Two hands working on a cross stitch project featuring pink flowers and a big knot
Two hands working on a cross stitch project featuring pink flowers and a big knot

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Knots happen, it’s just part of the process of creating fiber art. But don’t toss that project out the window just yet! There are ways to fix knots, and to prevent them.

Watch this quick video to learn more, or keep reading.

Play Video

Get the “Stay the Fuck Home” cross stitch pattern here.

Why Knots and Tangles Happen

This is the #1 problem for new stitchers . And it still happens to me sometimes!

Every time you pull the needle through the fabric, it twists just a little. This can’t be helped, it’s just the way our arms and hands work with any type of embroidery. This causes the thread to curl and twist in on itself. And if you don’t untwist it, the floss will soon become tangled up in a tight knot. 

Fix It

Let Go

For thread that twists and tangles, every few stitches, let go of the needle and let it hang. The thread will naturally untwist. Let it stop before you resume stitching.

Work It

For a knot, remove the needle from the embroidery floss and work it between the threads of the knot to try to undo it. If the knot won’t come out, you’ll need cut it.

If the knot has strangely formed a little loop, this is a slip-knot. Try this:

Blue embroidery thread in a knot that formed a loop.
1. Embroidery floss forms a loop while stitching
Tapestry needle is pushed through a loop formed by blue embroidery thread in a looped knot
2. Place the needle through the loop
Tapestry needle placed through loop in blue embroidery thread pulled tight away from project
3. PULL the needle away from the project and the loop slips, becoming smaller
Blue embroidery floss forms a tiny loop over a knot.
4. Remove the needle from the loop. The loop is tiny.
5. Place knot between thumbnail and fingertip, squeeze and PULL until …
6. The loop slips out and the knot is removed.

Prevent It

The floss may be too long

Trim your floss so that it is roughly the length of your arm from your elbow to the tip of your fingers. Shorter threads twist less and form fewer knots.

Using More Than One Thread

If you are using more than one thread, separate all of the threads one at a time before putting them back together and threading your needle. Watch this quick video about how to do this without tangles here.

Play Video
 

With these techniques, you should have fewer knots to wrestle with and more time for stitching.

If you have a problem and you need help, please contact me. I’m here for you. 💙

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