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Braided Thread Tutorial


  02:51:00 am, by Airycat   , 720 words  
Categories: Tutorials

Braided Thread Tutorial

I was asked about how I keep my DMC floss in braids and thought I'd do this tutorial to show how I do it.

This is something I learned in a cross stitch class a long, long time ago. So long ago that I don't remember exactly when, where or who the teacher was. I prefer this to using the winding bobbins because a.) the thread is ready to use after you pull it out and b.) I think it looks pretty! :DD

  1. First it helps to know how long your thread is. Mine is 9 yards or 324 inches.

  2. Then you decide how long you want your threads to be. I chose 18" because it divided evenly, but it seems a bit short. Alternately you could simply decide how long you want your threads to be and see how it works into the total length. It may end up wasting less thread to have one shorter length of 6 strands. I think this is how I actually did most of mine.

  3. ('11/10/01) EDIT: Another way to measure is to hold the end of the thread between your thumb and finger and pull the thread to your elbow  (or measure from your thumb tip to your elbow).  This is about the length of thread you should use to stitich.  

  4. Measure out the lengths either along a ruler, as I did, or by wrapping it around a cardboard or other item of the right length. My threads didn't come out exactly the same length, but if I had wrapped it around something they probably would have.

  5. You need something to hold the thread. I prefer these little rings, but any sturdy, closed item would work.

  6. Put the thread through the ring halfway.

  7. Then snip all the loops at the ends.

  8. Don't forget to slide the wrapper with the color number back onto the thread! But only on one side.

  9. Divide the thread into three sections and braid.

  10. It will look like this (more or less).

  11. You can then slip the ring onto a binder ring.

    You can see here how the braids hold the color number papers in place at the top.

  12. Selecting thread to use: Use your needle to pick out a single strand of thread. With it under the thread, pull until one end (or both) are completely out of the braid. Because of the direction of the twist of the fibers, one end usually (but not always) will come out first. It's best to keep the fibers all in the same direction, so pay attention to that when you pull out more than one strand.

  13. Dont the braids look pretty hanging with my ribbons?

  14. I also will put the binder rings on another binder ring to keep them all together when I'm carrying them.
  15. (In my case, "carrying them" usually meant when I moved, but the idea is if you take them to a class or stitching group.)
    You can also take specific little rings off the binder rings (I try to keep them in numerical order) and put them on a separate binder ring for a specific project.


This is the first tutorial I have ever written. I have tried to be very clear, but if I haven't been clear enough, please let me know exactly what isn't clear and I will be more specific or do whatever I need to clarify.


My floss:
This skein of embroidery floss is very old! I went digging through some drawers to find it. You can tell by the price! (See pictures in steps 7 & 8.) Also, it's not DMC. I think it's American Thread Co.

Why we want to keep our fibers going in the same direction: If we have two threads in a needle and their fibers are going in opposite directions, it creates friction between them. This will cause one thread to become shorter as you stitch. I presume it's bunching up, however minutely, in each pass through the fabric. This can affect how the thread lies and the look of the project.

Ideally, DMC would make little rings with the numbers already on them, but since the bobbins seem to be the more popular method of keeping thread, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them. The papers do hold up pretty well at the top of the braid.


Comment from: Gloria [Visitor]

Great idea and an easy to follow tutorial. Many thanks for making this tut and sharing it.

10/10/11 @ 09:46
Comment from: Marilyn Perkins [Visitor]
Marilyn Perkins

This is a great idea and very clearly explained. Thanks for the explanation of why to keep the fibres going the same way. I have been wondering why my threads did not stay the same length - now I know. Thanks for sharing

12/14/11 @ 14:58
Comment from: Colleen [Visitor]

I keep about half of my threads and fibers hung on a curtain rod right above my stitching table. The rest I keep in little drawers. I keep 2 tea towels hanging over the threads I have hanging to keep the dust off them. They are never in any direct sun either. I love being able to see the threads.

10/17/12 @ 08:50
Comment from: Trudi [Visitor]

This was very clearly written and very helpful–both how you store the thread, and also the caution to keep the fibers aligned in the same direction. Thank you for sharing.

01/15/13 @ 15:26
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