8 Tips for Working with Embroidery Floss
- Always write down the color of thread you're using – that way, if you run out in the middle of a project, you can always run to the store to buy more for an exact match.
- Embroidery floss has a tendency to knot if left on the skein. Remove the paper wrappings and form the floss into a loop.
- A good rule of thumb is to cut the thread you wish to stitch to a length equal to your forearm from fingertips to elbow. Too much length will make it hard to work with.
- It's a good idea to separate the strands before stitching-even if you plan to stitch with all six plies. This process is referred to as "stripping" the floss and will make the floss easier to work with, will help to keep it twist- and tangle-free, and will ensure smoother, more attractive stitches. Simply pinch all of the plies together at the top with one hand, then pull one of the strands out from the top until it is removed from the group. Repeat with each strand until they have all been separated, then put them all back together again and run your fingers down the strands to flatten them out.
- To use floss, separate the strands (also referred to as "plies" of floss) according to the weight of stitch you'd like to create. Use just one or two plies for fine details, or use all six plies for bold, thick stitches. A suggestion of three or four plies is common for most embroidery designs.
- You can even combine a few plies from one color with a few plies from another. This is a great way to create a shaded or variegated look.
- Rather than using a knot as you would in sewing, anchor the first embroidery stitches in other stitches on the back side of your work. Catch the tail of the first stitch on the back side of your work.
- When you reach the end of your stitches, need to change color, or are running out of floss, secure the end by weaving the needle under a few stitches on the back side of the work before trimming the floss ends.