May 19, 2007

Preventing a tangled mess

Today Katie, my 9-year-old, shows us how to remove individual threads of floss from a 6-strand skein (is it a skein?).

Find the end of the floss and pull out a piece (all 6 strands together) about 15" to 18" long and cut.

Separate the threads a bit at the end so that you see the individual threads. She does this by flicking her finger back and forth right at the end.

Grab one of the strands and pull slowly. Keep a good grip on the other 5 strands, but not too tight.

Repeat for each additional strand needed for your project.
If you need 2 strands remove 2 and rejoin them for threading your needle.

Here she does it "her" way of pulling one strand out so fast that the other strands spin. Note she's got a good grip on the end. If you let go you will have one big tangled mess.

Pulling out single threads prevents the strands from twisting as much while stitching.

I wonder what Katie will teach us next week?


  1. My dream is to have DMC come on a spool... in one strand! Why oh why must we struggle so!

  2. If you pull the strand from the same end that you originally pulled from the skein, it won't get tangled as easily.

    I'm also told you should also stitch this way and you will encounter less problems with twisting and knotting too.

    I am not always able to keep track of the correct end, so sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't.

  3. I agree with iamsusie! there is a wrong end and a right end to pull from (and sew from). If you hold the whole cut strand between two fingers and run them down the length of it, it will be smoother one way. That is the way you want to use it. Pull from the bottom of the smooth way and thread your needle from the top. I hope this makes sense!

    Did you also know that if you are having trouble threading your needle, you should try the other side? One side of the eye is bigger than the other thanks to machine manufacturing. Just a little known fact, that makes all the difference!

  4. Interesting. I've never had trouble with a wrong end and a right end. Maybe just luck?

    Thanks for mentioning this in case someone runs into a problem. :-)

  5. Go Katie! I can't wait to see what she'll teach us next! ;)

  6. I am enjoying reading your blog. :) I just wanted to say that I pull my treads out just like that, then I smooth out the single tread. We use to call it "Strip and Stroke". :D

  7. Hi, I just found your blog and I am a novice at embroidery. I just bought Jen Hart's new book and I am addicted. BUT threading that teeny weeny needle eye is making me lose my mind. I really hate that part of this craft. Do you have any tips/tools/needle brands that you could share to help make this more enjoyable for me?? Thanks!

  8. LOL, I'm such a newb! I thought the way it came was how you were supposed to work with it. My eyes have been opened! Thank you <3

  9. thanks for the tip!! but is it strange that my kind of DMC floss has 5 strands and not 6? hmm maybe i'm using the wrong type? although i really enjoy using this one as the one with 6 strands tens to knot up really quickly for me!

  10. The best way to prevent tangles when pulling a single strand is to hold the bundle twixt finger and thumb in one hand and pull the single strand straight up - not to the side - using the other hand. The floss will bunch up under the finger and thumb while you are pulling but fall away unkinked once the strand has been removed. And a simple slip knot at the end you pulled from will help you remember. Good for you teaching the little one to stitch. :o)

  11. I had no idea you were supposed to separate the strands before stitching! thank you!!!