By Deane Barker

Definition: a bundle of yarn or a length of yarn; a tangled problem or mystery

The extended/metaphorical definition in many cases is “things that can be interwoven.” Examples:

  • “A difficult or complicated situation”
  • “A web, weave or tangle”

For example, plot threads are like skeins of yarn. I googled “skein plot” and I found a bunch of books and movies with it in the title, and none of them seem to be referring to yarn:

  • On Skein of Death
  • The Skein of Lament
  • The Skein of Life

Why I Looked It Up

In a book about RAND corp:

All the different skeins that would eventually weave through Wolfowitz’s career were beliefs that were encouraged by Wohlsetter.


Added on

From The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu:

So carefully had my friend Nayland Smith excluded the matter from the press that, whilst public interest was much engaged with some of the events in the skein of mystery which he had come from Burma to unravel…

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