What is this? The right answer is ‘a laying tool’ but the wrong answers are funnier.

Trolley needle or laying tool

Those of you who follow us on social media will know that I put this photo of a trolley needle laying tool up a while back asking folks to answer the question “what is this” with only wrong answers. As usual you all delivered the hilarity. Here are your answers:

AmandaThat’s a fancy grape jabber!!!!!
AngelaAn eyeball skewer? 
BeaA hat pin. 
BridgetteIts obviously a finger sword 
CharlotteI concur with Sara. Definitely a nose picker.
ChristineA converter for a hummingbird to become a unicorn  
CSPWell one on each finger would protect you from just about anyone or anything trying to attack you 
DawnPersonal, reusable cocktail toothpick .
DeniseNail cleaner
ElizabethTrolley needle
EstelleIt’s a thingy!
JanelleNarwhal ornament
JulieA hole puncher.
JulieLock picker.
JulieMaybe a hair pin. Lol
KathrynCatwoman’s fingernails!
KatieA secret agent poisoning device! Wear it on your finger, dip the tip in poison, then discretely stab/scratch an enemy! 
KrisIt’s for cleaning the grooves in sandwich containers.
Laineolive deflowering tool
LesliePinocchio face mask!
MaureenFor creating a perfect part in your hair.
PatA stitch picker
RebekahPimple popper
RhondaA knitting needle.
SamanthaI just listened to a podcast about Witch Finder pins! Totally looks like that… in my head.
SaraNose picker
SherylSelf defense ring
TannisScaled version of a new, improved witch’s broom. Now easier to balance!
TeganUnicorn helmet for a mouse! Charge!
TerrèA tiny mask for a mouse!

Your answers are not only funny, some of them are very practical. You may have been wondering, however, what it’s really for (although I’m sure a lot of you already know).

It’s a laying tool. They call this one, which you wear on your finger, a trolley needle. Its purpose is just as it’s name says: for laying your thread nicely. People use them for ribbon and wider thread that is very noticeable if not laid correctly, for longer stitches when you’re using more than one thread and will notice if they are twisted, and for cross stitch to get nice, consistent, even stitches.

Laying tool

Laying tool for embroidery
Laying Tool

There are all sorts of different laying tools, and all sorts of other things that can be used as a laying tool. Right now, in the store, I have two different ones: the trolley needle, and one that is a little more straight forward (haha… straight forward, see what I did there… because it’s a straight line).

These tools are handy and worth spending a few dollars on but if you are unsure about whether you’ll like using it, you can try it out with any straight, thin, smooth thing: skewer, large tapestry needle (size 13 would be good), pickup sticks (I loved that game).

How do you use a laying tool?

Laying tool in action

Not to over-use this joke, but it really is pretty straight forward. It goes in the loop of thread or ribbon created by your needle going back down into the fabric.

You give a little resistance as you pull the thread through, and run it back and forth as you do so, making sure that the two threads end up side by side and they are pulled down through the fabric.

After using the laying tool
After using the laying tool

As you finish pulling the thread through and tighten up the stitch, you slip the laying tool out and your stitch should be nice and even with the two threads neatly side by side.

It really is a handy thing when you are stitching something that will really show if the threads are twisted up, like a longer stitch. But lots of people swear by them for keeping their cross stitch neat and tidy too.

What’s your favourite?

I asked Kathryn from Gingerbread Girl Designs which was her favourite and it’s the trolley needle. I asked her why and she said: “I like that laying tool because it doesn’t require an extra hand, like the hand held ones do, it’s adjustable, so I can get just the right fit and it’s pretty!”.

Which is your favourite?

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