Skeins of embroidery floss can be hard to manage. Left to their own devices, skeins can become a tangled mess. The wrappers slip off so you no longer know what color is what, and you may have to go searching for ends hidden inside the skein.
One of the best solutions out there for managing your embroidery floss stash, is to wind skeins on floss bobbins. It's quick and easy, and also totally satisfying. A box full of thread bobbins sorted by color is a sight to behold, and sure to spur all sorts of stitchy inspiration!
Here's how to do it.
Using a bobbin winder
You can wind bobbins by hand, but it goes much faster with a bobbin winder which is specifically designed for winding embroidery floss. Bobbin winders are inexpensive and well worth having.
Bobbin winders have a crank that spins a cardboard or plastic bobbin as you wind floss around it. The bobbin is attached the winder using a small peg. Notches on the bottom of the bobbin winder allow it to perch upright on the edge of a bobbin box.
To use a bobbin winder, first remove the peg that holds the bobbin. Insert a bobbin into the slot, lining up the hole on the bobbin with the hole in the winder. Reinsert the peg to secure the bobbin.
The bobbin winder is designed with notches at the base that allow it to perch upright on the edges of a standard plastic bobbin box. This keeps the winder stable as you use it.
If you don't have a plastic bobbin box, the winder will also fit on the edge of a cardboard box as long as the cardboard isn't too thick. You can also hold it in one hand as you wind with the other, but this may take some practice!
Pull about 15 inches of thread loose from a skein of embroidery floss. Lay the end of the floss along one side of the bobbin and manually wrap the floss a few times around the card to secure the end.
Tip: When pulling embroidery floss from the skein, it's important to pull from the right end to avoid a tangled mess. Learn more in this blog post: How to pull embroidery floss from a skein without knotting.
Hold the skein in one hand as you turn the crank with to other. Keep a light tension on the thread so that it stays snug to the bobbin as it winds, but don't pull too tight. Continue winding until the skein is fully wound. Insert the end of the thread through the other slot on the bobbin to secure it, and remove from the winder.
Labeling your bobbins
Embroidery thread bobbins are available in either heavy cardboard or plastic. It is a good idea to label the bobbin with the color number (and thread type if you use different brands like DMC and Anchor). You can write the color number on the top of the bobbin using a pen or marker, or pick up a pack of pre-printed stickers for all the DMC colors.
Storing and organizing
Wound bobbins can be stored in plastic bobbin boxes. Boxes designed specifically for this purpose also usually have a compartment large enough to store the winder. You can organize the bobbins by color number or by hue, whichever makes sense to you. A DMC color card can be useful when organizing your thread.
When pulling bobbins for a particular project, you can put them on metal binder rings to keep them all together and handy. Rings come in various sizes, with smaller rings being perfect for small projects, and larger rings for larger ones.
Inspired to organize your embroidery floss stash? We have all the tools you need in the Stitched Modern shop!