4 steps for preparing your thread - Learn This Modern Embroidery Technique
Let’s look at some tips for preparing your thread, so your stitching goes as smoothly as possible:
1. Pulling thread off the skein
Pull your floss from the numbered end of the DMC skein (rather than the end that has the logo) and it will come out freely. If you pull the other end it will tangle!
Cut your pieces of thread about 12 inches (30cm) long. This length works well as a beginner (you can use longer pieces once you’ve got the hang of it).
2. Separating Floss
Stranded embroidery threads (e.g. DMC) are made up of 6 twisted strands of floss. You can stitch with all 6 strands for quite a bold eect. Or you can separate them and use less strands of floss for a finer effect.
Cut the thread to your preferred length(about 12 inches).
Take one end of the thread, and use your fingernail to separate o the desired number of strands (I’m showing 3 in the image below).
Carefully pull them away from the rest, moving slowly while running your finger along the entire strand length. They will want to tangle, so taking your time lets them unwind without forming knots. After you’ve separated the amount you want from the main group, use your fingers to smooth them together.
3. Adding a Starter Knot
Tie a simple overhand knot at the tail end of your thread, placing the knot as close to the end as possible. You may need to tie a couple of knots on top of each other, if you’re using less than 6 strands of floss.
How to tie an overhand knot:
Hold the thread close to one end, and cross the tail over the main section (to make a small loop).
Tuck the tail around the back of the loop, and pull it through the loop to the front.
Pull both ends gently to tighten the knot – but as you do, use your fingers to push the knot towards the end of the thread.
4. Unwinding Floss
It’s also super helpful if you take a moment to separate and smooth out the strands of floss in your thread, before you start stitching. You see, stranded floss (like DMC) is made up of 6 twisted strands of floss. If you stitch with them all twisted up, they tend to knot and tangle pretty easily. But if you unwind and regroup them, they will be a lot smoother and easier to work with. It might seem a bit annoying to add this step, especially when you’re all set to stitch. But trust me, this pays o big time in terms of saving you time (and frustration) down the line – you can thank me later!
Use your fingernails to gently separate the strands, right next to the starter knot you already made. Then slide them down the length, unravelling each strand from the group as you go. The threads will want to windup and tangle, so take it nice and slow. I often split the strands like this into groups of 2 or 3, then into singles.
Now you can smooth the strands back together. As they’re already knotted at one end, they will easily fall into place.
So there you have it, all the beginner knowledge you need to prepare your embroidery threads. This is something you'll do again and again as you keep making embroidery patterns.
This course takes you through all the beginner techniques and knowledge you need to make your first beginner pattern, Little Wildflower Meadow! Plus, it includes a beautiful second pattern, Blooming Lovely, which is a fantastic place to practice your newfound skills.
I would totally recommend this course, as it covers more embroidery techniques than just preparing your threads, and you can also do it at your own place. Plus, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your own me-time and continue on your path to becoming a modern embroidery superstar.
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