So.... is there really an ideal length for a piece of Embroidery thread? Why, yes, there is! It's about 40cm, or the length of your forearm - unless you're an Orangutan... as many of my students seem to be! My students generally complain that this is far too short, and means they have to keep threading up needles, but there is a good reason for keeping your thread nice and short. Embroidery thread is designed to be pretty and decorative, rather than strong. This means that as you stitch with it, it starts to wear thin and/or become tangled and knotted, so to keep your stitching looking even and luscious, you need to use short lengths of thread.
Thread manufacturers know this, so if you buy a skein of Stranded Cotton, Sashiko Cotton, or Crewel Wool, you can cut the whole skein in half and have all your threads at the perfect length before you start stitching. The thread can be plaited to keep it from getting tangled, or threaded back through the paper label, and stored in a Thread Roll.
What about Cotton Perle? Well, something has to be the exception to the rule... Cotton Perle is a stronger, 2 ply, twisted thread, and yes, you can cut it a little longer. Perfect, if you're an Orangutan - and have extra long forearms!
Instructions on how to make a Thread Roll to keep your threads nice and orderly are coming here soon...