the bobbin, but left some thread dangling for a bit, and only trimmed both threads when they stood clear behind the mass of pins. You have to be careful that they don't get worked into the rest of the lace! (But you can flick them clear with a pin if they do.) Leaving them for a bit means that you can scrutinise the lace and check there is no loop in either thread. If there is, then you can smooth it, or pull the loop out before trimming the thread.

The actual working with both threads is not a problem. In fact, it reminded me of doing a lazy join! I got in a little muddle, as the thread was part of a worker pair, and sometimes it wasn't obvious which the new thread was paired with! But if it wasn't obvious to me, it wasn't obvious to the lace either, and you wouldn't see it in the final lace.

The one thing that caught me out was that you are changing the bobbin as well as the thread! My nice pairing of bobbins got disarrranged! (This will only apply if you use spangled bobbins, and the pattern doesn't mess them up for you.) But the other thread of the pair ran out as well, so I replced both threads, and bobbins, with a new pair. So that was all right. Just make sure that you only replace one thread at a time. Replacing both threads of a pair together would definitely create a weak point in the lace, and also look bulky I suspect.

A correspondent said it is "crucial is to choose a spot were the doubled thread goes through a few twists between stitches, for example one or two times cloth stitch and twist before and after a footside would be enough perhaps unless you chose too thin a thread for the pin distance of the pattern".

I must admit I still prefer the slip knot technique. You can get it over and done with in one go, and the knotted thread is then treated as a single thread. But this technique definitely works.