The Right End of the Floss

You may have read posts which talked about "the right end," or "the direction" of the thread. Let's talk about what it means and why you should or shouldn't care. Yes, this is another of those issues where the professionals disagree.

Here are condensed comments from the different schools of thought.

School 1: Floss has a right end, and the end matters.

  • The needle should be threaded with the right end. The stitches lie better, and knots are less likely to happen.
  • It is bad form to stitch without paying attention to thread direction.
  • Some people find it easier to separate a strand when it is removed from the right end. They have less problem with tangling.
  • The end that comes out of the skein first is the right end.
  • If the floss is already cut, hold the two ends in one hand, between the thumb and forefinger. Allow about one half inch from each end to stick up. Now tap lightly down onto both ends at once with your other forefinger. The end that spreads more, or "blossoms" is the "right" end.
  • To find the right end for a single strand of floss, hold it up and run it between your thumb and forefinger. The direction that feels smoother is the right direction, and the top is the right end.

School 2: Floss has a right end, and the end doesn't matter.

  • If it takes a magnifying glass to see the difference in the stitches, keeping track of the right end of the thread is a waste of time.
  • The loop method of starting stitches (where by definition one strand is the right way and one the wrong) can help keep the back of the picture neat.

School 3: Floss does not have a right end.

  • The big floss manufacturers claim that their floss does not have a nap, and therefore does not have a right end.
  • Modern processing methods result in flosses and yarns which do not have a right end.
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