|Recently on a board about thread there were some comments about threads knotting up, so I thought I would post this little tip. When you take your thread off a spool, always put the end you pulled it out from, not the end you cut, through the needle, and it shouldn't knot up. (Think of the way you thread a sewing machine needle.)
To keep the needle from dismounting itself as your thread gets shorter, here is an old bookbinder's trick. After you have threaded the needle, take the needle in your right hand, if you are right handed. If left handed, reverse all directions (as usual, probably!). Take the short end of the thread hanging from the needle and wrap around your thumb, over your thumbnail. Use the side of the needle to flatten the thread sitting on your thumbnail, and then with the point of the needle, go through the center of the flattened bit, splitting it. Pull on the long tail of thread, pulling the split right up against the needle. Your needle is now caught. You should not have a knot, just a catch, so your needle will pass through your fabric as usual.