All twisted up…making cording

This post got long and so I am dividing it into two postings. First we will make the cording and then I will finish up. in a day or two.


I spent the day making cording and applying to roll-ups. I used 4 strands of floss for all the cordings; black and white cordings are full skeins the others are measured cordings.

14-09-04 supplies allThese are the supplies I use to make my cordings: hand crank, electric crank (Dremel with a cup hook chuck), clamp and board with second hook and a fishing weight. I listed two cranks because I did make one cording with the hand crank, it took me about 1 minute to twist a 12 inch cord with hand crank; making the same length cord with my Dremel took about 5 seconds;  it was on/off almost. The Dremel makes life easier and my husband happy…he bought this at my insistence two years ago (I had finishing in mind back then too, just didn’t tell him.) and I just used it. I wish it had a reverse but oh well can use had drill for that.

14-09-04 cording sup hand crankHand cranks can be purchased from your local needlework shop or from Kreinik (


14-09-04 cording sup electric crankDremel products can be found at your hardware store and craft shops. You can also use an electric hand drill and some electric drills have a reverse that will be helpful when making specialty cords.

14-09-04 hook & clampThe cup hooks are 1 inch size, one is for the drill and the other I attached to a small wood piece. I also have a third permanent hook in the sewing area so when I am there I can make long cords. The portable one is just handy but not as stable as the one in my sewing room. The clamp is also from the hardware store. I have a couple different types of clamps, but this one I like best for holding the wood piece. I have had to make it clear that my hardware items stay in the sewing area and DO NOT migrate to the workbench area…the Dremel may be moving soon from workbench to sewing area.

14-09-04 cording sup weightsI have no idea what size the fishing weight is but it is about 1 inch long. I add the smaller one when making thicker cords.

Note: want to have some fun? Next time husband is going to the hardware or sporting goods store, tag along. You’ll both be surprised at the things you will find that you can use in needlework at these stores. I have some scissors with a hook blade, great for frog stitching, I have scissors that squeeze, great for arthritic hands, weights, clamps, and yes I have even found threads in the fishing department…fly fishers use great threads and feathers.

Back to cording…I used floss to make all my cording. Floss comes in a wide range of colors and is inexpensive and it has a nice sheen when twisted. You can use any uncut thread you chose, just remember every thread has a yardage. If you are going to make cording with threads that have dye lot issues, buy the thread for cording at the same time you buy the threads for stitching. This will mean you need to have an idea how you plan on finishing the project (ornament, stand up, pillow, etc…) The needlework shop should be able to help you with how many skeins/cards/reels you will need, every thread had a yardage.

Okay let’s make floss cording… One person can make a skein of floss into cording; just take it slow and as you practice it will get easier.

BTW: If you do not want to invest in either hand or electric crank tool; find a friend and two (un-sharpened pencils, chop sticks, dowel, etc) to insert in the strands to make twisting easier. Follow the directions below with each of you twisting clockwise.

Skein of Floss = about 30-32 inches of twisted cording

1. Pull skein of floss completely out.

2. Fold in half and then fold in half again; you should now have four equal strands of floss.

14-09-04 cording 4 strands and knot3. Knot the end with cut ends.

4. Place folded ends on stationary cup hook and knotted end on crank hook. I prefer to have the knotted end where I can see it, although this is not always possible; just make sure knot is not going to pull out as you twist.

5. Stand away from stationary hook so threads are snug but not tight between the stationary hook and the crank hook.

6. Twist…some say to count the twists. I have never found this very successful (I must be counting challenged.) I find that experimentation works best. And you will notice as you are twisting, the threads will start to pull toward the stationary hook. Keep twisting and keep threads taut but not pulled tight.

14-09-04 cording  test twistYou can also check the twist by grabbing the cord about four inched from the crank hook; keeping rest of cording taut, let the crank hook turn back on itself to see about how the twisted cord will look. This experiment can easily be pulled out and continue to twist until desire results are reached. Practice will make easier, and like riding a bike you will not forget from one finishing project to another.

14-09-04 cording ends together weight onOnce the desired twist has been reached place a weight near the center of the twisted cord and bring the drill toward stationary hook, keeping strands taut and separated. Once the ends are close together, secure so the ends will not move, pull the weight to center and begin “to walk” 14-09-04 cording weight walking athe cording. “To walk” cording; grab both twisted strands about six inches from weight, keeping remaining strands taut and separated, release the weight and allow strands to twist. Repeat this six inch release method up the strand toward the hooks. Once the hook ends are reached, carefully remove threads from hooks keeping a firm hold on these ends and place an overhand knot in this end and allow strands to continue spinning if 14-09-04 cording walking bnecessary. If cording had little bumps you can usually rub these out between your fingers by rubbing the cording toward the folded end.

Cording is completed.


To make a specific length of cording:

1. Measure around the finished needlework to find desire length of cording ( If making ornaments to not forget to add 3-6 inches for 1 1/2 – 3 hangers)

Ornament Example: 12 inches around + 6 inches for 3 inch hanger = 15 inches

I add 2-4 inches depending on project for safety factor ( I have made cording that comes up short) So 15 inches + 3 inches = 18 inches

18 inches x 3 (This is the standard not sure why used but I use it) = 54 inches

You will need 54 inch lengths of thread to make 18 inches of cording.

2. If you are using floss make two 54 inch lengths of floss, fold in half (you should have 4 strands of floss. Follow directions above from #3. When completed you should have a length of cording about 18-20 inches long. Enough to complete your ornament and if you have leftovers save for your notebook with notes.

After you have mastered simple cording with floss…

Try using two different threads (any uncut thread can be tried) in the cording I would experiment (good place to use hand crank…you will be able to observe the elasticity of the chosen threads, how they twist, if adjustments will need to be made when making cording for project) with the same type of threads leftover from another project to test how many strands you will need and how the two threads will twist together.  These threads do not have to be color coordinated, this is a practice piece. Keep the sample and notes on Number of strands, length of thread before twisting and length of cord made.

Example: Two strands 12 inch Very Velvet and two strands 12 inch Flair threads.  How do they twist? Does one twist faster than the other? Will you need to make one thread longer than another to compensate for the twisting? Only these questions can be answered by experimenting.

Making cording is an individual thing. Some like their cording very tight other not so tight. Practice and take notes.

A word about knots in cording:

Knots are never good in needlework; knots can show up and be unsightly and finishing is no exception. Sometimes you can bury them with no problem but if finishing a flat item you may want to consider binding the ends of the cording with a Hangman’s knot. Hangman’s knots are 14-09-04 cording end loopconstructed by making a loop of thread and laying it on the strands of cording. Begin to wrap back around the threads of the cording and the loop (leaving the open cut end open.)

14-09-04 cording end wrap

Wrap about 1/4-1/2 inch (depends on size of cording); slipping thread through the loop.


14-09-04 cording end pullThen pulling the end of the loop to draw all threads under the wrap.


14-09-04 cording end 2 ends cuttingYou will also need to do two of these and cut between when you have made cording for more than one project.


These knots are smaller than overhand knots and work better especially on flat ornaments. I have also been known to drop a drop of Fray check or glue on this area for extra security….just depends on how much of a purist you are.

In the next couple days I will post the finished needlework…

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you find time to stitch today! ttfn…sue

2 thoughts on “All twisted up…making cording

  1. Pingback: More on 1st Communion crosses – sudukc's needleart & other musings

  2. great post, i’ve got it bookmarked and refer to it every time I make twisted cord! today I tried the Hangman’s knot on the ends, it made for a nicer ends and better looking, less frustrating finishing of the ornaments I am making. thanks!

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