No of Strands?

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How Many Strands Should I use
for each type of stitch?

The embroidery thread for cross stitch is called stranded cotton. This is because the thread is made up of separate strands, normally 6 in total and usually sold as an 8 meter length bundled into what is known as a skein. (stranded cotton is sometimes sold by the metre and can also be bought on 50 metre cones.)

When you stitch a cross stitch pattern the instructions will tell you how many strands of thread is needed for each type of stitch.  To separate the strands, I find the best way is to hold the length of stranded cotton in my left hand (with my thumb and forefinger), then with my right hand, gently pull one strand out from the length of thread.  If two strands are required you can either use the one strand and double it over, to use the loop knot method of starting of, or pull another strand out of the length of thread and place them together.  Don't be tempted to pull two strands of thread out together they will not lie neatly when being stitched.

As a general rule, you should separate two of the six strands to stitch cross stitches and separate one strand for back stitch.