Not to dishonor Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, but as quilters our question is more likely to be “to clip those loose threads or not?” We all know they can make a mess if not handled properly.
This is my take on loose threads, and you don’t have to agree, but I am rarely bothered enough by those threads to take time to clip them off.
You either gasp in horror at this point or break out laughing.
I am aware they can make a huge mess, and if I am not careful as I sew, a good portion of them end up in the seam and show up on the front of the quilt. Sheesh….now they really do need clipped, right?
First, I rarely use white or any other light color for a quilt background – because I know this about myself. The first quilt I ever made with a white background I learned the hard way about not clipping those threads because I had it completely basted and in the frame for hand quilting and gasp…. I could see the darker threads. Many hours later, I had un-basted the quilt sandwich and clipped all those threads. Then to put it all back together……Ugh….
Second is that if it is a scrap quilt, I use that as a chance to utilize all those colored, partial spools and bobbins of leftover thread that probably don’t match much of the fabric in the current quilt top. See previous post: https://indianaquilter40.com/thread-fabric-should-they-match/
By now you are either so horrified you stop reading, or you are rolling on the floor laughing because you do the same thing.
I decided long ago that I was more concerned about accurate cutting and piecing than about always matching the thread to the fabric, or clipping all those nasty loose hanging threads that appear on the back of my quilt top.
I am careful to take the time to pull them back out of the way when sewing the seams and since I usually use darker background fabrics it is rarely noticed so I just simply choose to ignore the clipping step.
Quilters, whether you are a beginner or very advanced in your quilt making exactly what part of the quilting process is priority is up to you. No one is going to die if we do a shortcut on our quilts. Yes, they should be well made, but some things are not worth the time.
I refuse to stress about loose hanging threads on the back of a top that once it is quilted will never show up anyway. So now you know my awful secret…
To clip those loose threads or not? I encourage you to make your quilts, your sewing process, and your priorities while quilting your very own. Only you can decide what causes you stress while sewing or quilting, and if ignoring some small irritant is right for you.
Have a wonderful day of quilting.