Thursday, November 22, 2012

Handling lots of different colored floss

A few years ago, I finished up Angel of Cross Stitch. She had, I believe, 391 colors of DMC floss in the whole project. One of the big questions I got from other stitchers was about managing my thread. How did I organize it? Did I use one needle or several needles threaded with different colors? Well, with that project I just pulled my boxes of DMC floss (I keep it on cardboard bobbins in plastic boxes) out and stacked them on the ottoman in front of me and pulled out what I needed as I needed it.

But Baby Ghosts is different. I only have to deal with 73 colors, most of which need one skein or less with a few needing two or three skeins and then 16 skeins of black floss. So how do I keep the colors straight? First, I decided to buy fresh floss for the whole project. It will take a long time and it drives me crazy when a color is unavailable because it's stuck in another project. I also won't have to worry about little dye lot changes. Then I looked at how the colors were used on my chart. I saw that most of the colors were used in either large areas or over multiple areas of the chart. That means that I'll need most of my colors easily available for the entire project. I have a number of the size 26 needles I'm using for this project in my stash and can get more quite inexpensively in bulk from my local needlework shop, so I can have a threaded needle for each color.

I bought some bobbins and rings. Each thread color except black goes on a bobbin. Each bobbin is marked with both the DMC number and the chart symbol. Then the floss is put on the big rings in the same order as they are on the chart. I pulled out my Pako needle organizer and will use that for all the colors except black. I have a second Pako I'll have to use since each only holds fifty needles. When I use a color for the first time, that threaded needle will go into the correct opening on the Pako. I have the green tomato pincushion for the black floss.

By cutting down on the time needed to find and change out my thread, I hope to have this project move along a little faster. All the needed floss is in one place in a form that's easy for me to find when I need it. In the meantime, the scotch has worn off and I've come to my senses. Someday has come but it's gone as well. So this project is going back in my kitted projects while I finish up my more urgent WIPs. I want to complete "To Honor Elsa" and then get "Cleopatra's Cat" finished in time to send it in for evaluation.


  1. I love big projects however the amount of colours that need to be organised do put me off sometimes, as that is my one of my weakness - organisation!

  2. I have never heard of Pako needle organizer. Oh my goodness I have to get some of these. My project I'm working on it taking extra time due to constantly changing threads in 2 needles. Wow thank you for sharing how you organize all the threads & needles. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
    love Annette

  3. Thank you for sharing your floss organization! I have thought about using a Pako needle organizer but never bought one. Too bad the scotch wore off! LOL