When anyone starts a new project there is one question that plagues cross stitchers everywhere. How many skeins of thread do I need?
What makes this question even harder is it isn’t the same for everyone. You see, people stitch in different ways, and generally that means you can be more or less efficient. So we stitched one color in an efficient and inefficient way to get a scale of how many stitches you can make using a whole 8m skein of thread.
Inefficient vs Efficient Stitches
A few people have asked what make the difference between efficient and inefficient stitches, so to help you stitch more economically, here is what we did.
Inefficient – Stitched in the “English Method”, with knots in the starts of the threads and ends of threads. Shorter lengths of threads were used, and all threads were used till at least 2 inches were left.
Efficient – Stitched in the “Danish Method”, no knots in the start or end (thread ends tucked), long lengths of thread and only 1 inch left before ending the thread.
If you want to increase your stitching efficiency, you might want to read our post on how to cross stitch faster.
This Post Has 12 Comments
I saw that it was 2 strands. How would you adjust the number of stitches if you were using 3 strands?
It really shouldn’t make much difference to be honest. They way three threads twist around each other means it would be roughly the same as 2 strands.
I’m so thankful I found this explanation!!
I never comment on your blog but i read every newsletter i get!1 i just thought i should get on the Blog and say thank you so much for all your effort and for the great posts you make…
I am learning so much.
Very interesting experiment…! I have some questions, though. How many threads from the 6-ply floss did you use for this experiment, and what was the count per each X stitched (1 over 1, or 1 over 2, etc)? What exactly do you mean by “have knots in the starts of the threads”? Does that mean the thread was tangled which meant you had to cut parts out, or that knots were used to start and end individual pieces of thread? And, what was the average tail length for starting and finishing individual pieces of thread? I don’t know if some of those things were kept track of, but thought I’d ask. Thanks!
Lots of questions! Here we go…
How many threads from the 6-ply floss did you use for this experiment? – I used 2 strands for all stitching.
What was the count per each X stitched (1 over 1, or 1 over 2, etc)? – 1 over 1
What exactly do you mean by “have knots in the starts of the threads”? – Knots were used to start and end individual pieces of thread.
What was the average tail length for starting and finishing individual pieces of thread? – This varied between inefficient and efficient experiments. Efficient was reduced to as small as possible, which was about 1 inch. Inefficient had a 2 inch tail (which was used to knot the end)
Thanks so much for the info! That WAS an interesting experiment! It certainly helped me a great deal to see how much thread/floss/yarn can be saved by stitching as efficiently as possible, but also in trying to estimate how much might be needed to stitch designs I’m creating and thinking of creating myself… Greatly appreciate your blog! Thanks.
You know, I’ve always wondered about tension… I know, a tense topic – no pressure – ha ha. But, really, the tension with which individuals stitch – I tend to pull threads/floss/yarn a bit more tightly than others might. Although this yields a benefit in that I tend to use less thread/floss/yarn, I’ve also wondered if I use too much tension… Do you know of any experiments using different amounts of tension, and how the levels of tension affect the longer term “life” or “look” of the project, like if too much tension leads to a longer term “puckeriness” to the fabric that can’t be fixed, etc. I hope you understood that last sentence… Thanks!
The tension of the threads themselves isn’t much of a problem. Cotton (which is what DMC are made of) doesn’t stretch too far, so the tension is fairly standard across the whole length. However, if you use cheaper threads like CXC, they include polyester, which does stretch more.
Aida tension is the bigger issue though. If you make your aida nice and taut, you can increase the tension of the threads, and get more stitches out of the same length. Not by much though, 2 to 10 stitches per meter.
What’s the difference between efficient and inefficient stitches, as used in your chart?
Efficient stitches are stitched using the “Danish Method”.
Inefficient stitches are stitching using the “English Method”, have knots in the starts of the threads, and are made using shorter lengths of thread.
I found the explanation of Danish vs English interesting. I had heard the terms but didn’t the difference. I now know I stitch in the Danish method, mostly.