It all started so innocently.
After weaving Marvelous Mandelbrot, I decided it would be fun to do more weaving with rayon machine embroidery thread. It’s the perfect size for the weaving I’m currently doing, comes in hundreds of beautiful colors, and I don’t have to dye it, which saves a ton of time and effort. Plus, with standardized colors, I could reuse my woven samples rather than having to do a new set of samples for every piece.
So I went off looking for rayon machine embroidery thread.
I had bought some thread at Jo-Ann Fabrics for Marvelous Mandelbrot, but was horrified at the cost. Eight or nine measly little 1000-yard spools had set me back almost $90! Surely there had to be cheaper sources out there. So I hied myself over to eBay. After a few searches, I found a vendor who had somehow gotten ten thousand (!) 4000-5000 meter spools of Anton Robinson rayon machine embroidery thread, and was selling them in lots of 50, 100, and 220 spools.
I thought, “Aha! This is perfect. Anton Robinson is a good brand of thread, which means I’ll have no problems with quality. The cones are big enough to finish an entire project at least. Plus, I’ll be able to reorder colors if I need to. And it’s only $300 (including shipping) for 220 spools! That’s only $1.50 apiece for 4000-meter spool – way less than what Jo-Ann was charging me.”
So I bought and paid for a 220-spool lot.
A day or two later, it occurred to me to wonder just how much rayon machine embroidery thread I had just bought. 220 mostly full spools of thread – figure 4500 yards per spool – divided by about 18,000 yards per pound – HOLY COW!! Had I just bought fifty-five pounds!! of rayon machine embroidery thread?!?
Well, actually, I hadn’t. When the shipping notification arrived a day or two later, it was for two packages totaling 70 pounds! Allowing for the weight of the box, I had actually purchased about sixty-five pounds of rayon machine embroidery thread.
And here it is, sorted by color:
It was impossible to capture the beautiful colors in a single photo, so here are a few more:
I wound up with 236 big spools and about 10 small spools. Even though there are many duplicate colors, I’m guessing I have at least 150 colors to work with. Truly, my palette runneth over.
Of course, those are very fine yarns. And since “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing” is my personal motto, I’ll treat you to a few more colors, this time in 20/2 cotton yarn:
These are just 250 skeins from my 1500-skein dye sample project – various mixes of turquoise, magenta, and fuchsia using Procion MX dyes on cotton. I dyed them, my friend Carla wound off the sample cards, and these are the skeins that were left over.
Here’s what they look like organized into color families:
This photo is deceptive, though: the skeins are piled three or four deep throughout the photo. So there are a LOT more skeins than are visible in the photo. (Not to mention the 1,250 skeins that are yet to arrive.)
Each skein is about 7-8 grams, which is perfect for weaving small samples for the online color class I’m developing. (More about that in an upcoming blog post.) Plus, colors! I could jump headlong into the pile of colors, roll all over, and not come out all day.
Which is, of course, exactly what someone else did. Here’s Tigress the professional photobomber, enjoying a nice rest atop my beautiful dye samples (and a few swatches woven for my color class). It’s a good thing she’s the most wonderful cat in the world (except of course for Fritz) – otherwise, she’d never get away with everything she does!