How to thread an embroidery needle?
If you are an embroidery freak, you already know how to respond to this question.
But if you are a novice, it’s a good idea you hear us up!
This article reveals the right way of tackling this potentially frustrating part of your embroidery undertaking.
As mentioned in Erin Frisch Studio,
“Splitting your floss, threading your needle, and stretching the fabric of your hoop aren’t the most flashy topics in creating embroidery.”
Yet, someone has to do it!
Mastering these skills will not only make embroidering easier while you are doing it. Nailing the foundational steps of the embroidery magic will also show in your finished pieces.
Table of Contents
Separating embroidery thread
Before breaking down how to thread a needle for embroidery, make sure to gather essential embroidery supplies:
- embroidery needle,
- a fresh cut of embroidery thread or floss, and
- needle threader (optionally);
And since it comprises six strands of thread, you can divide it. This way, you can use it for your project exactly how you want, with as many as six options to experiment with. Separating a thread is also called stripping.
Image source: Jenny Lemons
To sum it up, you can:
- Thread your needle with all six strands of floss—for example, in needlepoint, or
- Separate your floss and use only individual strands, for instance:
- one strand for lines and delicate work, such as a needle painting;
- two strands for cross stitch,
depending on the desired effect.
Read “Needle Painting—A simple guide to get started” on Sew Guide if you are curious about this technique.
Image source: Sew Guide
Using all six strands together will lead to making great chunky lines.
On the other hand, separating strands will allow you to stitch with varying thicknesses and open the door to alternative, often very appealing outcomes.
Here is “Separating embroidery floss strands” explained in the brief video by Needlework Tips:
One handy tip from The Spruce Crafts is only separate stranded threads designed for splitting.
Don’t do it with twisted threads, such as
- Perle cotton,
- floche (you can get it from Needle Point Joint), and
- novelty thread;
Image source: YouTube
The Spruce Crafts suggests separating strands following the steps below:
- To separate stranded cotton floss (we also write about the types of cotton fabric), cut a piece about the length of your forearm,
- Now, tap the end to identify individual strands,
- Separate from the main floss as many strands as you need, and hold the split end in one hand,
- Draw a finger on your other hand down the thread until you divide it,
- When you reach the end, let the groups of a thread untwist;
Are you still pondering: “How Many Strands Should I Use?”. Mary Corbet from the Needle N Thread dispels all doubts.
Image source: Needle N Thread
Threading embroidery needle
Cross stitch and embroidery needles have larger eyes than needles designed for sewing or quilting, but it’s not entirely good news (in case you expect the process to be easier).
All things considered, tackling how to thread embroidery floss is just as challenging as regular threading.
You can thread an embroidery needle with and without a threader.
Let’s start with the easier option.
Threading needle for embroidery with a needle threader
Some other embroidery supplies you may want to get familiar with are
A needle threader is built of a minuscule metal or plastic wire with an even smaller hook at one end.
Image source: Blog Treasurie
Use it following these few simple steps:
|What to do
|Insert the needle threader’s tiny hook into the needle’s eye.
Place the end of the embroidery floss (or a separated strand) through the needle threader’s hook (also known as a loop).
If you use a thicker type of embroidery thread, such as Perle cotton or all the strands of stranded cotton, work it through gently—you don’t want to tug the wire loop off of a basic threader.
|After you place the thread inside the hook, pull the hook back through the eye.
If you have difficulties threading a needle by hand, this holy savior of all stitching crafters is for you!
As Blog Treasurie accurately puts it:
“If you find yourself squinting at the eye of a needle or searching for your reading glasses and still squinting at the eye of a needle (that’s me!), then perhaps it’s time to consider the fancy little gadget that came with the last packet of needles you bought.”
With the video instructions below, you can’t fail to tackle “How to thread an embroidery needle with a threader.” You will also learn how to tie embroidery thread, as it’s another skill worth tailoring:
A comprehensive guide through a needle threader waits to be discovered at Blog Treasurie.
Image source: Sew4Home
Threading needle for embroidery without a needle threader
But what if a needle threader is out of stock in your domestic embroidery kingdom?
Threading the needle can be a source of anxiety for beginners—remarks Erin Frisch Studio.
Our other source, Sew4Home, calls a no-needle-threader method “For Eagle Eyes.”
Yet, according to The Spruce Crafts,
“as long as you have a needle eye facing the right direction, you can do it without relying on strong eyesight.”
All in all, if you have a needle threader, using it will most likely save you some time and effort.
Image source: Craft Buds
An exciting hack comes from an experienced crafter, Thread Unraveled:
Instead of tackling how to use embroidery floss by putting all six strands through the needle’s eye, separate the floss and thread only three strands at once.
