Gypsy Thread

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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Don Hendrix
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Gypsy Thread

Postby Don Hendrix » January 28th, 2008, 8:33 am

Can anyone suggest a brand of thread or yarn that is highly visible, yet easy to break for use in the Gypsy Thread? Thanks.

Mark Collier
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Mark Collier » January 28th, 2008, 9:12 am

Dental floss comes in colors and has a cutter built in to the dispenser.
Also, I've seen Eugene Burger use a candle flame to 'break' the thread.

Jeff Haas
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Jeff Haas » January 28th, 2008, 12:01 pm

The classic suggestion is to use basting thread. This page describes its use, it's designed to be easy to break:
Basting thread

I've also seen cheap cotton thread used, it's a bit tougher but can still be broken.

If you don't want to light a candle, I suppose you could open a pocket knife and stick it in some kind of clip or holder and cut the thread against it.

Richard Hatch
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Richard Hatch » January 28th, 2008, 2:49 pm

Basting thread is easy to break, but also quite thin and so hard to see except under close up conditions. Punch embroidery thread is much thicker, but still easy to break. But getting harder to find...

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Timothy Hyde
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Timothy Hyde » January 28th, 2008, 5:07 pm

I first learnt the thread from Ganson's great write up of Marconicks routine in Unconventional Magic. He suggests Tacking Cotton.

I tend to think people think that thin thread is harder to see than it actually is. With good lighting and costume choice even the thinnest thread can be seen, even in a large room, especially with the hand movements that essentially amplify what's going on.

Timothy (always liked a routine that ends it's reveal already in applause cue)
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Larry Stangel
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Larry Stangel » February 4th, 2008, 7:35 pm

Richard, is this what you're referring to as "Punch Embroidery Thread"?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Punch-Embroidery-Th ... dZViewItem

Larry

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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Richard Hatch » February 4th, 2008, 8:27 pm

That's it. Steve Corbitt first turned me on to this thread. When his source dried up, I found a website, www.prettypunch.com that was great. Unfortunately, they went bankrupt (the site is still up, so you can seen the products, but it is not active. I.e., your order will not be filled) and their products started showing up on eBay, which is where I would buy spools. Great stuff! I'm looking for a more reliable source though!

David Alexander
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby David Alexander » February 4th, 2008, 8:45 pm

I've done this particular trick for 50 years, learning it as a kid after watching Orlando Bagley stun audiences with it.

Red Heart used to sell a great bright yellow mending yarn made of wool. It was sold in dime stores on little cards. It was easy to see and easy to break and I copied several of Orlando's mannerisms and presentations that help sell the effect strongly.

Unfortunately, wool yarn is being phased out by acrylics and wool/acrylic blends. You'll only rip your hands if you try and tear it.

I would suggest going to a large knitting supply and looking for wool yarn that you can easily break. When you find the right stuff buy several skeins of it. That's what I did some years back. I bought enough to last me for several years.

Bill Palmer
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Bill Palmer » February 4th, 2008, 11:49 pm

Ron Dayton suggested the use of "wicking yarn," which is used to remove moisture from the outer surfaces of various and sundry garments.

Regarding the statement of Timothy Hyde that thin thread can be seen anywhere under the correct lighting -- this is true; however, slightly thicker thread than ordinary basting thread can be seen much better.

I have experimented with this.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

Conus
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Conus » February 10th, 2008, 3:10 pm

I still have some yellow Punch thread I picked up from Steve Corbitt. Good stuff...

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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Dave Shepherd » February 23rd, 2008, 9:32 am

I found a source for cotton basting thread today. Cheap, pastel colors.

The Sewing Place

I'll try to follow up here and let you know how it is when I see it.

David Acer
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby David Acer » February 23rd, 2008, 10:13 am

The Camirand Academy sells something called Glow Thread (originally produced for Gary Ouellets Gypsy Thread routine), which shows up particularly well under U.V. lighting. Details here: http://www.camirandmagic.com/mv_004d.html
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Tom Gilbert
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Tom Gilbert » February 23rd, 2008, 12:03 pm

I purchased some of the glow thread David talks about. I'm sure it can be seen in a large room with the right light. But, it's somewhat like trying to break piano wire...
Tom

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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby David Acer » February 23rd, 2008, 2:57 pm

So I guess my next suggestion of using guitar strings is out.
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Pete McCabe
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Pete McCabe » February 23rd, 2008, 7:16 pm

Also, David, I wouldn't bother recommending piano wire.

Dave Shepherd
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Dave Shepherd » March 2nd, 2008, 3:12 pm

Originally posted by Dave Shepherd:
I found a source for cotton basting thread today. Cheap, pastel colors.

The Sewing Place

I'll try to follow up here and let you know how it is when I see it.
I got this stuff this week. It is pretty good. The yellow is much brighter than any yellow thread I've ever bought from a fabric store. Because it's basting thread, it's very easy to break, and it has a little bit of fuzziness about it that probably enhances its visibility.

They ship it to you in a skein, not on a spool. Therefore, transferring it to a spool is a pleasant task that will require a bit of time. It is very cheap--$2.50 a skein.

The other night I filled four spools, and still had about half a skein left (plus a second skein that I haven't even opened). The two skeins I've got will probably last me a couple of years, even if I start doing this trick in each and every show I perform.

Jim Schuyler
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Jim Schuyler » March 4th, 2008, 2:23 am

About 25 years ago I put together a little routine I called the Hindoo Twine Twick. It was the thread trick, but using a thicker thread.

I made the thread by getting a three stranded rope in nice bright red color, made of what looked like knitting yarn. I separated the three strands, and then separated each strand into three different pieces by starting the separation from the middle of the yarn. Once separated, I wound them onto little pieces of cardboard to use for the Hindoo Twine Twick.
freshfish

Rick Schulz
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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby Rick Schulz » October 17th, 2009, 11:52 pm

I have a question regarding the preparation of the "restored" part of the thread. Many of the the sources I've found recommend winding the "restored" portion of the thread around small wooden dowels or even one's fingers, forming a kind of figure "8', which is then removed from these objects and placed, one loop on top of the other, double over several times to form a small "packet". Now and again I have had this packet has "lock" up when pulled apart.

Richard Hatch has suggested (on the DVD "Friends of Roger Klause") a much simpler method. I've had pretty good results (in practice and rehearsal) with this method.

I was wondering if anyone else had any insight in this issue. What is the best (i.e., least problematic) method of preparing the thread for restoration?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Rick

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Re: Gypsy Thread

Postby NCMarsh » October 18th, 2009, 12:37 am

Geoffrey Durham has a method of preparing the thread that was created to avoid the "lock up" issue -- I don't perform the effect currently but he writes that since changing to this method of prep he's never had tangle issues and it cleanly restores -- it's published in his (EXCELLENT!) Professional Secrets
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