Skein holder – How to make your own

As promised, I made the skein holder yesterday. It didn’t take long and it’s gong to be so useful when I’m in England at the Royal School of Needlework Crewelwork course this summer.


When the threads are all in place and the whole thing is all rolled up it looks a little like a wool sushi roll!

You will need 2 pieces of craft felt 8 x 12 inches/ 20 x 30 cm, about 50 inches/125 cm of white cotton tape and an 18 inch/45 cm piece of ribbon.

The two pieces of felt need to be sewn together to form one very l0ng rectangle. Lay one piece over the top of the other with about an inch/ 2 cm overlap then pin in place. With a sewing machine, sew up the right side next to the edge of the top piece of felt. Turn the whole thing over and sew the other side near to the edge to complete the seam.

When both seams are sewn, it will look like the photograph above. Your next step is to make all the loops that will hold the skeins of wool.

Using a skein of wool, determine the size of the loops that will hold each skein. Begin by turning under the end of the cotton tape about 1/4 inch/1/2 cm and creasing it with your fingernail to make a sharp crease. Pin the creased end of the tape to the left side of the long thin rectangle about 2 1/2 inches/6 cm from the top of the felt. Next lay one skein of wool onto the felt and bring the tape of the wool as shown above. Pin the tape in place to form a loop.

Continue making loops all the way along the felt. Check to make sure you are always 2/12 inches / 6 cm from the top edge of the felt rectangle so the tape runs from left the right in a straight line.

When all the loops are pinned in place, thread a needle with white sewing thread. Knot one end and then stitch one short stitch immediately next to each pin to hold the tape in place. Remove all the pins and then, using your machine, sew each loop in place by stitching a short seam in a straight line at each place where you stitched a basting stitch. I chose to sew down and then back stitch over the first line of sewing for strength and because I didn’t want to fuss with tying a knot at the top and bottom of each place I attached the cotton tape.

Crease the right end of the tape as you did with the left end and attach it to the felt in the same way. Now you can put all of your skeins into the loops. As you can see from the photo above, the skeins are only about 1/3 of the way inside each loop. That way the color number is visible. To make this even easier to use, check to see which end is the loose end you can use to pull the wool out from the skein and place each skein so that tail end of wool is either at the top or the bottom for all the skeins. That way you won’t have to ever take the skein out of the holder and can just pull the amount of wool you need each time out of the skein.

Because the holder is made of felt, the friction of the wool against the felt ensures that the skeins won’t fall out when you pick the whole thing up to move it or put it away.

If the holder was being used for only 6 skeins the roll will be smaller when rolled up. Because the size of the roll will vary depending on how many skeins are in the roll,  I did NOT attach the ribbon to the felt in any way so I can roll it up and tie it whereever it needs to be tied according to how large or small it is.

So, will you have a go and try to make your own? Where would you use it? In the car? On holiday? Leave a comment and let us know!

12 thoughts on “Skein holder – How to make your own

    • Hi Carol and Rachel,

      I am so glad it was all clear to both of you! I find “how to” posts the most difficult to write. I’m never sure if I’m explaining things well enough. As a music teacher, I always demonstrate everything so it’s quite a challenge to be limited using only words and photos.

      Liebe Grusse,

  1. Brilliant! I am just staring to embroider with appelton wool and still hive this a try. I LOVE ways to stay organized on a project. It really contributes to the quiet continuation that is a huge part of my enjoyment of embroidery .
    Thanks so much

  2. I’d find it useful just at home – keeps all the threads of a project together, and always the right end of the thread coming out (after reading Trish Burr’s discourse on the end of the thread the other day on her blog, and mentions by Mary Corbet of the same thing)

    Tho I’d make it pretty-coloured (coloured felt?) not white, especially if travelling. The colours have already been picked out so non-white shouldn’t interfere with selecting the right skein, and dust/travel marks would show a lot.

    • Hi Elmsley Rose,
      Yes, a darker color would probably travel better. I also think whilte fel on the inside and a pretty fabric on the outside would be lovely. Right now I’m not buy a*n*y*t*h*i*n*g at all to save for England and the things I know I’ll want to get while I’m there so I used what I had – which was white! I’ll let you know how well it travel and how dirty it gets!
      Liebe Grusse,

  3. Brilliant idea Kathy. One of those lightbulb moments. I’m definitely going to make one of these. At the moment I keep my threads in a flat basket that I can keep on the sofa next to me, but it’s hopeless really. No matter how careful I am they can’t help but get in a mess and then I have to sort them out again. Too much handling, apart from anything else. This would be a great replacement. By the way. your ‘how to’ explanations are terrific. Very clear and easy to follow. Thank you.
    Warmest regards, Suzy in Melbourne

  4. What would happen if the tie is at one end and long enough for the fullest but a little pocket to put excess if only a small amount of skeins are enclosed?

    One might consider making a envelope-style ‘pillowcase’ capable of holding the rollup?

    This is a cool idea, Kathy.

    HEALTHY and Happy New Year to All!!

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