See more on her channel:
Now, with the help of a few expert embroidery authors, let’s go through the step-by-step guide on our core issue: how to insert thread in embroidery needle.
|What to do
|Choose the right embroidery thread
Remember that different types of threads—not only the number of strands you apply to your project—produce different results.
|Cut the thread
Cut the thread to the specified size.
It helps to start with freshly snipped thread cut with sharp embroidery scissors—suggests The Spruce Crafts, especially if you find that your thread is uneven or unraveled.
|Choose the right embroidery needle
The “Top 5 Needles for Hand Embroidery,” according to Tigley Textiles, are
Regarding the size, Erin Frisch Studio recommends that every crafter make their life easier by choosing a needle with a giant eye, a No. 1 embroidery needle. As the number goes higher, needles get smaller. A No. 5 embroidery needle is the smallest recommended by the same author.
All set to start threading?
It looks like we’ve got everything.
Here is the threading challenge approached in steps:
|What to do
|Wet the thread
In this mysterious stage of wetting the thread, some embroiderers will use water, and others will give the end of the thread a quick lick. Either way, you know what to do.
The idea (whether it’s saliva or water) is to hold the different strands in the floss together. Also, rumors about this microscopic amount of liquid rusting your needles aren’t scientifically proven.
If wetting isn’t helpful enough, and you still struggle to thread the needle this way, try coating the end with a bit of beeswax or thread conditioner.
|Hold the end of the thread
Now, you take your thread in your hands and put it inside the needle’s eye.
Hold the end of the thread between your thumb and index finger on your dominant hand so that you can barely see it.
Bring the eye of the needle to the thread, use an acute angle of about 45 degrees, and, still squeezing the floss between your fingers, push the thread through the eye of a needle.
|Pull the thread
Push a bit more and finish by pulling the thread through the needle from the other side.
Don’t stress if it all doesn’t come out smoothly at first!
Learning how to thread embroidery thread is just a necessary part of the process. One to tackle and forget it was ever an issue.
Image source: Needle N Thread
And what do you want? At this point, all you need are Super Label Store’s
A list of people who will benefit from these professional labels is long:
- DIY/clothing crafters at home,
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and others who want to customize their textile, clothing (do you know all types of clothes you can work on), towels, sheets, and accessories.
How to knot embroidery thread
Opinions regarding how to start embroidery needle experience on your embroidery fabric are divided.
In “How To Start And Finish Your Embroidery Thread” on Polka Dots N Blooms, Heidi writes that “traditionally using knots to start and finish your embroidery thread is a big no-no.”
Image source: Polka Dots N Blooms
According to the author, you should instead start:
- with a holding stitch,
- with a waste knot,
- with a reverse holding stitch, or
- by weaving the thread;
Read “How to Start and End an Embroidery Thread Without Knots” on The Spruce Crafts.
Image source: The Spruce Crafts
So, what is the problem with knots?
Knots are unnecessary in any embroidery project because there are many alternative and more aesthetic ways to secure the ends.
You want to avoid making the backside of a project untidy and bumpy and remove a distasteful tail.
Knots can also appear harmful to your project when they unravel with use or laundering, causing your ideally tailored rose embroidery to lose precious stitches over time.
On the other hand, the best way to start a thread is with a knot, but these are temporary knots, such as away knots and waste knots.
Image source: Pinterest
Yet, there is no pressure to choose alternatives to knots that are unknown to you.
Just tie a basic sewer’s knot onto the end of your thread, and don’t worry that you aren’t the most innovative crafter. You don’t have to be.
It’s OK to go for the method that you are most comfortable with.
The only thing to have in mind is how you will use a ready piece of embroidery and how those knots will look from the front.
Image source: Embellished Elephant
The quick instruction for forming a knot is making a teardrop shape at the end of a thread, wrapping the end of the thread under and through the teardrop, and then pulling it tight.
If you are sewing with
- Six strands of thread—a single knot should suffice,
- Smaller amounts of thread—make a double or triple knot to ensure that your thread will not pull out the back when you start stitching;
Image source: WikiHow
Tying the knot the best way, here we come:
- Hold the thread between your thumb and index finger.
- Wrap a loop of thread completely around the tip of your opposite index finger (close to the base of your fingernail).
- Close your thumb over the loop.
- Keep the thread taut and use your thumb to roll the loop towards the end of your index finger.
- As it slides off, step on the loop with your middle finger and hold while you pull the thread into a tight knot.
For pictures of the process above, go to Sew4Home, and if you are hungry for more stitching-related knowledge, click on
Image source: Craftsy