Organizing your cross-stitch stash is essential when it comes to being able to find the right floss when you need it. Although it takes time and effort, the rewards are worth it. We’ve got some great tips here on how to organize embroidery floss.
Part of the thrill of cross stitching is collecting embroidery floss. However, it doesn’t take long to have so much of it that it is a big disorganized mess. Besides not being able to find a color quickly, so you can get on with your stitching, it will also save you some money. You won’t end up buying duplicate thread! More importantly, organizing your stash promotes more stitching.
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How to Organize Embroidery Floss
Organizing your floss can be a major job, almost as involved as a challenging stitching project. This is especially true if you have a large amount of embroidery stash. But the benefits are worth the time invested.
Choosing a Storage Plan
Methods of floss storage vary, depending on how much floss you have and what works best for you. Do you mainly stitch with patterns that use symbols? Then you’ll need to have a system that stores floss according to numbers. If you stitch more by colors, then you’ll probably want to organize according to colors. Next, choose how to store your floss.
The easiest method is to just dump your floss into plastic containers. Although simple, this method makes it hard to keep your floss organized and threads can become entangled.
There are different ways to store your embroidery floss, including making bobbins that will safely hold, categorize and store your floss. The bobbins hold the floss together in a single area which can help reduce the number of tangles and knots found in improperly stored floss. Keeping your floss organized will help reduce the time it takes to search for the colors you need, giving you more time to create your embroidered masterpieces.
Made of either paper or plastic, bobbins provide a practical way to store cotton floss. To remove any crinkles from cotton floss, dampen or iron it. The downside is the time involved to wind each stein of floss around a bobbin. However, by using a floss winder you can speed up the process.
Pro Tip: Just don’t store metallic and blending filaments because these flosses can be damaged and crinkled.
After winding each stein around a bobbin, record the number of the color, using either labels or a permanent marker. Be sure the ink is dry before storing.
Once all your skeins of floss are wound around bobbins, decide how to store them. Many stitchers use plastic floss storage boxes, made especially for bobbins. The only problem is that these boxes hold only a limited amount of bobbins, so you would need several if you have a large stash collection.
For a while, I used shoeboxes and they work well in a pinch. You can even make dividers for them out of scrap cardboard and glue them in place. Use different shoeboxes for different brands of floss, colors, or number families to keep you from getting confused when working on your projects.
Using Plastic Bags
A plastic bag storage system is favored by most stitchers for several reasons. As your stash collection grows, you can easily add more skeins to a bag. Also, labeling is easy.
You can either label a bag using pen and masking tape or pre-numbered labels. Special bags are sold at many needlework stores or you can always use Ziploc bags.
Pro Tip: You can store your floss bags in binders. Use a hole punch to punch holes in them and place them in binders. You can also use a keychain-type ring to hold the bags of embroidery floss you’re using for a particular project together.
Using Dresser Drawers
Often stitchers gain a craft room, including dresser drawers, when grown children move out of the house.
Label each drawer according to number. For example, the first drawer may include numbers up to 400. The next drawer holds the 500s and 600s. With a typical six-drawer dresser you can even have an extra drawer for cross-stitch tools.
You can also choose to label by color instead if that system works for you.
Using Hardware Sorters
Instead of using the divided boxes that are specifically designed for floss, you can also sometimes pick up hardware sorters quite inexpensively. The only issue with them is that often the sections are generally not perfectly sized to hold floss on bobbins so bear that in mind.
Other Tips for Storing Your Embroidery Floss
If your system isn’t working, don’t be afraid to start over and find a new one. Having your floss organized is so important . It can mean the difference between giving up on stitching, settling for a jumbled mess taking up space in your closet, or continuing to enjoy a favorite hobby.