How To Organize Embroidery Thread – The Method I’m Using Now

Stitchers have a love/hate relationship with the multitude of different methods there are to organize allllll those skeins of pretty thread. It always feels so good to get a big ole’ heap of threads put away neatly, but depending on your personality, you’re either going to find it relaxing to sort/separate/wind those skeins or you’re going to just want to get it over with so you can get back to stitching. Personally, I’m a little bit of both – I like organizing them, and it feels great when I’m done, but I’m ready to be just done with it and put needle to fabric again.

So I’ll cut right to the chase and show you the method I’m using now, and explain why I like it. (A bit further down I’ll list the other methods I’ve tried along with their pros and cons.)

5-Drawer Plastic Cabinets

I really love these plastic cabinets for organizing my threads. They are just the right depth for a skein of DMC 6-stranded floss, they’re lightweight, and they aren’t too expensive, so you can have multiple cabinets on your shelf. I have mine organized by color and/or brand of thread. I always put the skeins in the drawers with the numbered label towards the opening so I can quickly find specific threads. I made labels so I can easily see what is stored in each drawer. And when I’m ready to work on a project I can pull out the drawers I need, carry them to my work area, choose the  colors I want and then pop the drawers back into the cabinets when I’m done.

Pros:

-This method is fast – just toss your skeins in the correct drawer…no winding necessary

-It’s easy to see what you have when you pull out each drawer

-Drawers have a built-in stopper so they don’t come flying out when you pull on them, but you can easily pop them out and then pop them back in

 

Cons:

-Multiple cabinets will take up some room on your shelves

-Labels sometimes want to pop off the slippery plastic (I put a piece of transparent tape on top of each label so they stay on)

-While these aren’t exorbitantly expensive, if you have a LOT of threads, the cost for multiple cabinets can add up


So what are some of the other methods I’ve tried? Here they are in order of success from “pretty good” to “ummmm, no.”

Bobbins

Lots of people love this method, and I certainly tried it for a while. It for sure makes for pretty photos!

Pros:

-Thread stays neatly on the bobbins

-It’s very easy to see all the colors you have and their numbers

-Takes up a small amount of space on a shelf

-Minimal investment for bobbins and storage containers

 

Cons:

-It takes a LOT of time to wind each bobbin – if you have dozens (or hundreds) of skeins, this will take a long time

-Threads are crimped when you unwind them, which tends to cause more knots (and more frustration) as you’re stitching

-If you want the threads straight again you’ll need to iron or steam them (again, more time invested)

 

Flat Divided Storage Containers (No Bobbins)

This method is OK for small amounts of thread, or for when you’re traveling perhaps.

 

Pros:

-It’s fast and not too expensive – just toss the skeins in there

Cons:

-I haven’t really found containers that have sections that are long enough for a skein, so you have to fold or bend them to fit

-Doesn’t hold a lot of thread

-You can’t really see the skeins that are underneath the ones on top

 

Binder With Divided Plastic Pages

I did a whole blog post on this method.       

This worked for a while, but it wasn’t perfect.

Pros:

-No winding needed – just put each skein in a pocket

-Looks good on your shelf because you can buy pretty binders that hide your thread

 

Cons:

-There’s a little bit of an investment for wide binders and the divided plastic pages

-Because the plastic is so slippery, the skeins didn’t stay in their pockets

 

Piled Up On Your Worktable

Yup. This was the method I used for a long time. Trust me…this method doesn’t have any “pros” whatsoever.

So those are the methods I’ve tried. What method do you use? Do you like it? I’d love to hear from you about how you store your threads.

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