organizing thread

I have been keeping all of my DMC floss in a plastic box with separate compartments for years..however, I like to take my stitching with me when we travel and I keep dropping the box and all of my threads spill out! :( It takes a LONG TIME to sort and rearrange them back in number order!! Does anyone have a "trick" to storing the floss?? I'm thinking perhaps a chain that I could arrange them (the little cardboard holders have a hole in them) in numerical order. Suggestions would be very welcome!! C.


Post a Reply
When I travel I take every thing that I need for a certain project and put it in one of my plastic project bags and zip it up and go. At home I keep all of my plastic wound floss bobbins in plastic cases with my sewing. I have 6 boxes of bobbins not counting the boxes I keep my extra floss in so would be impossible to take all of it with me on a plane or even in my van.
I found some long knitters' pins I use to keep my overdye stash somewhat under control. However, I travel with the plastic crafter's envelopes, and either the needed bobbins, or more likely, lengths of the threads. I make a floss card like a kit. I cut strips of manilla folder, holepunch one edge & load on the thread. The manilla gets marked with number & symbol for each color by the corresponding hole.
What an interesting topic! After years of trying a number of different methods for storing my floss, each time outgrowing the last method I finally came up with this...I purchased several boxes of Ziplock bags, the snack size, and punched a hole in each corner opposite the zipper part, at the bottom of the bag. I purchased two dowels (about 3/8"...whatever the size a hole punch is) and about one meter long. I found some round beads that nicely fit over the ends of each dowel to prevent the bags from coming off the dowels. There are few colors of floss I don't have so there are a lot of bags. I inserted the dowels through all the holes in the bags and just wrote the number of each color with black permanent marker on the top right hand corner of each bag. If I was missing a color I added an empty bag to allow for a future purchase. This method has served me very well for a number of years. I have all the colors on a spool as well as one or two (or more) of extras in each bag. I seldom run out but once in a while I do "inventory" and restock my supplies. I always have a project on the go and keep that floss in one of those white plastic containers with a number of compartments which also comes with me when we travel. It works beautifully. I'd sure like to hear any other ideas you all may have for storing A LOT of floss.
Just a thought: When I am working on a project, I put all the thread colors I need in separate zip-lock snack bags, the small size you can buy in grocery stores. I then put all those snack bags in one bigger zip-lock bag, and voila, I have all the thread I need for that project to carry anywhere. And snack bags are inexpensive and reusable.
Sorry toosh2000 but your system to me takes up too much room and hassle. I have every color of DMC floss and it takes up very little room ( 6 boxes) and time to put them on the plastic bobbins when I need to restock. I also have extra boxes so that I have a backup of every color. I have been cross stitching for over 30 years and it has worked well for me. The question I have for you is what if you want to take a bag of a color with you don't you have to take all the bags off the dowels to get to the bag you want? That sounds like a lot of hassle to me, but if it works for you great.
Response to sygel... I don't take the bags anywhere. Like I said, each color is stored in a snack size ziplock bag and all the bags are stored on the meter long dowels in numerical order. I have at least one spool for each color and the spares are kept in the same ziplock bag. I keep the floss I need for my current project on spools in a plastic container with little compartments. When I finish a project I return the spools to their respective bags and then start again with my next project. I keep all of my supplies in a trunk which is used as a coffee table in the Family Room. Everything fits in there just nicely and always close at hand. This is what works just perfectly for me (after trying a number of different ways). By all means, if the boxes work better for you than you should for sure keep doing that. To each his own! My method is certainly no hassle...all the floss is right there in a row without going to several containers or boxes to find all your colors. But like I said..whatever works for you is what you should continue doing.
Toosh2000 thanks for your explanation. It makes more sense to me now. I thought you had to take the bags off the spools each time. I agree with you "whatever works". Have a good day and welcome to the chat room.
Whether I'm traveling or at home in my easy chair , when I start a new project I wound the bobbin with the necessary threads for that project and put them all on a "O' ring (see "Floss & Thread" Floss-A-Way Organizer with Ring). Then I put the thread on the "O" ring, with a copy of my pattern, scissors, markers, needles and everything else I need in a handy carrying bag and out the door I go. This way nothing gets mixed up with other projects (as I am always doing multiple projects). Each of my projects have it's own separate travel bag (again whether I travel or sit at home). The extra thread that I have stays in the plastic storage box (w/compartmentS) and it stays in one place until I need extra floss.
