How to Manage Those Glorious Thread Skeins for Hand Stitching

lauraandfriedaThat pile of hand-dyed thread skeins you own are beautiful to look at and can make great fashion accessories. But for those of you who actually want to hand stitch with them, I have a few tips on how to manage those glorious thread skeins.

threadskeins1. Skeins of thread from Artfabrik arrive at your house in a pretty twist. If you want to see the color sequence and spacing, just slide the end loop out of the other end loop. Most threads gradate or change colors every 2 – 3 inches.
2. The information tag is attached to the ends of the thread. It tells you size, colorway, and my contact information.
3. To return the thread to it’s pretty twist, stick a fore finger into each end loop of the skein. Twist the skein with one finger until the twist is tight. Then slip the end loop into the other end loop. The skein will twist back on itself.

threadring24. To store the thread and make it easy for hand stitching, you’ll need a metal binder ring or smooth bracelet. Open the skein and place an end loop into the center of the metal ring. Then pull the other thread loop through the first loop to secure it around the ring.
5. Now comes the scary part. You have to cut the thread. Insert your scissors and cut the skein in half at the far loop. This way the thread is the right length for stitching and won’t get tangled.

threadring36. To remove a strand of thread for stitching, gently pull a strand from the center of the skein where it wraps around the ring. Pull the thread slowly and it won’t tangle.
7. Now get out there a do some stitching!

Relief from a Tangled Mess

sewingkit3 Look at this tangled mess! The sorry state of my embroidery bag has finally gotten to me. Sorting through the jumble of my hand-dyed threads to find the right color and size is a nightmare.

sewingkit4In attempt to appear organized, I’ve removed all the threads from their thread rings and sorted them by color. Then put them back on to thread rings.

sewingkit5My new bag from has pouches with clear sides. Perfect for stashing the thread until needed. Whoosh! Now I feel better.

Guest Artist


by Sylvia

It’s always fun to hear from my former students. Especially when they send me photos of their finished work. Isn’t this a lovely quilt by Sylvia? She says, I loved making it, and look forward to using your techniques often in the future. It was a pleasure to have Sylvia in my class and hear that she exhibited her work at the Fine Art of Fiber at the Botanic Gardens in Chicago.

Great piece Sylvia! Thanks for sharing.

A Leafy Winner


Illinois Trees #16 by Laura Wasilowski

Thank you everyone for your kind words about our old maple tree that is about to be removed from the front yard. We will miss the shade but will be able to plant a new, healthy tree in the spring. Like many of you, we see our neighborhood trees as good friends and we hate to see this beauty go.

On a happier note, congratulations to Sylvia S. You are the winner of the Leaves in a Whirl pattern with instructional DVD from yesterday’s blog give away. Enjoy!

Free on Friday! Leaves

tree6Sadly, we just found out that the sugar maple tree in the front yard must come down. The arborist said it was close to 100 years old but 80% gone. We shall miss it!

To celebrate our long lived tree, I am giving away a copy of my pattern Leaves in a Whirl (along with instructional DVD) today. Please leave a comment on the blog today and you may be the lucky winner!

One Sweet Basket


Basket of Blooms by Mel

It was a pleasure teaching in California this past October. Especially when I had really great students like Mel turn up in my class. Mel was in the Woven Flower Basket Quilt class at PIQF and made this delightful version of the basket. She says, I’ve watched several of your Craftsy class lessons so it was a real treat to take an in-person workshop with you!  I had so much fun in the workshop and learning some fantastic tricks and techniques for fused art quilts.

You can read more about her process of making the piece on her blog Piece, Love, & Happiness. Thanks for joining me Mel!