You’ve finished stitching an area – or maybe you’re almost out of floss on your needle.
You know you can’t just snip the ends and keep going – all your hard work will come undone.
So maybe a knot? That’ll keep your cross stitches locked down, right?
Nope – stop right there! Repeat after me, “I will not knot. I will not knot. I will not knot.”
Ending floss is actually really easy.
If you use knots you’re working too hard – plus creating more work for yourself later!
At the end of the post, I explain why I’m so against knots – it might knot be what you think!
Puns always intended.
other names for this technique
This post covers a method that’s often referred to as “burying the threads.” I’ve also seen it called burying the tail, too.
This way of ending floss works really well in nearly all situations, plus it’s quick and easy. It’s my go-to.
Planning on stitching along with this tutorial?
Here’s what you’ll wanna grab: your project with at least 5 completed cross stitches in a row/column + a threaded needle, and scissors
ending floss in 5 steps
- Flip to the back
- Go under stitches
- Pull through
- Cut floss
- Clean up
This super useful graphic illustrates all the steps + keep scrolling for more details!
step 1: flip it over
Easy win, right from the start!
All you gotta do is flip your project over.
We’re only working on the back for this tutorial.
Your needle and thread should be hanging from the back side.
If they’re on the front, this might mean you need to finish your last stitch.
step 2: go under nearby stitches
Find the stitches closest to your needle + floss.
Usually these are the ones you just completed, but not always.
Put your needle underneath 2 – 5 nearby stitches, going between the floss and the fabric.
It might take a try or two – that’s okay! It can take practice.
step 3: pull needle through
Guide your needle under those stitches and tighten the floss down.
There are times where you might find it’s really hard to get the widest part of the needle through your stitches. Try wiggling the needle and/or pushing it from the end with the eye.
Once it’s through, make sure your floss has been pulled tight.
But not so tight that you warp any of the stitches on the front of your project!
You can take a deep breath now – the floss is secure!
step 4: cut floss
Take your needle off the thread.
(And set it somewhere safe! You don’t wanna lose it, only to step on it later!)
Grab the scissors and carefully snip the end of the floss.
You want to be very close to the fabric and your stitching here.
But obviously, you don’t want to cut either your Aida or your hard work!
If this step stresses you out, your scissors might be to blame!
Embroidery scissors have smaller tips – and a decent pair is less than $10!
step 5: clean up loose threads
I know some people will think that this step isn’t worth mentioning, but I disagree.
Clean up the threads you just cut off.
I don’t care what you do with them – just remove them from your project.
Those pieces of floss like to cling to the back. And it’s really easy to stitch over them without noticing.
When that happens, you’ll end up with odd colors poking through the front of your project. Or tangled messes that snag your floss every time you try to take a stitch. Teeny, tiny strands of floss can cause big headaches!
Either way, it only takes a second to make sure you grab that scrap piece.
And that’s it – your floss is secured, snipped and all tidied up!
are knots really that bad?
I’m sure you’ve seen it everywhere – NO KNOTS.
It’s cross stitch + embroidery law, right? Thou shalt not knot.
Honestly, I’m usually the first one to throw the “cross stitch rules” out the window.
But, I’m telling you to keep this rule because it’s not rooted in perfectionism.
Sure, many people will tell you that avoiding knots when starting or ending floss keeps the back of your project “prettier.”
It’s the back, people! It’s not mean to be seen. It can be hideous and it. doesn’t. matter.
there’s a smidge of truth there though…
What they might mean is that it keeps your back neater. This is actually true.
But it’s only important when you think about it a step further.
When the back of your project has less knots, it’s easier on YOU.
Less knots means you’re less likely to get your floss tangled and produce more (unintentional) knots. And when you can avoid tangles, you’re not getting stressed out by a hobby that’s supposed to be relaxing and fun.
Also, knots can pull through to the front as you stitch, since Aida is made up of holes, after all.
Ultimately, ending floss using this method (and not knots!) ends up saving time and energy.
Not only is it super fast, but it’ll save you all the potential time lost from dealing with epic floss knot clusters of doom.
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