Using conductive thread in knitted glove finger tips

Anyone have experience knitting with the conductive threads?

I’m knitting a pair of gloves and am considering stitching conductive thread into the thumb and index finger tips. I’m considering literally holding the thread with the yarn as I knit those sections, or I can stitch a spiral, stripe or a fingerprint whorl shape after the knitting is done, which might give more reliable contact points.

I’ve seen Becky’s demo on craftzine, and initially I thought I’d like less of a “button” kind of application, but would the pad shape actually conduct too much - does it need a specific touch point ‘button’ instead?
I have a commercially made pair of conductive gloves and the whole tip is conductive - the knit changes to a conductive yarn for the last 2cm of the tip - so I imagined it was possible but maybe I’m wrong with this product.

My questions:

  1. Which conductive thread is best for the project (maybe the thicker 7 or 9?)?
  2. Is stitching afterwards more reliable than knitting the thread into the area?
  3. Does it have to be a button-style patch or stitches to work or can it be a flat area?
  4. Wear and tear on the thread - what are the chances of the wearer getting steel splinters in the future?

Thanks in advance and wishing everyone a happy new year!


Hi Alison,

Looks like that’s the same Becky Stern who works for Adafruit:

I’m no knitter so I’ve never done this myself, but understanding a bit more about how capacitive touchscreens work might help you reason your way to answers to your questions. Here’s a really good video:

Because the phone is already designed to work with weird shapes, the shape of your contact patch probably isn’t too important. For example, it could easily calculate the centre of a contact patch that looks something like this:

Just as long as it doesn’t result in something more like this that might register as multiple touches:

Older devices used Surface Capacitive Touchscreens instead of Projective Capacitive Touchscreens, but Surface Capacitive touch only supported a single touch point, so they’ve been largely phased out in favour of the more complex multi-point capable Projective touchscreens:


Hi Alison welcome to the forum :slightly_smiling_face:

I haven’t used conductive threads myself with the wearables projects I’ve made (mine were mostly LED focused so I wanted things as waterproof and non-conductive as possible).

@Wolf is our resident wearables guru so they may have some insight when they are next in the office.


Thank you for the thorough reply @Oliver - that Becky Stern clip was exactly what I needed because she talks about connective yarn, not thread, and the Adafruit website lists that with ‘yarn’ in the title too. They make a differentiation that this website doesn’t, which is the info I was looking for, as far as which thickness/ply to use. After seeing her mitten pattern, and those clips, I’m hoping working the yarns together will work as well for a smaller area. There are options for different kinds of stitches that can increase contact area too, like holding the CY in front of the work every other stitch at the pad. The mittnes have ab advatnage that there’s so much area to connect with skin.

Thanks for tagging Wolf, @Trent5487676. I’ll be interested to know if they can talk about the longevity of the yarn and if they’ve done any weaving type work with this stuff.



oh I’ve only had a somewhat limited experience with the thread! I’d love to see some testing around the concept of different stitches and their conductivity!
-looking deeper at this project I also want to know if they can be washed?

in this case I’m afraid I have more questions than answers but this seems like a fun project!