Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Numbering Thread Bobbins....

~ Greetings Friends ~
Today I am going to start a 3 part series on how I store my threads for stitching.
I have spoken about this before on this blog. But it is likely time to rehash the idea, since I have new readers and maybe refresh my longtime readers.
Everyone has their own way to store threads. Everyone has their own ideas. Remember! I'm not saying mine is the only way to do it, but I've had three people contact me over the last month asking:

"Vonna, how do you store your threads for stitching?"

First of all...
before I show you storage ideas and how I store mine...
let's talk about:
Numbering our DMC floss.

I'm all about quick, efficient and neat...
I might not have "top of the line" out of pocket, fabulous equipment, but what I do have is affordable and economical, serves the purpose and is NEAT.
I like tidy.

OK, I prefer plastic bobbins for winding my DMC on.
I do not like paper bobbins, because they always seem to either:

1. tear at the hole that I put on my thread ring
2. warp 
3. the slit that you slide the thread so it doesn't unwind gets bent, or torn from use before the whole skein is gone and then unwinds all over the place.
4. Deteriorates.

I like plastic bobbins where the slit that you slide your thread through is flush against the other side. DMC had plastic bobbins that frankly would not keep the thread from unwinding. I bought several packages of those and hated them. I haven't looked at them for a handful of years and I don't know if they changed their design or not. But a little *hint* from me to you...
find plastic bobbins that will hold your thread tightly.

My plastic bobbins...
 are from Hobby Lobby.
Although I'm sure you can find other places that carry bobbins. They used to be "Hobby Lobby" brand, but now my Hobby Lobby carries Sullivan's Plastic Bobbins and they are just as good.
I don't care what brand you use, just get the ones that you's your thread collection
I just prefer plastic bobbins that stay wound.


OK, here's a trick for fabulously neat bobbins...
you will need: Skeins of floss, plastic bobbins, scissors, tape and time.

Slip off the little plastic sleeve on your skein of floss that has the skein number on it:


Clip off the number...


Cut it at the end...


Slip it on the top of the bobbin and then tape...

IMG_6608 IMG_6609

Wrap your floss...


Put it in your thread box or slip it on your thread rings....
I'm kitting up a design so I'm slipping mine on my thread rings because I like all my threads for a certain project to be on the same ring.


How simple was that?
Pretty doggone simple!

How neat is that?
Pretty doggone neat!

Think how fabulous all your neatly numbered bobbins will be now when you store them!
Pretty doggone fabulous!

Some negatives...
OK, I need to put in here that: there are some very professional people in the needlework industry that I admire that say they would NEVER wind their threads on a bobbin because of "kinks" that it puts in the thread. This is what I have to say. I have been stitching since I was 15. I am 45. Some of my rarely used colors (neon greens/yellows) are that old. Still on cardboard bobbins and I will agree...there are kinks the closer I got to the bobbin surface - when I pulled these out and examined them. I even went so far as to stitch about 30 stitches with them on a piece of leftover remnant linen. They looked perfect and especially after I ran the length of thread through Thread Heaven  you couldn't tell it had been kinked.
I have stitched very successfully for many, many years and always my thread has been on a bobbin.
When I wind it, I do not wind tightly. I wind loosely and do not pull.

But it all comes down to this:
You DO what works for you. I DO what works for me. Bobbins (no matter cardboard or plastic) is what I prefer. If you use the bags or the stitch bows or whatever...GREAT!


  1. Good idea instead of writing the numbers which can wear off...

  2. I never thought of using the number from the skein. Great idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Also a good idea to tape it because the preprinted numbers that are supposed to stick on the plastic bobbin don't stay stuck - they fall off eventually.

    Thanks for a great idea.

  4. I use the plastic bobbins but never thought of taping on the number. Great idea!!

  5. Great idea and so simple too

  6. Thanks for the review, Vonna! I used cardboard bobbins switched to plastic and went back to cardboard because the floss wouldn't stay wrapped around the bobbin. I have noticed that the newer cardboard bobbins are not as sturdy (thick) as in previous years. Might have to try plastic again!

  7. I love having my DMCs on plastic bobbins. It keeps them neat and organized and is so simple and inexpensive to do. I've never thought of clipping the number from the sleeve though - great tip!

