Open Line Friday


Crayon and Pencil QuiltGood Morning, Quilters!  Welcome to Open Line Friday….Everyone asks–Everyone answers.

Today I have a special request from one of our French friends:

We had a very bad time in France recently ( people killed, a satiric
news paper  and a shop were attacked)
and  I made a small quilt …
I had the idea , to sew, embroider,  or quilt, a pencil , somewhere on
all our works in 2015, to remember and agains obscurantism …
would you share this ?
You can see the whole Crayon and Pencil quilt and read more at
I think we’d all be happy to support our friend!


Thank you to all who participated last week.  We had a very informative discussion on creating Raffle Quilts that Sell…


January is the traditional month for organizing and planning…and that includes our sewing room!

Let’s give our threads  a little attention…a quick re-organization, and culling…

Organizing ThreadI’ve had several organizational systems for my threads over the years.

For a long time, I organized by color.

Later, I organized by purpose:  hand quilting, machine quilting, etc.

Organizing ThreadAfter experimenting with several organizational systems, the method I now recommend is to organize by FIBER.  Separate boxes for :  Cotton, Polyester, Rayon, Silk, Specialty Threads.  Within each box, group the threads by weight, clustering 30 wt, 40 wt, and 50 wt together.

Organizing Thread

One of my goals for 2015 is to experiment with different threads.  You will be hearing a lot about threads this year…so let’s start with a clean slate!

What about YOU?  How do YOU organize YOUR threads…

We’d love to hear!


You might also like:  Taking a Thread Inventory HERE.

PS…All images, information and tutorials are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!


43 thoughts on “Open Line Friday

  1. Rosemary B here:
    First off, that is an amazing quilt with the words.
    That horrible occurrence, I believe, is not the end. we will see more of this
    When our administration talks about immigration — we are really looking at a problem with both of our borders. Eh-hem, enough of that.

    My thread is not messy, … but certainly not neat and tidy like yours.
    I have kitty boys that roam at will (which I love with guilt, as I did indeed take over their favorite space) in MY sewing area, so that means I have to check for little things like thread, bobbins (Miles’ favorite) pins, and other temptations.
    I keep my thread in three drawers, but they are not easy to view.
    My bobbins are in neat little boxes in my sewing desk drawers.
    Happy Friday, Lori. Enjoy this tiny bit of warmer air, where ever you are. Hopefully Spring is right around the corner haha 😀

  2. I have three drawers with threads. I separate them by purpose first. Machine sewing, quilting in one drawer and embroidery threads in the other two. Then within the drawers I separate by color and by type and weight. it works for me.

  3. Perfect topic, Lori! I need help with this and have been looking for thread storage cases to replace the inefficient one I have. I like the one pictured. Would love to know who makes it, and if anyone has other suggestions.

  4. Sorry, I was asking about the last one pictured. I like that the sides of the spools show instead of the tops. This is what I have been wanting.

    • There is a plastic box made for storing the little collector toy cars that is perfect for the embroidery spools in the last picture. I bought mine at Walmart , but I haven’t seen them for awhile. Maybe at a hobby store. The price was half of the ones made just for thread.

  5. I have several areas for thread. I have a drawer for all purpose sewing, one for quilting, machine embroidery and one for my hand embroidery. Then I have them sorted by color in each of those areas. Sort of keeps me organized.

  6. My threads are “semi” organized. Serger spools are all in a bottom drawer, regular thread, cotton thread is in a rack on the wall, also more on another part of the wall, the shiny embroider threads are in a storage container and believe it or not, in a fisherman’s chest.
    I have a question about the rayon thread. How long is rayon thread good for?
    I like the idea of organizing my thread. Lori, I really appreciate your blog. It is the first thing I look at every morning.

  7. That is interesting Lori I have so far organised my threads like that cotton, polyester etc, but I do have a separate box for my Isocord as that is what my Juki machine likes best.

