An enormous Embroidery silk tangle and tidy up……

embroidery silk strands

Last week I was trying to have a bit of a work room tidy up…it seemed like every tin lid lifted up or box opened revealed a messy array of embroidery silks inside, mostly they’re vintage silks purchased from local antique centres or bric a brac shops but there are also boxes full of silks purchased over the years from when at least four shops in Norwich either closed their haberdashery departments or closed down completely*…..anyway the silks were in a proper old mess so I gathered all the tins, baskets and boxes into one area and thoroughly sorted each one out……I’m about halfway through tidying them all and I’m somewhat shocked to see how much there is……I guess when something is ferreted away in a tin on a shelf or popped in a cupboard it’s easy to forget about it…

vintage embroidery and darning silks

I’ve now got two tins full of silk skeins with those tiny paper bands around them to stop any unravelling….the old silks seem to look more glossy and light luscious than a lot of the newer ones, and many have a slightly old book scent….I’ve tried to keep darning and mending silks separate, along with old silks on paper reels or where I’ve wrapped floss around old wooden reels…

embroidery silks on paper spools

A few years ago I bought some very old silks which were on paper rolls, when I used the silks I found they’d been wrapped around old shopping lists and parts of a letter…..I liked the idea of paper spindles so began to make my own and keep the silks wrapped on those  in this pretty tin which my mum bought me last year…….it’s not the most orderly of systems, especially if you’re looking for an exact colour or match, but I’m never that precious about my embroidery, and will happily use what comes to hand…….

a mad jumble of embroidery silks

This is one of the “still need to sort out” boxes (there’s a couple)…as you can see along with being a bit of a hoarder, I’m also cheap and don’t often buy paper reels for my silks….I’m happy to just cut up old cereal boxes or cardboard packing, when I’ve felt “creative” I’ve glued old Christmas paper to the shiny side so the home made reels look a bit prettier……and even went so far as to make some with fabric wrapped round them (this was a lot more fiddly than I thought it would be so only ever made a handful or so of those)……

a tangled mess of embroidery silk

And these were the loose tangles that every box or tin seemed to have at the bottom…and while I could just chop them up for stuffing..that also seems a bit wasteful so for now I’m popping them into a lovely old sewing bag I bought many moons ago (and which never gets used as often as it should) and thought maybe to use these rather sad and forlorn threads for a sampler or for when I’m doing some sewing exercises and trying out new stitches and practising old ones….well that’s the intention anyway.

*The House of Fraser had an amazing haberdashery department for all of five minute, the Co-Op department store closed and their haberdashery department was pretty basic but good, then there was Butchers…deep sigh…. Butcher’s was a proper haberdashery shop which sold all sorts of sewing notions, they also sold bed linen, aprons, tea towels….and finally the best shop of all…. The Work Box which was a real embroidery haven, it was on Timber Hill and not a week goes past that I don’t miss it


2 thoughts on “An enormous Embroidery silk tangle and tidy up……

  1. I wonder it is about a box full of silks, a pile of pretty fabrics or a basket of soft squishy yarn that makes our creative hearts sing? You have a fantastic collection there and I rather like your fabric reels. I wonder how long it will be before you are tempted again by some gorgeous vintage threads 😉 Aren’t ‘junk’ shops just the best!

    1. I amazed myself on Friday, I saw a little bundle for £1.50 and actually managed to resist making a purchase…..maybe I’m coming down with a cold or something x

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