How To Keep Embroidery Floss From Tangling

Getting knots in your embroidery floss is the bane of any embroiderers existence! Here are some of my top tips for how to keep embroidery floss from tangling so you can avoid frustration and enjoy the process of stitching more.

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Storage Tips

Store On Bobbins

Once you start using a skein of floss, store the rest of the thread on a bobbin. The packaging of the skein won’t stay on as well the more thread you use. Winding the thread keeps things more manageable and you’ll also be able to keep track of the color code. Check out these thread storage tips for even more ideas.

Pull From The Number Side

If you choose to use the thread directly from the packaged skein, you can pull the tail of thread from the number side of the skein so the thread won’t tangle!

Stitching Tips To Prevent Knots

embroidery floss and fabric

Separating Floss

Check out this method that makes it easy to separate embroidery floss strands.

Use Thread Conditioner

Thread conditioner helps to make the embroidery thread easier to pull through the fabric and it also helps to keep the strands of embroidery floss stuck together. Grab a tin on Etsy and give it a try!

Use a Blunt Tapestry Needle For Weaving In And Out Of Stitches

Certain embroidery stitches, especially those of the needle weaving variety like they ceylon stitch or basket weave stitch involve bringing your needle in and out of surrounding stitches. Using a blunt tapestry needle will help prevent any snagging or tangling.

Secure Loose Ends

Leaving tails of thread on the back of an embroidery is a surefire way to create knots and tangles. Try to finish each piece of thread when you’re done with it, or you can pull the thread to the front temporarily to keep it out of your way while you’re working.

Cut An Arm’s Length Of Thread

If you find that the thread is getting tangled frequently while you’re stitching, you may be using too long of a piece of thread. Try using a shorter piece to see if it makes a difference. Measure the thread from your middle finger to your elbow.

Untwisting Thread

Certain embroidery stitches like the cast-on stitch, bullion knot, and the French knot involve twisting of the thread. You may notice after making these stitches that the thread starts to twist on itself, which can cause knots and tangles. Allow the thread to dangle and untwist before proceeding to the next stitch.

tangled knot in embroidery floss

How To Untangle Embroidery Floss

Undoing a Loop

If you’ve ever been embroidering and a looped knot forms with your thread, it’s usually very easy to untangle. Grab the loop in one hand and gently pull on one of the tails of thread below the loop with your other hand. If it feels like it’s not moving, grab the other end of the thread below the knot. You should feel it gently slide and eventually the loop will untangle. (see video for demonstration)

Try To Loosen A Knot First

For tangled embroidery thread, locate the knot and try to loosen it with your fingers or by placing the needle in the knot. Try not to pull the thread in a way that would tighten the knot more. If it’s not budging, check out these tips for removing embroidery stitches.

how to keep embroidery floss from tangling

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