How To Start Embroidery Thread Without a Knot

There are several methods you can use to start embroidery thread without a knot. Now, you may be asking why you wouldn’t want to start your stitches with a knot. This topic is kind of a controversial one in the embroidery community, but I personally think that it’s up to personal preference. The important thing is to know why you’re using or not using a certain method, so first lets go over why knots may be a hindrance to your embroidery!

  • They leave bumps behind the fabric – this may be more visible with fabrics that are thinner or more delicate
  • They get in the way of your stitches – this is especially true for chain stitch and french knots

Read about 2 types of starting embroidery knots here

Starting Embroidery Stitches

The good news is that starting embroidery without knots is actually really easy to do! Here are several methods you can use the next time you’re beginning your embroidery.

Away Waste Knot

away waste knot

This method involves a knot, but it’s only temporary! First you’ll tie a knot in the end of your embroidery floss and go through your fabric from the front, away from where you’ll be stitching. Make sure this knot is far enough away that it will leave a 2-3 inch tail when you cut it.

Start stitching, and when you’re finished, cut the knot and tuck the tail it leaves under the embroidery stitches to secure it.

Leave a Tail

how to start embroidery thread without a knot - leave a tail

Leave 2 to 3 inches of embroidery floss as a tail on the back of your work. This is the most common method I use if I’m not using a knot. Make sure to keep a firm hold on the tail of the floss as you’re starting your first few stitches. After you’ve made a few stitches, the thread will be secure enough that you can let go of the tail.

Once you’ve finished stitching, tuck or whip stitch the remaining tail under the embroidery stitches you made on the back of the embroidery.

Running Stitch Method

This last method only works if you plan to cover the area where you make these running stitches.

Make several running stitches and then cover with other embroidery stitches. This will hide the running stitches and also secure them so no knot is needed. You can just trim the tail that is left if necessary.

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