  8. I organize my small cotton spools in matchbox car plastic containers by color, one for each. I have wood turntable type for the bigger spools of thread and on the wall in my sewing room I actually have row upon row of wood thread holders by June Taylor that can go on the wall or stand up on any surface. My thread is like an artists palette and so I literally have hundreds of colors, weights, materials and types.

  9. I have all my quilting threads in one box sorted by color. I keep my piecing threads in a drawer right by my machine. I struggle with bobbins….any suggestions on how to keep them in order????

      • I have a couple of bobbin savers. They are a donut style ring that fits the bobbins perfectly, they never fall out, and bobbin tails can be buried in the saver instead of unwinding all over. They are perfect and cost approximately $10.

    • I bought some nifty little plastic U-shaped pins to connect my bobbin to the thread, which is helpful when using the same thread for the front and back when machine quilting. Unfortunately, they don’t fit well in a thread case, so haven’t found the perfect solution yet but at least I can now keep bobbin and thread together.

  10. I do not use a ton of different types of threads, but I do use a lot of Isacord for free motion quilting, and Connecting Threads cotton thread for piecing. Each spool, once opened goes into a small ziploc bag, (the kind sold for beaders in the craft store) and stored WITH the bobbin in the same bag. This way, I know that that black bobbin and that black thread are the same. I have 2 large drawers in my cutting table and they go into separate drawers so I just have to pull open the drawer of the thread I need and look for the right color.

    Thank you so such a great blog!

  11. From years of sewing clothes my mercerized cotton of every shade of every color are in cute jars I got at Walmart and spray painted the lids to match my sewing room. They are all seperated by color. As I gathered specialty threads when I started quilting not all the long ago I sort by purpose and are in a big plastic case picked up at JoAnn’s. Grouping by weight is a good idea…I just combed through them to find what I wanted for my nephews quilt I have ready to quilt this morning. They stand upright so helps to read the label. The spools with the big cardboard like spool in the middle I write with a marker weight and color code because the paper on the ends pops off so easy and then I’m guessing.
    I didn’t experiment with too many threads til I found your blog and it gave me some direction…I’m learning lots and see the difference in the outcome of my quilting. 🙂 Thanks for sharing !

      • If you’ve been on IG today you’ll see I’m having a slight focus issue…haha! But how does tomorrow sound! I love sorting and organizing but I admit…get stuck sometimes on which way is best. I just try one and if it isn’t working…try something else! 🙂 I’ll come work on your basement and you can come here and quilt my nephews football quilt…how does that sound! LOL!

  12. When I was only piecing I had no problem, using only light gray. Then I started doing my own quilting and now I have matching colors for quilting and binding. So far I hace separated hand quilting thread from regular thread. (I’ll have to do a little hand quilting to use it up). I end up with a partial bobbin to go with left over thread. For now I have them in baggies together. Trouble with that is I run out of bobbins.

    Al this to say my system isn’t the best.

  13. I sort by color not weight or fiber. I do attach any filled bobbins to the spool with a pipe cleaner. I picked up that tip a few years ago, and it works for me. So sad for the good people of France and our global community. Let’s work together to show that good triumphs over evil!

  14. I was looking for the weight of some threads and couldn’t find it! I have embroidery Rayons, and poly, cotton for quilting, previously sorting by colour. Still not enough of my own experience to make a preference on thread type. I am having a tension issue with the zigzag. I’ve tried changing the numbers, bigger, smaller, but they all have “train”tracks. I think we were supposed to use the same colour in the bobbin? Good thing I’ve only stitched one line!

    • We will be talking a lot more about threads: weights, fibers, ply in the next couple of weeks. Put any thread without a weight listed to one side…maybe we will be able to sleuth it out before the end of our Mystery Quilt….also, I am currently writing a post about the dreaded, three-headed monster: TENSION. It will be out later this month…still working on it…My first thought is your bobbin tension is off. Try changing your needle and re-threading–both top and bobbin. Also, if you prefer, just stitch a gently wavy line…

      • I tried changing the bobbin, lower and lower, and voila! No tracks!…. You’d think the zigzag would gradually improve, but it will take me more than this quilt to feel confident! But I still have 6 lines A-F to try!