I keep all my floss on bobbins in boxes. I take out the ones I need & put them in a small box (it has lost its lid) ... which occasionally has landed on the floor ... an elastic across the row of bobbins will keep them in the box
I keep all my floss on bobbins in boxes. I take out the ones I need & put them in a small box (it has lost its lid) ... which occasionally has landed on the floor ... an elastic across the row of bobbins will keep them in the box
Hi there If you use a zip lock bag that can fit the floss in them it would be great to save them that way.
Hello everyone: toosh2000, I thought the same thing as the other reply in that I would have to take everything off to get the one I need. Understand now after reading your other post. I use to try the bobbin system, and then I converted to the floss away bags, and now I use the good old snack bags and put skein and any leftover thread all in one bag while I am working on a project. I have divided all the skeins by number ie 700, 600 300 etc together and then put them in a larger bag numbered ie 700 600 300. The only thing is the plastic get a bit sticky in the summer Bye for now and hope everyone has a good day
To lovetostitch, Your method sounds like it would work quite well for travel. The stocking I'm working on now is over 90 colors so that would be a lot of plastic bags. I did like the method of the ring for smaller projects with fewer colors but then found I couldn't find a ring large enough to hold all the spools for larger projects. I must say, after over fifty years of stitching, I'm very comfortable with my method of storing the floss in the snack size bags on the dowels and just taking what I need for the current project in the plastic box with compartments. I'm just sorry I never thought of it years ago...very time consuming to set up but very well worth the effort in time saved now. But like I said, we all have our own way of doing things that works for each of us.
When I have a large project, I go to Staples or Office Depot and they sell larger rings. I may have 2 or 3 rings and color coordinate the rings so it would be simpler. I do love the ring. When I buy bobbins, I buy the ones that include the ring.
Jclifford, take a look at the knitters pins I mentioned. Colored aluminum, 4"-6" long & easy to open. Kind of like a big safety pin that knitters use to hold their stitches when off the needle. I don't travel with my bobbins, but they might be easier than the big "O" rings. Currently they hold my un-bobbined cotton overdyes by maker: Weeks, Gentle Arts, etc. I've got enough silk & Caron that I need to buy some more.
JHewes: Who makes the knitters pins? I tried googling it, but nothing that remotely looks like what you described.
Jclifford I used to knit and if jlhewes is talking about the ones I used to put stitches on when doing cables you can get them at JoAnn Fabrics. They are really nice and would work for what you are talking about. I went to Joann Fabrics online and they have them. They are made by Boye and are called Aluminum Stitch Holders. They come 3 in a package. I know they have them in the JoAnn Fabric store here in my town in the knitting and crochet section They are very handy for all kind of stitching uses. Hope this helps.
I found it. They look rather small. Are they large enough for larger projects? How do you put your thread on it? Do you put bobbins on it or just hang the thread as it comes originally? I see that you use a manila folder cut and punch holes like a kit, but doesn't that get tangled? I always take mine off the thread strip and wound on bobbins, b'c I have a tendency to knot the thread when using it in it's original form or on the thread strip. clumsy!
To organize my entire stash, I keep floss in the plastic compartmented boxes, wound on plastic bobbins, like many of the people here. However, for portability, I take pieces of firm cardboard and punch holes in it with a hole punch. This is similar to the so-called organizers that come with kits these days, only much sturdier. I save the backs of notebooks and anything else that I can find around the house for this. I cut the piece of cardboard in half lengthwise, and count the number of holes I need, based on the stitches listed in the directions, and punch a hole for each symbol. I can punch holes in both long edges of the cardboard if I need to. As I organize at the start of a project, I write the stitch symbol and the floss number next to each hole. This way I can also group blended colors together by combining one length of floss of each color, or noting if a symbol is made of half stitches or French knots, and listing them on the cardboard organizer. I also use the 2-gallon zip-loc bags to store the entire project - chart, floss, fabric, etc. That way I can throw it all in a suitcase and not worry about losing anything. It saves me from having to refer to the paper directions every time I change colors, too.
Jclifford, I would use the bobbin holes, if they fit. The pins or stitch holders come in several lengths. JoAnn's, unfortunately, is having an identity crisis. My guess, from the shelf space for school & educational items, that parents spend a lot of money. The needlework variety & shelf space has shrunken over my shoppong career.
