Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Separating Embroidery Floss

Do you use stranded embroidery floss? When I first started using stranded embroidery floss, I was seven and my teacher would separate the floss for me. She had a method to separate each strand but no matter how I tried, I couldn't do it right without getting my thread all tangled up.

The method to separate each strand is actually quite simple and I think quite widely used. And yes, I managed to do it myself as soon as I reached the age of 13. Anyway, just in case you are still struggling with separating, here's a step by step.

First, as you do, cut around 20" of embroidery thread. I have very long arms so I use 25".

Next, holding one end of the floss close to the tip, use your fingers to separate them.You can tap on it or as I prefer, I lightly rub the thread and they come apart.

Pull ONE strand in a upward direction. The fingers holding on to the tip of the thread - you must never let go. Keep pulling until the entire strand is removed.

You will notice the thread bunching up. It is perfectly normal. Once the strand you are pulling is completely off, the bunching will disappear.

You need to separate each strand, one at a time. Even if you are using 6 strands, you have to separate them individually. Next, bunch them up together again before you use the thread.

When you bunch the required number of strands together, it is a very good idea to smoothen the thread. With one end of the thread held by your thumb and finger, use your other hand to grip the thread with other thumb and finger and move (still gripping firmly) all the way to the end of the thread. Kinda like smoothening it out. Do it twice. This way, your thread is less likely to tangle up.


Linda said...

I knew to do this when I wanted only one strand, but I didn't know I should separate them all and put them back together again when using more than one. Does this make them lay flatter or smoother or something? Great tutorial, btw.

Christel said...

Hmmm, this is something new. (Removing 1 strand at a time) I always rub the thread to get the strands apart, then split it. Like if I need 2 strands, I'd just split the thread into 4:2, then use my index finger to "pull" all the way down.

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Christel, there is some small difference in the way the stitches look if you remove 1 strand versus say 3 strands. The former will look slightly plumber. With 2 strands, you might not see much difference. The most important thing to do though is to smoothen the threads between your thumb and finger a few times all the way to the end. This will reduce the occurrence of knots. In beadweaving, the threads are quite fine and impossible to unknot so doing this smoothening motion is very critical. In fact, try making this a habit before you do any handsewing, yes polyester sewing thread as well and I'm very sure you'll notice fewer tangles and knots.


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