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How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

Most embroidery floss skeins, like those produced by DMC, are called pull skeins. They are designed so that when one end is pulled (slowly and carefully), the floss will come come out of the skein without getting tangled.

Sounds great, right? The problem is, if you pull the wrong end, instead of being knot free, your skein will end up a big 'ole tangled mess.

Here's how to pull floss from a skein the right way.

Notice that on a skein of DMC floss there are two labels: a smaller one at the top that has the DMC logo, and a larger one at the bottom printed with the color number and barcode. One end of the thread can be found at the top of the skein, and the other at the bottom.

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

Here's the key. When pulling floss from a skein, always pull the end that sticks out from the longer, bottom label. This is the end that is designed to pull out without knotting. Sometimes this end sticks out and is easy to find, other times you need to go digging for it among the loops at the end of the skein. Finding it is always worth the effort.

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

Pull the length you need, and then cut. Leave a little tail so you can find the end again when you need more thread. You can also pull the whole skein out to wind on a thread bobbin if you want.

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

It helps to pull the thread slowly and watch for any tangles. Occasionally loops in the skein can get twisted, and will knot if you pull too quickly. If you pull slowly, you can see any twists or tangled up loops and pick them apart before the whole skein becomes a knotted mess.

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

Different embroidery floss manufacturers make and label skeins in different ways, so if using something other than DMC, you may need to experiment to figure out which end pulls without tangling. The good news is once you discover which end to use, it should be the same for every skein in that line.

Want more cross stitch tips and tricks? Check out all our projects and tutorials here

How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting

25 Responses

Marny CA

Marny CA

October 06, 2020

I learned this quite a while ago, along with the fact that floss has a ‘grain’ and to use the yarn in the correct direction when stitching. It will cause less friction, which can wear away the thread.

Shauna

Shauna

June 28, 2020

Thank you so much! Spent so much time untangling knots.

Diane Skelton

Diane Skelton

April 11, 2020

Like others who have posted, I’m thanking you for this great tip.

Helene Fagerquist

Helene Fagerquist

March 28, 2020

I pill out the embroidery yarn, grabbing the 2 ends and measure out approximately 2ft , fold that length back and forth to the end. Cut both ends and make a short braid in the middle and pass one end through the middle of the braid. I have used this method for 75 years. Never any mess.

Pam

Pam

February 04, 2020

There used to be a picture on the long paper end showing you how to remove the thread correctly.
I am amazed that nobody ever discusses determining the grain of the thread – if the thread is pulled out properly from the long end it will be on grain. If the thread is on grain when you pull it through your fingers it will feel smooth and if it’s not it will feel rough. When pulling out individual threads (blossoming) it is important to keep it on grain when putting the thread back together for stitching. You will also notice the thread doesn’t pull apart or shorten when pulling through your fabric if it’s on grain.

Carolyn

Carolyn

January 27, 2020

Seems like I’m in the same boat as everyone else, I didn’t know that either, and oh over the years I’ve had some brilliant tangles to sort out. Thought it went with the territory and to be put up with. Won’t any more though. Thanks for the tip!

Sandy Martin

Sandy Martin

October 05, 2019

FINALLY! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS INFORMATION since 1957!
I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH

Elaine Blake

Elaine Blake

October 05, 2019

Good to know! I have been stitching for many years and never knew this. Thanks for being a great resource.

Norma Karr

Norma Karr

August 04, 2019

Thank you so much for sharing this tip. I can’t wait to try it! I have tangled lots of skeins over the years!

Colette

Colette

March 11, 2019

You made my day!!!!! I have been stitching for many many years and never knew this. If you next to me you would ONE GREAT HUG!!!!!! I am trying it today.
I will make sure I read you more often.
And I thought I knew it all…….!!! Have a super day. Colette

Vicki

Vicki

February 06, 2019

I’ve never known why one skein was easier to unravel, as I have cardboard bobbins to wind my threads on. So, thanks for the solution!

Firoza

Firoza

January 12, 2019

Thanks so much for that tip! I’m 63 and retired and enjoy embroidering tea towels. Can’t wait to try that out.

Shannon Dye

Shannon Dye

November 29, 2018

My grandmother explained to remove the paper wrap and put the whole thread pkg over one wrist through the pkg center. Start with the end of the floss from either end if you do remember to be sure this is non twisted over your wrist……. it works every time…..

Sheri Lyn

Sheri Lyn

November 13, 2018

I, too, didn’t know that. I cannot wait to do this!! I’m 63 and have been really stitching since I was 19.

Cheryl

Cheryl

November 09, 2018

Thank you so much. I have spent more time in my life than I care to remember unknotting embroidery thread. I am very grateful for the time you are saving me in the future.

Ina-Jean

Ina-Jean

November 08, 2018

I am 71 years old and have been using DMC for more than 50 years and I did not know that. Thank you for the great tip. You have just made my life a tiny bit easier. Thank you again.

Sandy Martin

Sandy Martin

August 02, 2018

THANK YOU! I have been doing NP for well over 50 years, and NEVER could remember which end to pull 😖. LOGO-end for DMC (which is ALL I’ve ever used!). THANK U😍

Judy P

Judy P

June 10, 2018

Now if we could just get the yarn companies to do the same!

bea

bea

May 15, 2018

Great to know, never knew this and had all these tangled threads. Happy stitching

Janette Hernandez

Janette Hernandez

April 26, 2018

Count me among those who didn’t know. I have some very old DMC floss and one of the paper bands actually says to “pull from this end.” Wonder why they discontinued making it?

Cherry Green

Cherry Green

April 23, 2018

I’m 58 and didn’t know that! I’ve been a textile teacher all my life too. Thanks for the advice.

Diana

Diana

April 15, 2018

Tthanks. This is my favorite craft since a little girl .Never knew this. I also like to pull thread through bobbin of wax.

Diane Cotter

Diane Cotter

April 11, 2018

I didn’t know that ….. thanks for sharing that great tip!

Marla

Marla

April 09, 2018

I am 68 a nd did not know this

Angela Smith

Angela Smith

April 04, 2018

Awesome! I never knew that and I always ended up with a giant mess.

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