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6 Ways to Keep Your Embroidery Thread Tangle-Free

One of the biggest bugbears in embroidery is when your embroidery thread knots and tangles. Am I right?! There is nothing more frustrating than peacefully stitching your project, to then spend 10 minutes plus untangling the dreaded knot that’s appeared in your thread.

Do you want to know how to keep your thread tangle-free both before and whilst stitching? Here are 3 ways to keep it tangle free whilst storing, and 3 ways to prevent knots whilst stitching.


There are things you can do even before you start stitching that will help you to keep your thread tangle-free!


Bobbin Wind Technique

When storing your embroidery thread, it is better to store it wound onto bobbins rather than leaving it in full skeins. This can help with preventing tangles between different skeins of threads, and also prevents the thread knotting in the skein. As well as this, it also helps you to be super organised with your growing thread collection because you can colour code the bobbins.


Thread Organiser Boxes

Aaaand whilst we’re on the topic of keeping your thread organised, you can get super handy storage boxes to store those wound bobbins of thread! You can also organise them into colour families or by thread number, whatever system works best for you. And the plus side, it helps them safe in small sections so that they can’t get unwound easily, which results in less tangles too. Yay!



Single Thread Method

If you’re separating thread, pull out each thread one at a time. Even if you’re using 6 strands of thread in your project, I would still advise to separate the strands first, and then put them back together again.

If for example you’re using 3 strands, to prevent tangles in the thread whilst splitting, pull out 1 strand at a time rather than all 3. Hold the thread loosely between your thumb and forefinger and pinch out one strand and pull. Do this for each thread, and then put them back together again. Now you’re ready to thread your needle and get to stitching!

So, what can you do whilst stitching to prevent the thread knotting?


Pulling Thread From The Skein

One key tip is to pay attention to the direction you pull the thread straight from the skein. Specifically for DMC skeins of thread, there is a certain technique to prevent tangling! Pulling the thread from the bottom of the DMC skein (the end with the numbers) will allow the thread to unravel with its’ natural twist, making it much less likely to tangle.


Thread Length

Using the correct length of thread can go a long way to prevent knotting and tangling whilst you’re stitching. The longer the thread length, the more likely it is to twist up and get caught amongst itself when pulling through the fabric, which can ultimately lead to knots and tangles.

Keeping your thread around 18-24 inches (or around the length from your fingers to your elbow) is the optimum length to minimise the risk of tangling, and it’s also much easier to work with!




Untwist The Thread

Every few stitches, pause what you’re doing and allow the thread to untwist itself. You can do this by just allowing the needle and thread to hang from the hoop. Whilst this may not seem like it’s doing anything, it helps to untwist the thread.

Whilst stitching the thread naturally twists up, and sometimes the odd strand can get a bit caught which is what can create the knots in the thread. Allowing it to hang freely every now and then gives the thread the chance to naturally unwind.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Do they work for you? Let me know in the comments how you try to minimise knotting whilst you’re embroidering!

And if you’d like any further tips and tricks, have you checked out our Free Top Tips for Beginners E-Book?


Happy stitching!

1 comment


I am so happy to find you. I love all your work, designs, tips and support. I look forward to hanging out with you.


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about sophie

Hey there! I'm an artist, mama, author and online educator who is obsessed with helping other women re-claim their time and creativity through modern embroidery.

Kick off your shoes, get cosy, and let's dive in to the world of embroidery, shall we?