Tuesday's Tip - Using a "Spider"

Posted by Bianca Howell on

How can a spider help you with sewing or quilting? Well, don't worry, we're not talking about arachnids! A "spider" - also called a "leader" and/or an "ender" - is a scrap of fabric that you run through your machine at the beginning and end of each seam. The spider ends up attached to your fabric by short threads, and then you just trim them off and use the spider again and again. The funny name comes from how it looks after its been used - with lots of thread "legs" hanging off. 

sewing with a spider

Spiders help in many ways: 

  • They save thread because less is wasted at each end. Plus, time trimming long threads is saved - and then you don't have as many threads on the floor!
  • Keeps the needle from coming unthreaded, especially if you will hold your threads as you run the spider through.
  • The thread gets contained in stitches on the spider and carried off behind the machine, so they don't get sewn down in the stitches on your project.
  • They stop the the thread from bunching up into a bird’s nest under the fabric as you start out sewing. 
  • Best of all, spiders prevent the machine from eating your fabric! You know- when the fabric gets pushed down into the needle holeand it doesn't move, and the needle keeps going up and down forming a knotted ball on the backside, essentially sewing the fabric to your needle plate? Yeah, that.

Spiders for sewing! Who knew?



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  • Yay! I’m glad you find “spiders” as useful as we do!

    Bianca on
  • I use these often when assembling quilt blocks but never had a name for it. Spiders are helpful! ????

    Kim Shannon on

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