Jlhewes I guess I am lucky here in Defiance. The JoAnn Fabric's store here in town has a very nice supply of cross stitching, crocheting, and knitting area in the store. You can check online at Joann Fabric's. I know they have those knitting pins there also. Have a good weekend.
Amazon has quite a few of these pin type Stitch Holders. A pack by Lyon had an 8", a 6", & a 4".
Regarding those stitch holding pins...I saw some in the craft section of the Dollar Store here in Saskatchewan, Canada. I seldom go in there but it always amazes me what you can do with a dollar or two in there :-)
I still use my bobbins in plastic boxes. Been stitching for over 65 years with counted cross stitch for 62 of those years, as I was taught "line" embroidery first. I use the big "O" rings to hold the bobbins for each project and get them at Staples. Our JoAnn store carries several aisles of scrapbooking but only one side of an aisle now for embroidery. Very little floss availabke, no xs fabric, no kits, nothing I ever need. So, I shop online and can find all I need there! I have had greatt experiences, even on the less-tried places, like etsy and ebay. I have a loveky gal who still writes me from etsy and always asks what I am working on... And, how the heck do you write numbers on the plastic bobbins. I have tried a Sharoie permanant marker, but the numbers just rub off! Any hints would be great. I tried the stick-on tiny numbers available, but you have to buy an entire set of them if you need extra numbers for duplicates. What to do, what to do? My faavorite for travel is a simple bag that carries even big leaflets/charts and all my supplies. If I use one that is not sectioned off, then all for a project goes in plastic bag, tools in separate plastic bag so my scissors don't punch holes in the fabric. I always keep the fabric separate from all else. But, others will tell you I am a nut. I am...
Su, for floss numbers, cut off the piece of the wrapper with the number - just a little square or rectangle. Use a good size strip of invisible scotch tape & tape the little piece of paper on the plastic so it will show in your floss boxes. I use the top-left of the bobbins & lay them on their sides so it shows. You may have to narrow it to clear the hole. They look very nice this way, anyhow!
jlhewes! Great idea, but it seems like more work. If you could only see how much floss I have out on cards...I'm kind of ashamed! My little dog Spike loves to sleep on my lap while I wind the floss bobbins. He never seems to shed, but the Pug does, so if I'm stitchin' a lot of vacuuming and sweeping goes on before hand. I even "furminate" the oldest daughter calls it that because the deshedding tool she first encountered working at the Humane Society was called The Furminator, a take on Schwarzenegger's movies. Gosh, maybe not so darn old...can still spell his name. Anyhow, I will try it, but I wish there was a simpler way...
To Su Pitt-- Regarding how to label the plastic bobbins . . . I'm afraid we're off to Office Depot again. Go to where-ever they're hiding the correction tape this week. When I was labeling all of my bobbins, they still made a 2line, paper tape for covering oopsies in a document. Not sure if they still make that, I remember it came in an orange and pink striped dispenser box. If you can't find the correction tape, just buy a small pack of white mailing labels. Most of them can be fed thru your computer printer, then cut up into little labels. Nowadays of course, there are also label makers that print itty-bitty labels . . . One thing I DO remember, that has been a real lifesaver . . . I label ALL of my bobbins with the brand name [DMC, Anchor, etc] . . . So, it's not just 310, it's DMC 310. Easy to say "I only buy DMC", but it never STAYS that simple, does it?
I label my plastic bobbins with the printed DMC labels that I get at JoAnn's Fabrics. They work very well. Sorry to disappoint you but in over 30 years I have always used DMC thread. I have 6 boxes of wrapped bobbins and five boxes of unwrapped floss for my replenishment. Over the years I have found no other floss I like as well as DMC. The few times I have done kits I have thrown out the leftover thread when I am done so I don't have a bunch of "odd stuff" The only exception to that is Dimensions Inc. extra thread which I keep in a plastic bag each labeled and the bag marked.
To SuPitt, The Sharpie Fine Point permanent markers work great to write the numbers on the plastic bobbins.
To Diarmstrong, I only use DMC as well so that does keep it simple. Every once in a while I have been "gifted" with someone's floss (Anchor or combo of...???) as they are getting out of stitching. I say thank you very much and pass the works on to my great nieces who are very grateful to add to their bracelet making stash of floss. I will keep any full skeins of DMC that I am sure about but I'd rather loose some than take a chance. Either way, the girls are very happy with it.
