Wednesday, 1 August 2012

One offs sorted -- and why mixed skeins are a fab challenge

In this post I showed the above Oliver Twist One Offs that I recently bought for an embroidery project (has I haven't begun yet as I'm doing two bead projects at the moment). As it was the first skein of that brand I've ever bought, I wanted to take a closer look at the different threads in it so I sorted them up.

It really is an interesting mix of threads. Some feels perfect for jewellery (like the heavy twisted rayons on the right) and they all complement each other -- and it includes and thin embroidery or sewing thread, which I like as it can be used for couching the other threads.

Sorting threads like this also makes you see just how different a colour looks depending on the fiber it's used on. The shiny rayon threads makes the colours seem more saturated and deep while the matte cottons give the colour a slightly more earthy and soft tone.

If you want to see a (somewhat blurry) close-up of the thread, click the pic below.

There are sets of mixed fibres that you can buy on with the threads seperately wrapped on a card (like this), but I must say that often it can be much more inspiring with mixed skeins as the one above. Seeing the different threads mixed up really shows just how effective it is to mix textures (and materials) when working with fibre. Buying a mix can challenge you to use thread types you hadn't otherwise considered buying -- and if you haven't worked with fibre before, but are toying with the idea, a mixed skein might be just what you need to get started.

Maybe it could be a fun design challenge to do together? Everyone buys a mixed skein (free choice of brand, e.g. Oliver Twists One Offs, Stef Francis Texture Collection, Tentakulum Cocktails, Les Designs Creative Threads Pack -- there are many to choose from) and makes a piece of jewellery or beadwork with it.


  1. Sounds like fun. Where would you find mixed skeins of fiber?

    (Not sure my first comment went through, so re-commenting)

    1. I'm glad you liked the idea. Sometimes challenges are more fun when doing them with others.

      You can either buy the threads directly from the source -- I think all the ones mentioned above have online shops and deliver internationally -- or in some embroidery/needlework shops, especially those specialising in mixed media and modern textile arts. E.g. I got my first Stef Francis skein from swedish Canvas ( and the skein above is from bead shop Perles & Co ( Some manufacturers have a list of retailers, but even if they are published on their websites they aren't always complete. I could post a list with links, both to the manufacturers and retailers I know of.

      (The first comment did go through too.)

  2. I am searching too. this is the link to Tentakulum, but they do'nt sale them in this moment. (Sorry about my English, I am Dutch....)


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