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Cross Stitch Thread
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Cross Stitch Thread

There is a large range of cross stitch threads available today. Choosing the right colour and type of thread can greatly enhance any cross stitch design.

Cross stitch thread or floss is made up of six strands altogether. Anchor and DMC are two of the most commonly available, popular and good quality stranded cotton brands on the market today.

As a guide, cutting the threads into approximately 18" (1/2 metre) lengths is suggested. This length of thread is ideal as it is less likely to tangle and get caught on the fabric. Note that many cross stich kits now supply thread in pre-cut lengths for you.

Stranded Cotton

Stranded cotton is the most commonly used thread for working counted or stamped cross stitch on to the background fabric. DMC, Ancor and Madeira all produce excellent stranded cottons in every colour imaginable. Stranded cottons are bought by the skein - each skein containing 8 metres of mercerised six-stranded cotton. The mercerisation process is a procedure where the cross stitch thread is treated giving it a polished sheen-like silk.

Flower Threads

Flower threads, produced by DMC and the Danish Handcraft Guild, are made from 100% cotton are non-divisible. Whilst stranded cottons have a lustrous finish, flower thread, on the other hand, has a matt finish and is suitable when a softer effect mught be desired.

Metallic Thread

Metallic thread can be used to add glitter and interest to a cross stitch design. Crewel wools are not used for traditional cross stitch, but interesting effects can be achieved if you are feeling adventurous.

How Many Strands of Thread?

Usually the cross stitch pattern you are working with will tell you how many strands of cross stitch thread you will need for each particular stitch or colour. Basically, the number of threads detailed will be sufficient to give good coverage of the fabric but not so many that they will distort the holes.

As a general rule, for 10 - 13 cross stitches to 1 inch (2.5 cm), use three strands of stranded cotton. For 14 - 18 cross stitches to 1 inch (2.5 cm), use two strands of stranded cotton. Back stitch and French knots are generally worked with one strand only.

Thread Storage

Storing your cross stitch threads in an organised and efficient manner will enable you to see and select threads at a glance. There are many methods of thread storage, ranging from cards with holes punched in them to hold cut skeins, storage boxes with cards to wrap thread around, aling with sophisticated thread organisers that store threads in plastic pockets which are then housed in a binder. Whichever method you choose, storing your threads carefully will ensure that they are clean and tangle free.


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