Hand Sewing with 6-stranded Floss


I’ve been hand sewing since I was a little girl. My grandma spent hours patiently teaching me running stitch, satin stitch, and French knots. Even after learning to sew at a young age, it took me longer than Id like to admit to find the ideal length of thread to sew with and how to best stitch with more than two strands of floss at a time.

In the August/September 2017 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine Lynn Krawczyk teaches us easy hand sewing skills in her article titled “Let’s Learn Simple Hand Stitching.” Here is an excerpt from the article I found particularly interesting with tips for using (and managing) 6-stranded thread:

Using 6-stranded floss

The samples for this article were all made using 6-stranded cotton embroidery floss. This thread is a staple in my stitching because it offers an incredible amount of control over the weight of the stitch. Do you want super thin stitches? No problem, use one strand. Want lots of dimension with yummy texture? Use all six strands at once. Most commonly I use two or three strands of floss. This gives the effect of size 5 to 8 perle cotton thread.

Tips for Working With 6-stranded Floss

  • Cut a length of floss 12″–18″ long. Short thread lengths reduce tangling and wear when stitching.
  • Always separate the strands before stitching, even if you are using all six strands. The strands are held together with a light twist so unless you separate them, you have no control over how flat your stitches lie. To separate the strands, pinch one end lightly between your forefinger and thumb. Pull the strand from the length and allow the remaining strands to bunch up behind the pinch point as you separate it from the others. Repeat for as many strands as you are using.
  • Sometimes, even when you’ve used a short length of floss, you can get slipknots in your thread while stitching. If this happens, don’t panic. Set your project down, put the tip of the needle through the loop, and gently pull on one side of the thread. If the knot does not budge, pull the other side. The knot will often release.

With helpful hints for beginners and experts alike, you won’t want to miss reading this hand stitching article by Lynn in its entirety. With your copy of Quilting Arts Magazine August/September 2017 you’ll also be able to explore free motion quilting text and texture from Ana Buzzalino, learn to embellish on the go, and how to make a travel journal quilt. Or better yet, subscribe to Quilting Arts so you never miss an upcoming issue brimming with inspiration.

Happy quilting!

Want to learn more common hand embroidery stitches? Check out this video from Quilting Arts TV.


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