I’ve seen cringe-worthy photos of tangled piles of embroidery floss, and I admit that I am not that person. Even before learning this tip, I stored my floss on a wooden dowel, hanging in its original skein. This looked pretty, but when it was time to actually use a strand, that’s when it became tricky. I’d have to take all of the skeins off the dowel and gently and painstakingly remove a thread a tiny tug at a time (yes, I’m nutty).

embroidery floss organization tip

Here’s a much better way.

Step 1:

Embroidery floss tutorial Step 1- Remove papers and unwind skein

Carefully remove the paper holding the skein together and untwist the skein.

Step 2:

Step 2- Extend floss

Extend the floss, holding the fully extended loop in your hands.

Step 3:

Step 3- Cut one end

Cut one end, cutting through all of the embroidery floss strands.

It should now look like this:

IMG_9732

Step 4:

Step 4- Divide into 3 equal sections

Divide the floss into three approximately equal sections. This doesn’t have to be perfect; I didn’t sit and count out the strands to make it perfect. If that’s your thing, then feel free to do so, but just eyeing it will be sufficient.

Step 5:

Step 5- Loosely braid (1)

Loosely braid the three sections together.  If you have a willing and capable helper, you could ask them to hold the looped end while you braid. My 2 1/2 year old was not willing today, so I used an “S” hook to hold the looped end while I braided. You can hook the “S” hook on just about anything, but I used the cuff of my jeans. Here’s a behind the scenes peek:

hook to cuff of pants to braid

Step 6:

Step 7-

Using a separate, short length of floss, tie a knot around the end of your braid to hold it in place.

Now you have your floss,  ready to hang in an aesthetically awesome, organized way, AND ready to go whenever you need a strand.

Here comes the really awesome part!

How To Remove a Strand of Floss from your Braid

Holding the top of your braid, gently pull one strand away from the rest of the loop.

removing strand of floss from braid

Then, get a bit better grasp on the rest of the braid—no need for a vice grip, just hold it steady as you pull out the single strand—and pull the strand out completely.

Pull strand of embroidery floss out of braidThe braid will bunch up when you pull, so don’t be alarmed. Once the single strand is out, just smooth out your braid again and you’re ready to go. Your floss is the perfect length for some hand quilting or embroidery, and the rest of your floss is sitting pretty in its braid.

Single thread removed from embroidery floss braid

Go ahead and braid all of your other skeins of floss, and you will never have a tangled pile of embroidery floss again!

Rainbow embroidery floss braids

I think this method is genius, since now not only is my floss gorgeously organized and displayed, but I can get a single strand without even taking the braid off the wooden dowel!

rainbow floss braids on wooden dowel

I just hold the braid right below the dowel, separate a single strand, pull, and viola! No muss, no fuss.

Many thanks to Rebecca for sharing this tip, and I hope you find it helpful, too.

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Kitty Wilkin

Kitty Wilkin

Night Quilter

Kitty is a stay at home mom of three littles, wife, sewist of quilts and other beautiful things, knitter, gardener, yogi, and all in all lover of life. With three little kids, her only sewing time is after bedtime. Check out her blog at NightQuilter.com.

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