Organizing Tips

Organizing Tips

Happy and Healthy New Year to each of you.  I cannot believe another year has passed.  I think the speed of time is relative to your age.  When you are 15, you think you will never get to be able to drive, etc.  However, when you are, well more than 15, you know time flies.

I don't make resolutions any more.  Rather, I make promises to myself like - Gain 20 pounds - believe what politicians say - and my personal favorite - stay disorganized!

Because I am the most disorganized person I know, I am always looking for ways to spend less time looking for things.  I hear that the average person wastes approximately a year of his life looking for lost items.  That does not include the time spent waiting for our computers to go on to the next task!  If you embroider, your keys, the remote control and something to write on are for amateurs, looking for the right stabilizer, your favorite designs and the little things are the big wasters of our time. 

I want to spend my time creating.  I want to spend my time seeing interesting projects come to life.  Here are just a few things I have found that help me.  Some save time, some save space and I hope you find one or two that you can use.

This one won't change your life.  I need my straight pins and my needles as well.  Keeping them at hand but not in the way is difficult.  I got a magnetized holder and it does double duty. 

I put the needles at the base of the magnet. 

Then I use a piece of scrap stabilizer.  I use a piece that is firm so that everything stays separate.

Then, I put my pins on top.

Well, you see the results. 

No more looking for a needle in a haystack. 

The next one is a personal favorite of mine.  I think there are a lot more of these, I just keep thinking of more uses and I am sure you will as well.

There are multiple sizes of straws.  These straws are the medium size and the ones at the $1 stores are too small. 

The tips of our tools are very important.  Getting a good pair of scissors or tweezers is a challenge.  Protect them, if you don't still have the original protection sleeve, with a straw. The tweezers you see here are at least 50 years old but they are the best I have ever used.  They belonged to my mother and she sewed in the 50's and 60's but not since.  When she completed her mission in this world, everyone felt her basket of sewing supplies were worthless.  Some things were, but many have stood the test of time. 

The scissors shown are best for those very small places we have to snip.  Since I do words on wedding hankies, those small places are everywhere.  I also use an ‘Exacto Knife' (it comes with a good protector) for the really hard to remove clips.  The knife will just cut one end of the jump, so the scissors are needed to complete the clip


Straws are useful for bobbins and spools of thread.  My thread used to look like this -

Make no mistake - when thread is laying, banged or otherwise bumped against, you have damaged thread.  If you buy a thread spool that is obviously has a dent in the thread, that thread is damaged down many layers.  It may be flattened or have a slit in it and it will cause you trouble at your machine.  Even for practice, I don't use this spoiled thread.  If I am doing a ‘discovery sew' to determine my final project, ruined thread won't be useful there either.

I cut straws in half and this is what I got. If you don't have a thread stand, I recommend having one. BTW, the Conductor 20 and Conductor 10 are both on sale right now. Your machine is just part of the expense of this craft.  Thread is probably the next most costly and needs to be treated with care.

You can see that no matter what the size (not the really large cones) of the spool, there is now room for the matching bobbins.  These are great for doing free standing lace (fsl) and I know of one embroiderer who always uses the same bobbin thread as the top.  It really does make a difference on things like towels.  BTW, did you know that the towel industry says that - almost no one throws away towels?  Towels are used until they are worn, then they advance to all sorts of chores.  So, if you need a fund raising idea, towels are the best investment.  From cleaning to beaches, towels are as necessary as the air we breathe.

Here are some ideas for your extra bobbins, clips and ribbons as well. The lowly straw has many uses and I don't think modern technology will ever replace them!

Those clips are a nuisance to have in a drawer, even in a container.  When I put them on a straw, they are much easier to deal with.  I use the clips to attach the end of my ribbons to the edge of the spool.  Ribbons are like thread, they absolutely are loose and fancy free and need to be tamed.



Comments (10) -

I love the straw idea for covering your sharp tools.  Very clever!

Nancy in Grand Rapids, MI

nice post, thank you!

Thank you ladies!

I do take care of my equipment and scissors are important for good projects.  I have multiple scissors that I use for cutting whatever, but my embroidery types of scissors are treated like the important tools they are.

Bobbins are the most messy.  I do a lot of FSL and still don't have a clever way to keep them tidy.  Since I have a place to keep them, that does help.  I may just snip the excess thread but then, it seems to return.

If someone knows a way to really hold bobbin thread, please advise.  I have multiple bobbin holders but the thread is the issue.  

One thing that I did try was to use 1/8" ribbon and tie it snugly but not tight around the bobbin.  That does work more or less but it is a lot of time to do a lot of bobbins.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

The baby-sized stretchy pony-tail holders fit around a bobbin beautifully and are easy to put on.  I've also read that 1/2" cuts of 1/2" diameter (or whatever size fits your bobbin best) clear vinyl tubing, slit on one side, fit around a bobbin easily.  I've tried the pony-tail holders, haven't tried the tubing yet.

i made an 'APRON' for under my machine. pockets hang down in front of the table and the machine sits on the top. i have pockets for each of my scissors and i put the scissors on "leashes." i sewed a piece of ribbon through the handle and i pin the other end to my "apron." the ribbon is long enough to let me use them at the machine, but short enough to keep them from hitting the floor if i drop them.......NO DAMAGE from tips hitting the floor. the bonus is you don't have to get the scissors off the floor..........just pull them in with the ribbon!!

pat71896.....i use bobbin buddies. they are a pink rubber that fits in the bobbin to contain the thread.

here is one site.......">

another idea is the little ponytail holders for little girls. they just fit in the bobbin.

I found a post on Pinterest for bobbins which has changed my life.

3/4" clear tubing from home depot.

cut small 1/4" slices and then cut open clip over bobbin and viola. you can see the color and no more thread all over.

tourlady522 1/24/2014 9:01:13 PM

Pat I can not thank you enough for the straw trick.

I have a bobbin winder and the spindle is too small for the larger spools so I just tried to wind one with the straw in place and it worked. Thank you ever so much.

Bonnie Abbot


Bonnie, if you are using the Sidewinder, check the spool pin to see if it will extend.  This can be easily overlooked and then the thread spool wobbles when the winding is initiated.

bmck97004  I keep hearing about those mini ponytail holders but just cannot find them.  I will keep looking.

stichnRN  I love the apron idea.  That also will keep the scissors where they belong, not in the kids room cutting various sticky and unruly things!

lmays  Clear tubing sounds really great and the size/costs are terrific too!  Going to do that one for sure.  It will go well on the spool rack.

tourlady522 Great to hear from you Bonnie, we see each other here and there on the Net!   I had the same problem with my bobbins because the machine I was using was the wrong format size.  I did not think about the straw!  I enjoy how we learn and share ideas here at AnnTheGran.

Pattiann  - I gave away my Sidewinder for the same reason (size) issues.  I don't remember seeing that adjustment, but it does make sense that the manufacturer would do that.  I will have to look at one the next time I am at the store.

You all are terrific for sharing your thoughts and letting others in on your ideas.  I love doing this blog!!

ps:  Please don't click on the link just below the first photo.  It found its way to my pc and now I cannot get it off.  If you need to uninstall it, you can do so via your uninstall feature for your PC and Operating System.  If you still have trouble, email me and I will send you their email to get their uninstall program.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours, Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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