Rose's Quilting Blog

How to easily & quickly make twisted cords for your quilts

How to easily & quickly make twisted cords for your quilts

Do you sometimes see lovely twisted cords within peoples quilts or other hand type work and you wonder just how to make these twisted cords that you can then use within your quilts for brilliant effects of things like flower & leaf stems, cords for a hot air balloon, maybe you want to create hair that looks a little like dreadlocks... or a spiders’re only limited by your imagination here!

How to make twisted cords

To make these really lovely twisted cords for your quilting and patchwork for couching, what I do to get the beautiful cords that I often use within my work is I take a very loooong length of embroidery thread, this’ll depend on how long you want your cord to be, but be aware this technique really eats up your threads, although it’s lots of fun.

I then knot the two ends together, leaving a tail of thread. I then normally tie
this tail onto a cupboard doorknob, and with keeping the thread taut, I then start to twist this round and round until all the thread is twisted, normally with a pencil in the end for easier twisting.

If you have someone else there with you, then you can have them hold one
end and yourself the other end, both having something like a pencil or a knitting needle to hold the wool taught, and this is what you’ll use for the twisting of the wool. Think of it a little like a propeller turning. You’ll both turn it in the opposite direction, until the twists are tight and you’ll notice that, that looong length of embroidery thread is now very very short, as it’s now twisted tightly.


Next with keeping this thread very very taut, as if you let it loose now you’ll
lose it all, I then bring the two ends together, but making sure I have my finger in each end of the thread so I can keep it taut at all times.

They should twist themselves around each other again. This is the tricky
bit. If you don’t keep it taut, you’ll totally lose the whole twist and have a mess. It’s one of those things that’s often hard to explain, but can be shown easily. Having a second person here can really help.

I suggest the first time you do this not to use your very expensive embroidery threads but maybe some leftover wool from something that doesn’t matter if it ends up in the bin, as it may take you a couple of goes to get it to work.

I remember doing this at home as a young child with my mother, many
many times, as back then people made many twisted cords to go into things like knitted baby booties, baby jackets,  etc.

I’m Definitely not suggesting
that you use these cords in babies clothes etc, as cords and babies can be very dangerous.

People used to make things like a group of  3 pom poms and then add these twisted cords to them and hang the group of three, or use them on a beanie for fun with these corded pom poms hanging... The things that people did back in the 60’s were so often amazing but such everyday type things for that era.

Those of us that grew up within that era have many skills that were just part
of life back then, as everybody did them. It was more of a necessity than a craft.

Once you have this fully twisted into a cord, tie the ends together once again. You’ll find that once twisted like this, the twists don’t come undone on their own, as they sort of lock into each other.


You can then attach it to your work by couching it on, either with using
a zigzag type of stitch, or a couching stitch if your machine has one, but zigzag is fine. If you don’t have a couching foot for your machine, then an open toed foot is brilliant to allow you to see where you’re sewing. I "looove" open toed feet and use them for 90% of my sewing.

Sometimes I'll use a water soluble glue when attaching my twisted cords to
my quilt when attaching the twisted cords so I know I have the effect and placement that I'm looking for. This is the same water soluble glue that I personally use.

Do make sure that your attaching thread is either a monofilament thread so
you don’t actually see the thread but if you’re looking for a high contract thread, then bring out your artist flair and really go for it. Once again this is the same exact brand that I use for "all" my monofilament thread sewing.

 If you’re unsure about using monofilament thread or feel that you’re
sewing machine doesn’t like it then do check this out here so you can easily and confidently sew using monofilament thread to achieve brilliant results from monofilament thread. It’ll give you lots of insight and knowledge on how to set your sewing machine to easily sew monofilament thread.

I Loooove using monofilament thread, but I also know many of the tricks to
using this thread and when I teach my in person appliqué classes, I actually spend the first hour of the class teaching everyone how to set their sewing machines and the stitches to have brilliant results from sewing with monofilament thread... so do yourself a favour and check this out here now.

I like to use variegated embroidery threads as you’ll have some beautiful
effects once these have been twisted.

Sometimes, I’ll use two different coloured threads together for even better fine tuned results to match what I’m working on at the time.

To do this rather than taking one very loooong length of the thread and
joining it with a knot, so in theory it’s then only half the length, I take two very long lengths of different threads and join them at each end, so now in theory it’s just like the one length doubled.

Do make sure that your knots are at the opposite end of the thread,
meaning that they have originally being cut the same exact length... and then just do as above.

This works well if for instance you want a definite black and white twist
or some other colour combination... maybe you’re doing something with a tiger or giraffe and want definite orange and brown cords... you get the idea.

Remember you’re only ever limited by your imagination. So bring that creativeness inside of you to life and have lots of fun with these magnificent twisted cords.

Hope this helps to bring out your creativeness and remember to leave
a comment below.

That’s it for me here today, but I’ll be back same time, same place, next week.

Have the most beautiful, creative & inspiring day