What I said was that the Sharpie Fine Point Permanent markers seem to never dry and smear if that numbered area is touched, even accidentally while filing the cards away days/wks/months later...
To Su Pitt, Sorry, I should have recognized your typo (Sharoie) as Sharpie markers. Sorry they are not working for you...I've always found them to be great. Maybe it depends on humidity or something??An earlier entry suggesting the correction tape (if it's still available) would probably work great then. With computers being the norm now, I don't even know if they still sell typewriting paraphernalia. I find once in a while on the colors I use frequently (ie, Black 310, dark brown, etc.) the black marker occasionally fades a bit so I just rewrite it but I've never had it smudge off. I'm sorry you are having that problem. (It just occurred to me, if they don't sell the correction tape, I would think they would still sell the white correction fluid (an office supply business). It would be interesting to know if a person just painted a small corner of the spools with the correction fluid and let it dry really well before using the marker...I would think that would work quite well. In my day as a secretary I used correction fluid and it does not come off easily! It would be time consuming for sure, but if you have the time I would think it would be a pretty effective solution. Good luck!
That's another great idea, Toosh! I have that Liquid Paper here, I say with confidence, because I have no more cards to mark at the moment, I even carded skeins that were in bags with patterns. At the moment, I'm killing myself bending over to sort the cards numerically. Why is it that, when I have a task, no chairs are good for the level I'm working on, but when The Husband does something, he has the perfect chair for any lengthy task? Ok, he has usurped my computer desk and chair as well as my sewing chair. I like the chair I have by the picture window and use it to sew now... sorry for typos. I do try to edit but, I admit to old eyes that miss some boo-boos. Thanks everyone for the help. I will try them all!
I use a sharpie and don't touch that corner of it when I'm winding the bobbin with thread. It's not so hard to do (touching it). It stays on there for me and I've been doing it for years. When empty, I keep it separately from others and when I have several empties, I go replenish them. I use the corner where there is a line for color. I write small with a fine sharpie pen and it stays there. Toosh2000: The liquid correction fluid flakes off from the plastic (I've tried it) and doesn't last very long. The paper correction is great, but eventually falls off (like the paper numbers you buy). I've done what JHewes suggested about taping it. When you put your finger on the tape, that's pretty much it - the oil from your fingers compromises the adhesive and with a little humidity the tape falls off. I still like the sharpie pen, it doesn't smudge, smear or come off (after it dries).
I'm way behind on the chit chat because I used the time to stitch instead. Syagel, I also use the printed labels. My handwriting is large and not all that consistent and I like for it to look neat. They do fall off easily so I use tape to hold them in place. I don't know how long the tape lasts. It's not my first choice. I came across a bag of bobbins today and saw that they recommend using the label from the floss, trim it and slip it over the bobbin end. jlhewes did you not mention that you label your bobbins in this manner? Do they stay in place? I like the larger cardboard ones best but can't find boxes to hold them. The small cardboard ones are too flimsy. I also like jclifford's idea with the manila folder, etc. I no longer take projects with me because too much has to be aligned just so. I need a comfortable chair, good lighting, no distractions, etc., so I have very little advice to offer. When I did take my work with me I would place everything into a freezer bag and that was it. Now I think the topic has been exhausted. LOL
Texas Stitcher...I agree...NEXT!!! LOL!
I also have lots of dmc; 4 small craft case of thread on bobbins plus a box given to me by a friend (that boots came in) filled w/ skeins.. I have also done all the tried & true methods; zip locks, rings, etc.. Recently found at Wal Mart in the hardware dept..Bulldog brand storage case, has RUBBERMAID name on case itself - 24 adjustable compartments, measures approx. 9 x 13.. 2 cases hold what was preciously in 4 small cases. Also purchased 2 additional cases ( remember ADJUSTABLE) for skeins not on bobbins.. can keep then flat if desired.. didn't count skeins, but case holds lots of thread.. cost of case is just under $5.00 each when working on a project, I put all needed colors in a small case; one color in each compartment in chronological order.. makes working very easy for me.. project now working has over 30 colors, so I use 2 small cases for thread.. hope this helps..
sorry stitchers, just catching up & see everyone has just about covered every think I thought I invented.. lol except maybe about the cases from Wal Mart.. Happy stitching..