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How to use a skein of yarn for hand embroidery

Why bother with yarn when there is so much embroidery thread to choose from?!

Honestly, I can’t answer that question other than the fact I just love a gorgeous skein of beautifully crafted yarn! There is something about a colourful, modern, soft and delicious looking skein of yarn that has me hooked before I even know what I am going to do with it!

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There is loads of choice with embroidery thread as far as colour and type but it can be tricky sometimes picking the right colours to go with one another. This was my excuse anyway when I came across this wonderfully colourful yarn recently and had bought it before I even had chance to decide how to use it!


Look at the fabulous colours – who could resist this Filigran lace weight yarn!

It is a 100% superwash merino wool and the 100g skein has a massive 600 metres to play with!

Now What?!

The question was – what to do with it – adding to my stash and just admiring it now and again was an option (!) but I really wanted to stitch something in the amazing colours and make something that you would enjoy too so you could also have the perfect excuse for your next yarn purchase.

I found this design I had done a while ago and figured it would be perfect for this type of colour explosion…

Starting to stitch…

Once I started to unravel the skein, I soon realised that I couldn’t just start stitching.

The Filigran yarn was made up of colours that were non repeating. This meant I would need to separate the colours before stitching so I could feature every one of them in the design.  Otherwise, the whole design might be finished in one colour before I even reached the next!

Choosing your yarn…

I would suggest you pick one with a similar trait so that you can separate off the colours before stitching. 

This is another one that has me very tempted and I might just have to give in to this Schoppel-Wolle Lace Ball some time soon!

 There is so much choice once you start looking so be careful!

Splitting the colours…

In order to separate off each of the colours all you need to do is a bit of hand winding, it is definately worth it for the rewards at the end.

Start winding the first colour off from the skein in to a ball and finish when the colour does.

Do this for all of the different colours in the yarn and you have a whole set of colours that go together perfectly.

yarn skein
yarn skein

I chose the lace weight yarn as it is 2ply and therefore still quite a thin thread for hand stitching as I didn’t want it to look too heavy on the design.

You could use a thicker weight yarn but remember it needs to thread on to a tapestry needle and pull through your fabric.

Once all your colours are ready to go you can get stitching. This yarn proved to be really nice to stitch with. It had a good amount of strength to it so the thread did not break up or become too weak too soon as you stitched.

Here’s how the pattern looked when finished – absolutely stunning colours…

hand embroidery flower pattern
hand embroidery flower pattern
hand embroidery flower pattern

The pattern is available as a pdf from my Etsy Shop.

It can be stitched in any variety of thread and would still look wonderful in traditional embroidery thread if you prefer.

If you create this fabulous pattern, snap a photo as I’d love to see your finished creation. You can send me photos at nicola@stitchdoodles.com and I will include them here with your permission. I lovelovelove to see your photos!

Happy Stitching!


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    1. Do you mean Bargello? Tapestry, Bargello and crewel work all use wool thread but it is typically thinner and more suited to embroidery than just regular yarn. I think it was a big thing in the 70’s!

  1. Hi, I was curious as to what material you used? Do I just need a material with a loose/open weave to it? Can you suggest some?

    1. It doesn’t have to be loose weave it just makes it easier if it is to pull the yarn through. I used a cotton/linen mix and found it was quite easy to pull through.

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