Among Brenda's Quilts


As a bag and quilt pattern designer, I have favorite notions that I use when designing, sewing, quilting and pressing. I also teach classes, so I have an opportunity to see how these tools perform for people with a wide variety of skills and experience. Add to that the feedback from quilt shops that run classes, and these tools have been thoroughly tested in real life! Now, one by one, I'm sharing my favorite notions with you!


Embroidery Thread Box

Is your shop in a tangle?


When I head over to my local quilt shop to get some machine quilting done, selecting the correct thread color from their vast collection of variegated and solid color threads is a time consuming experience. The box containing all the spools of thread is hauled out and the owner and I paw through it to find likely choices. Then those colors are unwound and laid on the quilt to get some idea of how they might look crossing the different fabric colors that make up the quilt.


Although I don’t really mind this helter-skelter process it has always seemed to me there might be a better, quicker and less tangled way of working through the thread selection. This past summer while teaching in Beaverlodge, Alberta at the Around the Block Quilt Shop, I noticed what owners Fay and Lyle Sipe did to streamline the whole thread picking process.


An organized method of thread selection


Fay uses an embroidery thread storage box to organize her many thread colors. Each thread color is hand wound on one of the plastic bobbins. The corresponding thread color number is written on the bobbin with a Sharpie™ marker. When a quilt comes in for machine quilting, a length of each likely thread color is unwound to preview them against the quilt. The color number is quickly and accurately noted on the customer’s purchase order.


Save yourself the headache of having quilted a project using the wrong thread color.


With Fay's method,because there’s only a little thread on each bobbin there is no temptation to use up the sample when you run out of a color, something I’m sure happens when partial spools of thread are stored in a box. This keeps all the available colors handy, and lessens the possibility of missing out on the perfect thread color because it’s been all used up.


This method also prevents having to depend on those paper stock number circles on the ends of spools, which often go missing or get mixed up between colors. I’m especially thinking of the spools that have the snap spool feature.


The perfect storage box for thread organization


This box is easily stored with its snap down lid. You’ll never have to worry about your box of spools falling from the counter again, un-spooling all over a busy shop floor.


If you are a home machine quilter this is a good way of remembering all the colors available to you. Just unwind a few feet of each color onto one of the bobbins after you bring them home. If you run out of that particular color in future it will be easy to just take your bobbin over to the local quilt shop to purchase more of the shade you need.


These boxes are available at craft stores, hobby stores, and needlecraft shops. Give this method a try and let me know how it works for you!


© Brenda Miller


Written by Brenda Miller — September 22, 2015


I'm Brenda, and I love designing patterns that help you create beautiful, functional bags and quilts.

These patterns are unique, well-illustrated, simple to follow, and fun to sew.

We also carry my own line of bag zippers, finished designer bags, bag hardware kits, specialty fabrics, and notions, so you're able to easily find what you need to do a superb job on all of your ABQ projects.

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