Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stitchers start your drills!

Or how I went from this:

to this:

in a lot less time than I thought I would. No, I didn't fill all these with the floss from the box but four of them are new.  As hard as it is to believe, I am missing 30 colors although I suspect if I dekitted? unkitted? some projects I would find them. I put an empty bobbin in the missing color's space so I won't have to rearrange the boxes when I finally get them.

WARNING:  The rest of this post is a long-winded explanation and discussion of using a portable drill to wind floss onto bobbins.

In my previous post I gave the history of the before box. I put off bobbinating, sorting and filing away because of the sheer amount of time it was going to take to wind bobbins, the lack of a good storage space for bags (another storage method I have tried) and probably a good amount of laziness.

While surfing the good ole web, I came across little lovelies blog post on organizing embroidery floss and knew I had found the answer to my floss problem. In case the link doesn't work, she purchased one of the bobbin winders that is designed to sit on the side of your floss box, took it apart and used the card holder part in the drill's chuck. Genius! Unfortunately, I couldn't find the one that I knew I had (it was probably thrown out in the general clean out when I last moved) but I thought that maybe I could (1) get started right away and (2) save a few dollars by putting the bobbin itself in the chuck:

It worked well, except I had to tighten and loosen the drill for every bobbin which was irritating. So I set off on a mission to find a bobbin winder (and run a bunch of other errands - I live too far away to just run into town to look for a bobbin winder). AC Moore and Joann Fabrics didn't have one - not even a space to show they stock them - but Hobby Lobby did (I didn't get as far as Michaels but little lovelies bought hers there. Oh and I will probably now find the one that I know I bought years ago). Here it is all taken apart, the pieces are just pressure fit together.

It is from Yarnology, the bright color is really good as I'll talk about later, and it cost $.99. It made all the difference in the world! I still had to push the little pin in to secure the bobbin, but that was so much easier than loosening and tightening the drill. Between the two methods, I was able to wind all the DMC (given the number of bobbins left and accounting for some misshapen ones, there were 612 skeins) in about 16 hours. That time encompasses the entire process from labeling the bobbin to sorting the finished bobbin into the sort bag - I had a plastic bag for each series of numbers and sorted into those to make sorting into the boxes easier.

So what did I learn (other than don't let this pile up again)?
  • Speed.  For both methods, find a speed you are comfortable with. Don't expect to go full throttle - it winds the bobbin super fast but you are looking for an even feed onto the bobbin, not a win at Le Mans (although I would love to drive just one lap).
  • Unlike little lovelies, I didn't unwind the skein first. When you take the labels off a skein there are two tails, grab the one on the bottom (the label in the picture is there for reference). Starting the winding with this one, I didn't have any major issues with tangles.
Blogger is flipping pictures on me again.
  • I had the drill on my craft table and just let the skein drop towards the floor - I think the weight of the floss helped keep it feeding straight and reduced tangles.
  • Despite the above, there will be tangles, but you can feel them forming and can stop the drill before they pull too tight.  I didn't have any that required screaming, yelling or throwing things and the majority released very easily. As a matter of fact, I have had worse tangles while hand winding.
  • Make sure you fully push the pin in! With the one I used, there was a bit of resistance when the pin was fully set.  But even if you do, there will be instances where the pin comes loose and it and your bobbin go flying. That is why I said the bright pink was a good color as it made it easy to find. 
  • Don't tug or pull the floss as it is winding. The amazing flying bobbin seemed to happen when I put too much tension on the floss as it was winding. You do need to put some tension on it, but you are mostly just guiding it back and forth to get an even feed.
  • Don't wrap your hand/fingers in the skein - that one I didn't do but The Hubs kept asking if I had cut any fingers off yet Isn't it great that he has so much confidence in me?
  • Unlike hand winding which calls for lots of mindless TV, you do have to pay attention - books on tape worked really well for me.
I can whole heartedly recommend the drill method.  It's not something I would use for a few skeins but if you have a bunch of floss that needs to be put on bobbins, grab the drill and go for it. 


Jan Jones said...

Congrats on getting so organized with your floss. I did mine the mindless hand winding way watching TV. Now all thats left to do is set up a spread sheet and take inventory!!! Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas ;-)

Linda said...

Thanks for the great info Susan.

Merry Christmas

Sasha said...

Thanks for that information!

Suz said...

I have so much floss, and I'm always so tempted by the bobbin-organizing system (I keep my full skeins in tool piece drawer/container/thingies), but the one time I bobbined, I hated it.

It's so pretty, though, when the threads is organized, and I just love the idea of using a drill for just about anything :P

Shebafudge said...

16 hours of floss winding? Wow! You have a lot more stamina than me, I would have given up long before. I think I will stick with my

Robin said...

Congratulations on getting your floss onto bobbins! Enjoy your weekend!

Robin in Virginia

Leonore Winterer said...

Wow, you got a lot of winding done there! Congrats on getting everything organized and set up! I have a lot less skeins to consider than that, but I might still steal bf's drill and give it a try ^_^

Brigitte said...

Wow, everything is looking so organized. I'm still hand-winding the skeins when I need them for a project that I kit up. But I have one set of DMC threads all wound up on bobbins which are stored in three tool boxes where the cardboard bobbins neatly fit in. And the unwound skeins are in plastic bags organized by the hundred numbers.