  15. First, I will be making a wall hanging to put in my window for all to see. Now, my question is, several places list serger thread and quilting/piecing threads as the same wt and content so if I organize my threads by wt. should I keep all these threads together? I keep my embroidery threads separate as well as the cotton and the poly. I have a new workshop and this has been a predicament for me. Thank you for your help.

    • I recommend that you store your serger thread separately. Even if it is the same weight, it is not usually the same quality–as it is intended to be combined with two or three other threads to do its job. It is a weaker and inferior thread–fine for serging, but I would never use it for anything else! I like the idea of separating cotton and poly, but consider dipping into those thread stashes for free motion quilting as well as for embroidery.

  16. 99% of my thread is organized by color and placed in the organizers that you have pictured in your last picture. The ones that I use the most are in a small plastic container. What I have the most trouble with is not organizing my thread but the bobbins that have thread left on them. I would like to keep them with the same color of thread but as of now I have no way to do this. I tried the bobbin savers from Missouri Quilt but they do not work with my aurifill thread. Ugh. What do you all do?

  17. I like empty bobbins, so I wind bobbins for each project, and then, if it is piecing weight, I use it up on the next quilt, or when fmq on a charity quilt. When I start a new fmq project, I have 5-10 empty bobbins that I can wind right away. If it is an odd thread that I won’t be using soon, I’ll rewind it onto the spool.

  18. I have thread in lots of places. I have thread from my grandmother that is at least 40 years old. I suppose you would suggest I toss it all…I do use it when I need that color if it passes my breakage test. I culled a lot of it a few years back when I realized a lot of it was rotted useless. If I couldn’t break it with my bare hands, I kept it. The quilts and other items are still hanging together. Over the years I have moved all my threads between various containers. I do like the flat ones pictured above for sewing thread. I currently have a rotating tower with spokes for spools and bobbins for the more frequent used sewing thread – not good for the larger spools of quilting thread that my Sweet 16 uses. Those are currently in a tote bag next to the machine hoping for a better location. I miss the wooden spools.

  19. I have one of those matchbox car cases – one side is cotton, the other is rayon, kind of sorted by color. My junky old polyester is in a 1970’s era harvest gold thread case that I think I inherited from my grandmother. When I have a bobbin with thread left, I stash it in the matchbox with the thread.

  20. Freedom of speech is so important to democracies. The pencil idea is great. Je suis Charlie.
    My threads are organized by color within each kind: polyesters, cotton, silk, metallics. Each kind has its own rack, some big and some small.

  21. I have threads in multiple plastic boxes organized by type and size. I am usually looking for a specific type of thread —both weightwise and sheen-wise when quilting. My regular piecing thread lives in the draws of my machine cabinets.

    The idea of a pencil is fascinating. I am curious what the meaning of the quilter’s colours are. Hopefully she will explain all. I have been thinking about how to put a personal symbol in my projects—now maybe I need to put in two—the crayon and my personal identifier.

  22. To free up bobbins, I use them as “top thread”. As long as color value is similar to quilt pieces, the hue doesn’t matter much. Old bobbins of rayon thread will be curly when pulled off–stash them in glass jar for 3-D “”hair” on art projects!

  23. I’m a little (okay a LOT) silly about my thread. It is sorted as to purpose, weight, then color. There are no loose ends, no frayed ends, no puddle-ing pools. If I can see the spool, it goes into a “for hand work” box. And of course there are the Bobbins. Those pesky, slippery, rolling-under-the-table, necessary little a-tension getters. I have them sorted by machine, weight, and color. Like many Sewist/Quilters, I have “THE BOX”. The one where the SUPER SPECIAL threads hide. I will open it and peek inside from time to time. I close it quickly, hoping the specialness didn’t leak out, knowing I need to save it for that project that will change the face of mankind.

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