A laying tool, no matter your preference, can be one of the most useful tools for needlepoint. With it you can make your stitches perfectly smooth, you can keep ribbons from twisting and really improve the look of your needlepoint.
But, for many stitchers, it’s hard to figure out how to use one unless you actually see it being done. Mary Corbet’s outstanding blog, Needle n’Thread has a video tutorial to help you.
There are many kinds of laying tool, broken into two categories: metal and non-metal. Which you prefer is entirely up to your own habits. Here are a few of the more common ones.
A wooden laying tool, mine is pictured above, is a rather blunt length of wood. Often made from exotic woods and turned prettily, they come in several lengths. Their points are not as sharp as metallic laying tools, which suits me, clumsy as I am, just fine.
You can also find similar laying tools made from glass, bone, and plastic.
The Teko-Bari, also called in the US a BLT, is a think sharp metal rod. It is a traditional tool used in Japanese embroidery and is quite sharp. Shay Pendray discovered this tool when she was learning these techniques in Japan and brought them to the US, naming them BLT for Best Laying Tool.
You can also find metal laying tools that aren’t teko-baris, often with turned wood handles and cases.
The trolley needle is a very popular laying tool because it is attached to an open thimble-like thing that sits on your index finger. As a result, it is never far away when you stitch.
There is also a bracelet form of the trolley needle.
Laying tools are found in many places, including your LNS, on-line, and on eBay. If you haven’t tried using a laying tool, do, they are wonderful. If you have and didn’t like the one you used, try a different type.
Finally, in a pinch, there are many things that can be used as ad hoc laying tools: chopsticks, popsicle sticks, skewers, collar stays, and even your finger.