Stitch Craft Create Blog

Avoiding Pesky Thread Knots

Hello all you sewists out there!

Today, I’m coming to you with some ideas, tricks and troubleshooting techniques for avoiding and removing thread knots. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite as irritating as getting a knot in the middle of your thread length while binding a quilt, applying an applique, embroidering, etc. So here are some tricks to avoiding and eliminating those pesky knots!

Try using a thread conditioner. 

There are lots of benefits to using a good thread conditioner like Thread Heaven (shown here), one of which is that it reduces tangling and fraying. It has the look and feel of wax, but is slippery on the thread, not sticky, so it also reduces drag, making sewing less tiresome for your hands, wrists and arms.
Thread Heaven

I keep the lid “hinged” with a piece of sturdy tape, so I never lose it.
Cut a length of thread, hold it against the top of the product,
and pull it through. A little goes a long way!

Use the thread in the same direction as how it was rolled onto the spool.

This is a little trick I learned from Charlene Phillips in The Sewing Machine Classroom. Because of the twisted stranding, thread does have a direction. The way you pull it off the spool is the way it is meant to be used. In other words, the end that comes off the spool first should go through the eye of your needle; the end that comes off last should have the knot.


Use the tip of your needle to open up the knot.

As soon as you see a knot has formed, gently try to work the tip of your needle into the knot. You can possibly open it up enough to pull the knot out.

Some knots are really just snags: try the roll method or the pull method. 

If you can’t find an opening with your needle, try rolling the knot out to the end of the thread by squeezing it between your thumb and forefinger. Or pull quickly on either side of the thread to jerk the snag out.

Happy Stitching!

Kelly is proud to be an editor for F+W Craft. She’s also a quilter, blogger, sister, daughter, best friend, sewist, fabric hoarder, travel enthusiast, unpaid theatre critic, tap dancer, piano player and cupcake baker from Cincinnati, Ohio. Kelly loves all things quilted and stitchy, and enjoys sharing her creative process here and at Stitchy Quilt Stuff.

3 thoughts on “Avoiding Pesky Thread Knots

  1. Your tip for threading the needle is only true if the thread you are using is hand sewing thread. If the thread you are using is machine sewing thread (aka most thread you buy these days) then you should thread the end you cut through the eye of the [hand sewing] needle. I learned this years ago from a thread manufacturer. It really works!

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