Cross Stitch Tails … and we’re not talking stories here …


Recently a customer called me and needed more thread for a kit she had purchased.  She had run out of one color and was only half way done with the area.  WHAT?  How could that be?  I looked at my notes and I had another customer with the same problem, same color, same kit.  What did I do … or not do?  I always keep track of how many lengths and strands I use.

Two weeks pass and she calls me again and she has run out of two more colors!  Sigh …..

I asked her, just so I would know for future, how long were her tails?  Was she using each length to the very end or leaving 3-4″ ??  She told me she uses it to the last little bit just to be able to tuck it into her stitches.

Well … I guess I blew it.  I’ll need to add more extra lengths to each kit from now on.  I’m stitching a new design and I’m purposely throwing more away to make sure I don’t go short on my kits.

I found this How-To over on Ebay .. yes, Ebay … I didn’t know they had How-To’s ….  How NOT to Knot  This was her picture –

tails via ebay

I think mine are about that length when I’m ready to tuck it in.

I was also thinking about how stitchers “stitch” … do they make a line one way and come back or are they making crosses?  Am I making sense?  🙂  I think you’ll know what I’m saying … Is the way they’re stitching causing them to use more thread?

Luckily I’ve only had the two phone calls about thread being short … so I’m doing okay!

So … how long are your tails?


About Karen

I've been cross stitching for over 25 years and last year I put two of my hobbies - Camping and Cross Stitch - together and now design and sell camping themed cross stitch patterns and kits. It's been a lot of fun and I've met new cross stitch friends who camp too! My site is Camp Cross Stitch and I also have a camping website that is a work in progress- If you are a camper come over and say Hi!


  1. Do your kits specify how many strands of thread to use? I always use three strands unless a kit says to use two. It’s just my personal preference, and it’s how I learned to cross stitch 15 or so years ago. I once ended up with too little thread because I didn’t read the instructions correctly and used too many strands. HTH.

    • In my instructions it says to use 2 strands. Thanks for that info tho, because I hadn’t really thought about people using 3. I will be adding a few more additional lengths for each color from now on. Thanks!!

  2. Chime in on this post and let Karen know how long your tails are and what the pieces in your ort pile look like 😉

  3. I like kits that have long lengths of floss then I can use the single strand folded (loop) method to start which saves one tail. When I have barely anything left in the needle and can barely make a stitch is when I end that length. So I’d say my tails are the length of a needle or thereabouts.

  4. My tails are as short as possible to still keep the ends in the eye of the needle and be able to tuck the point of the needle under some threads!! I do often do each X as I go, but depends on the pattern. I rarely run out of thread from a kit. Mind you, I prefer to buy patterns and kit them myself. That way I can pick my fabric to suit.

  5. Margaret Maggie via STNA's Facebook Fan Page says:

    I use petite needles so I can use more of each piece of thread. My longest ort/tail would be 1-1/2″, if that.

  6. Thank you so much for the comments! It tells me that most stitchers use as much thread as possible. I just need to account for newbies 🙂 I’ve definately learned from a few mistakes and will now be adding more thread in my kits!

Comments Are Always Appreciated


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