  8. Great idea about taping, I've tried a similar method without tape and it didn't work as well. Plus I won't have to try and decipher my handwriting. :)

  9. Thank you for your great idea. Love it!

  10. Hi Vonna,
    Thanks for the idea(s). I just received 4 large storage boxes with plastic bobbins. Should keep me busy for a 'few minutes'. Now, a question. How do you store/organize your over-dyed flosses? Same way? Alphabetically? By company of origin? Would appreciate your input. I thank you in advance.

    Have yourself a wonderful day!!


  11. Vonna: What a great idea, I have never taped the number onto the bobbin, thank-you for a great idea.
    Love the color of your nail polish.


  12. It's a great idea ,,thank you xx

  13. Thanks for the info, when I organize my threads again I will use your method. I currently use the label from the thread but I wrap the thread around the label on the plastic bobbins
    . I like your way so much more

  14. I started doing this after I saw your tutorial a couple years ago! I was using the dmc Stickers and now I have SO many that the stickers have fallen off of and have no idea what they are! I love this!

  15. Thanks for the refresher, V! I have used your method for years and still think it's the best for me and my DMCs.

  16. I use plastic bobbins too :-)

  17. Love me some plastic bobbins too!

  18. I've used the DMC plastic bobbins and dislike them because of the slit, too. I will have to check out the HL ones. I use a label machine to make my numbers. It works pretty good.

  19. I used the pre-printed labels from DMC and so far they have never fallen off (knock on wood). When they came out with new colors I made new labels with my label maker. So far, so good!

  20. Wonderful idea! My floss is really all jumbled up! I need a better system

  21. I use and love the plastic bobbins too. I agree the paper/cardboard ones tear so easy and the ends roll up too.

  22. I have never liked the plastic bobbins because I had no way of keeping the numbers on there. Tape, what a simple and great idea!

  23. I have my DMC threads on plastic bobbins but am slowly (as I use up a color) switching them to Floss-Away bags.
    I keep my other threads in Floss-Away bags also.

  24. That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I use cardboard bobbins because when I started stitching plastic bobbins weren't available where I live but I could order cardboard bobbins. And then I bought some flat tool containers where my bobbins perfectly fit. And as I still have hundreds of cardboard bobbins I can easily replace the ones that are worn. So this way of storage is just perfect for me. Maybe I'd use plastic bobbins and different boxes if I started stitching today.

  26. What a great idea Vonna to cut numbers and tape ! .. I write mine with a pen which sometimes on paper bobbins 😕

  27. I prefer the plastic bobbins too. Cutting and taping is too much work for me. I just use a fine-tip sharpie to write the number in the depression. Sometimes I have touch up the ones I use very frequently but that's maybe once a year on a couple of bobbins so it works for me!

  28. I don't use bobbins, but I've always wondered -- what do you do with the leftover threads while you're working on a piece and when you're finished with the bobbin. I can't bring myself to tossing leftover threads.

  29. Hi Vonna, Happy New Year! I too prefer the plastic bobbins. I have a special few on a circle holder numbered 1-20 that I use for my Mill Hill kits. I copy the pattern because I like to color all over it :) I then number the colors in order from 1-20 or however many I need. Left over threads get wound onto bobbins numbered with DMC color so I don't end up with many bobbins of the same color. Happy Stitching!! Catherine in Marshall VA

  30. I use the cardboard bobbins, but got some of the larger plastic bobbins in a great thrift store purchase and I do like them! I never thought of cutting the number off of the skein! What a great idea! Thanks!

  31. You are never too old to learn something new ! Thanks for the labelling idea and Thread Heaven. I still run my thread through a 1/2" x 2" damp sponge (to iron it smooth) but, I also use Thread Heaven now because some of my threads are 42 year old. I really perks them up. I agree about paper bobbins I despise them and every time I use one I change it to plastic now.

  32. I use the exact same method with my DMC with the exception of the type of bobbin. I make my own using 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 pieces of cardboard. Been doing it this way since I read an article in Just CrossStitch magazine many, many years ago. And some of my floss has been wound on them for a very long time. Love all your tips Vonna.


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The Twisted Stitcher