Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Aurifil Artisan Alyce Blyth of Blossom Heart Quilts to Auribuzz to talk about the ever important thread stash and to share her thread storage tricks. Thanks so much, Alyce!
We often joke about the size of our fabric stashes, and certainly our families like to tease us about the piles of fabric everywhere! But our thread collections also grow with time, and while spools are smaller than fat quarters, it’s important to keep them organized so that we can find what we need.
Storing The Stash
We’ve all seen the beautiful, color-ordered thread rack hanging on the wall, or a pegboard. It certainly looks amazing, but there are three drawbacks to that option – dust, sunlight, and rental properties. Dust and sunlight are the enemies of our sewing spaces! Settling on our machine, fading our fabrics. And our threads aren’t immune to it either. Plus those of us in rental properties, or in a space where you can’t hang anything on the walls, it just isn’t an option.
Storing your Aurifil threads in plastic containers is a great way to solve all of those problems. It keeps the spools neatly organized and protected from the elements, and easily stack on a nearby shelf or inside a drawer.
I have a set of Ikea Alex drawers under my sewing desk (replacing the legs at one end), and the taller drawers are perfectly sized to store my containers of thread. I have two Aurifil thread cases stacked at the back – one with the neutrals, and one with large spools of different weights and some spares.
At the front, I have two containers I bought from Daiso a few years ago with 40w and 50w spools, loosely sorted into two halves of the rainbow. A tin holds my Carolyn Friedlander set of 80w threads, and finally, a Clover bobbin holder with the all the matching bobbins. All up? That’s over 85 spools safely and neatly organized, in one small drawer.
Plastic containers can be as fancy (and pricey!) as specially designed spool containers available at big box craft stores, or as simple (and cheap) as ones from your supermarket or local cheap store. Measure the space you want to place them in, and take those measurements and a few spools out shopping to find what best suits your needs.
On The Go
However, our spools don’t always stay in our sewing space. If you have any hand-sewing projects that you take out and about, it’s important to still look after our threads.
One option is a zippered pouch. I’m currently adding some hand quilting touches to my Tula Pink City Sampler quilt (although not for the past few months during Aussie summer!), so I keep the thread colors together with my needle book and a pair of scissors in a zippered pouch. In between stitching, it’s stored in my thread drawer, and that way I can quickly grab it and take it to wherever I’m stitching that day.
Another option is a tin. This one contains all my English paper piecing supplies, and is from Fat Quarter Shop. It perfectly fits in a few small spools, a needle minder and needle, some Clover clips, and scissors or a thread cutter. Aurifil shared it in action on their Instagram during QuiltCon!
The key to storing threads for when you’re on the go is to keep it simple. Choose a solution that allows you to store all your supplies in one easy container, and you’ll never be missing an important supply again.
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Alyce started quilting mid-2011, when her husband had seen her reading a lot about quilting and told her to stop reading and start doing. He bought her a little $100 Elna, and her life started down a whole new path! With a whole lot of experimenting and assistance from blogs, Alyce taught herself to quilt stitch by stitch, project by project.
Moving to Japan with her family in May 2012 gave her the chance and the space to really focus on quilting, both at the sewing machine and on the computer by starting Blossom Heart Quilts. With her background in primary school teaching, it was no surprise that she soon found her passion in writing tutorials to share what she had learned.
Designing her own quilts was something that started early, once she realised that it was the ultimate puzzle – mixing geometry with colour and fabric! That and being able to see something go from an idea, to a sketch, to a finished product. The journey to design quilt patterns was a natural extension of that quilt math love combined with the ability to teach others.
Through all of those processes, Alyce also discovered her love of writing. This lead to exciting opportunities such as becoming a columnist for Make Modern and a Craftsy blogger, which gave her the confidence to tackle a dream of hers – to write a book. DIY Block Design was released in August 2015 as an ebook, providing the knowledge, maths and tutorials needed to empower quilters to design and make their own quilt blocks.
Very good information. I am glad to know that I am finally doing something right for a change.
I live in two houses. How should I be storing my threads in my Arizona house when I leave for the summer. We keep our AC turned to 90 but that’s quite warm. Is there anything I should do to help lengthen the life of my spooled threads waiting to be used? On the other hand, Is there anything I should do with the thread spools in my northern house that often gets down to 60 when I am not there? Can warmth and dryness of AZ or the cold of the north ruin or weaken my threads? Taking them all with me is not an option; either I or my threads would need to be left behind.
I too, am a fan of the sets of plastic drawers. I sort my Aurifil Threads by colour regardless of weight. I am a fibre artis who likes to threadpaint a lot so I have a lot of threads in many different weights and fibres. I like to stitch at Mach 4 most of the time to it is important that my thread be as fuss-free as possible. I keep a dryer sheet in each drawer to eliminate static. Same goes for my travel kit. Running the thread through the dryer sheet before hand stitching works as thread “lube” if my Thread Heaven is MIA.
it’s hilarious how I rummage through my thread drawer looking for a partucular color..not to mention noisey…organizing it is going to be my next project..thanks so much..
I am looking for a way to keep my matching bobbins with my spools in some type of container. If anyone has any good ideas I’d love to see them!
Is it best to leave the plastic wrap that surrounds the spool on it until ready for use? Thank you for your time.
My husband put shelves in the closet in my sewing room and I planned one wall around storage for my thread. I have plastic boxes that have 22 slots on each side for individual spools and 1 slot in center that will hold 2 spools. Each container will hold 48 spools and the bobbin with the thread. They will hold numerous spools of small thread. I use tubing from my local hardware store (I cut with a tubing cutter to fit inside the bobbin and slit it open to go around thread) on my bobbins and drop them in slot with thread. If you go on retreat they work well, remove some thread and you can put pins, clips rippers, buttons, small snipers, etc. in the slots and they have a handle to carry. I have a stack-able draw set from container store that I use for extra large spools and cones that will not fit in containers. Also have real small packs of desiccant that I toss in the containers with the thread as I live in an area with very high humidity. I don’t leave the plastic wrap on my thread, don’t know if it is right or wrong just my preference, I like to see it without wrapper when I open container looking for certain color.