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Embroidery floss, a thread composed of six loosely-twisted strands, has long been available in cotton, silk, and rayon, the last of which has the most sheen. Linen floss is rarer, and a new addition to some product lines; it is of particular use for making authentic period costumes. Embroidery floss is available in a wide range of solid colors, and some fibers are available in variegated colors as well.
Novelty Floss. Besides being available in different fibers, embroidery floss, like knitting yarn, has a range of novelty offerings. Metallic floss, in which metallic fiber is blended with viscose, is one, but there are also fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark flosses available, for example.
Length and Width. Floss may be used as purchased, or one or more strands may be separated to create thread of various thicknesses. Strands are generally size 25 on the thread system, on which the number gets higher as the thread gets thinner. The two standard lengths for skeins are 8.7 yards (~8 m) per skein and 10 meters (10.9 yd.) per skein.
Stitching. Embroidery floss is used for embroidery on fabric, such as cross-stitch, huck embroidery, miniature punch-needle embroidery, and so on, as you’d expect. It’s also used for embroidering in scrapbooks and on lampshades. Other needlecrafts that may employ it include needlepoint and crochet, and one can use this thread for appliqué as well.
Knotting. Several crafts use knotted embroidery floss. Some crafters, for example, like to use it to tie their quilts, an application that combines stitching and tying, often using a surgeon’s knot or a double-twist square not. Embroidery floss is recommended as lasting longer than, for example, ribbon or yarn in this situation.
The popular craft of friendship bracelets also employs knotted embroidery floss. Friendship bracelets follow some of the same construction techniques as macramé, but on a smaller scale. Adapting this to a larger scale, one can combine friendship bracelet techniques with macramé techniques to make larger products, such as change purses. This floss can also be used to make tassels and bookmarks, which can be decorated by threading beads onto the floss.
Wrapping. A less commonly found use of embroidery thread is decoration by wrapping. One can decorate pens or flip-flop straps this way, or wrap clean, empty food cans to make pencil holders. Depending on the item to be wrapped, an application of glue prior to wrapping may be helpful in keeping the floss in place.