Hand Embroidery Floss and Thread

If you are going to create a cross-stitch picture, crewel work, cutwork or any other type of hand embroidery, then you will need embroidery floss. Choosing the right one can be confusing with so many different products available for embroiderers. You can consider several factors when selecting the right floss or thread for your project.

What is the difference between embroidery thread and floss?

Embroidery thread is meant for machine embroidery, so in general, it is not usually the choice made for hand embroidery. It comes on numbered spools and different size packs with larger numbers denoting thinner thread. Meanwhile, there are several types of filament and floss that you can choose from to create your hand needlework.

What are some different choices in floss?

There are many unique options including:

  • Embroidery floss: Six strands of thin thread are twisted together that can be used as one unit or separated depending on the look desired.
  • Pearl Cotton: Two strands of fiber are twisted together; this is sold in a variety of thicknesses ranging from three to 16 with lower numbers being very thin.
  • Cutwork Thread: Made of four inseparable plies, this filament provides a silky appearance.
  • Crochet cotton: This single-ply mercerized cotton filament is extremely strong.
  • Goldwork: This gold filament made of metal may be wrapped around a fiber core.
  • Memory thread: This is a fiber-wrapped metallic six-ply filament
  • Matte embroidery cotton: This five-ply filament is not meant to be untwisted.
  • Crewel yarn: This two-ply yarn is usually made of wool, but acrylic choices are available.
What are some common color patterns for floss?

There are almost 500 different colors of floss. Therefore, manufacturers often describe them as being of different forms, including:

  • Variegated: This floss contains many different hues of the same color in a single skein.
  • Light Effects: This embroidery thread comes in many different colors, but each one has a metallic finish built into it.
  • Satin: This is an embroidery thread with a highly-reflective sheen.
How do you buy thread for your project?
  • Select the right choice: Embroidery thread is for machine work while embroidery floss is for handwork. Pattern writers often hint at what will work best.
  • Select the right floss: From knitting yarn to pearl cotton, all types of floss can be used in needlework. Consider how bulky you want the finished project to be and how much shine you want it to have.
  • Select the color: Reds, yellows, blues, and greens are all available.
  • Select the amount: It is best to buy enough filament supplies to complete your project at one time because different dye lots can have a slightly different appearance.