Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread - Tips, Tricks & Great Resources for Hand Embroidery
Ask Needlework Related Questions Here

thread question

I'm new to embroidery and I'm trying to figure out my thread situation. Most of the stitched I've been practicing have called for two threads of cotton embroidery floss. Is it normal for my threads to come untwisted so much? Is it that I'm using cheap Iris brand floss?
MaryS
Joined: 1/13/2012 12:27 pm
Posts: 1

Re: thread question

Hi, Mary -

Do you mean the two strands that you're stitching with are not twisting together, or do you mean the twist is coming out of each individual strand?

Normally, when stitching with two or more strands of floss, you don't really want the two individual strands to twist together. That's why, when you remove them from the larger group of 6 strands (stranded cotton usually has six strands bunched together), you "strip" them. That is, you separate the strands you are going to use from the main bunch, but also from each other, and then you put them back together when you thread the needle. You get better coverage and neater stitches if these two strands you're working with don't twist up tightly. To help prevent this, every now and then, you should drop your needle towards the floor, so that the thread hangs free and untwists itself.

If, however, you're talking about each individual strand - that the plies that make up each individual strand are coming untwisted - then I think that's a problem with the floss. "Cheap" floss may be prone to these types of situations, because they often are not made up to any particular standard for hand embroidery - they're just made to sell. With "cheap" floss ("craft floss" sold in large bulk packages in hobby stores, for example), you may also have a problem with colors running.

I think it's always best to invest in a tried-and-true floss (like DMC or Anchor), which in the scheme of things are not that expensive in the US. You can usually pick up a skein of DMC for 39 cents or less at hobby stores. If you're going to put a lot of time into your stitching, and if you want the best results you can get, you'll be happier in the long run using threads that you're more certain of. It'll also cut down on the frustrations that come with "craft" floss (thread fraying, pilling, or breaking; color running, and so forth). Even when practicing, you'd be better off with something other than craft floss, as you'll avoid frustrating problems with the thread that can lead to discouragement.

Hope that helps!

~MC
MaryCorbet
Joined: 6/1/2011 9:45 am
Posts: 437
Location: Kansas
User avatar

cron