Thursday, 17 April 2014

Three Minutes On Thursday #11 - Ripping Yarns

3-minutes [3]

This will be my last TMOT post for a while. I’m busy sorting out my sewing and craft room at the minute [it will be needed as a guest bedroom frequently in the next few weeks] so I thought I’d share some hints and tips on organising supplies.


Balls of wool are fine when they are new, but at the end of a project, the remaining yarn can easily collapse into a tangle. Make sure you wind the wool neatly into a tidy ball. But do not pull the wool tightly – that will take all the life and bounce from the yarn.

woolThere is an easy to follow guide here. My own practice is to wind 10 times in one direction, then turn through 90º and wind 10 more, then through 90º again – thus I am winding front to back, side to side, and ‘round the equator’. That gives me an evenly shaped ball.

If you are troubled by balls of wool rolling under the sofa, or being attacked by the cat, keep them in a wool holder. In my youth, Grannies had strange beehive shaped containers. You can still buy plastic wool holders - or you can simply recycle an empty wipes box.


wool holder


Don’t let your embroidery floss get into a tangle. The plastic storage boxes are not too expensive and usually come with a set of ‘floss bobbins’ – or make your own from cardboard.

dmcstore box

floss cardshomemade cardsIf you do rewind the skeins, my tip is to get into the habit of copying the DMC shade number from the paper band onto the card [whether it is a pristine white bobbin, or a piece cut from an old Christmas card or cereal packet]

I don’t do much stitching from fancy charts nowadays, but knowing the shade colour is helpful if you want to match up some 702 Kelly Green anytime [that colour pops up frequently in Christmas Charts I have noticed] Don’t forget too, if you are making your own bobbins, to cut 2 slits, for the start and end of the thread, to stop it unwinding and tangling.


If you store bias binding or ribbon wrapped on cards, make a note of the length. It saves a lot of time [and unwinding] if the card says “1.5 metres”

I usually tuck in the end of the tape, or slip it through a slit in the card- pins have a nasty habit of rusting, marking or leaving large holes.


Finally, whether you are up there with Heather, Tamara and Chinello, as a potential GBSB finalist, or just someone who replaces the occasional loose button, never despise those mini sewing kits. You know, the ones that come in the bedside drawers in some hotels, or in Christmas crackers, or as wedding favours for lady guests [I always regard that as rather sexist, actually!] Now you have decluttered your purse of all those reward cards [like this] you will have room to tuck one of these little marvels in there. Or put one in the pocket in your filofax, or in that little pocket inside your handbag or laptop case. Because they really are incredibly useful.

  • the safety pin can help when there is a zip malfunction
  • the needle is useful for removing splinters, adjusting the time on a watch [or car clock]
  • a piece of thread can often hold things together without actually needing to be stitched.
  • I used my kit to mend a friend’s spectacles once – she had lost the tiny screw holding the arm – and the fine needle went through the hole, and I was able to sew the arm in place temporarily till she could get to the opticians.

Keeping threads, tapes and yarns tidy means they will be usable for future projects. Happy stitching!


  1. An interesting post Ang, now if only I could find an easily accessible way of storing meters of fabric & bin bags full of yarn, I too could tidy my spare room, lol.

    1. My YARN may be tidy - but my FABRIC stash is still a WIP!

  2. Putting the length of ribbon or binding on the card is a brilliant idea, thank you.

    When I first started secondary school I was tiny and a bit of a geek, so prime fodder for bullying. I was in the cloakroom one day and some of the "mean girls" from a higher year were in there. One of them was complaining that they'd broken their zip. My mum had made me take a mini sewing kit into school so I offered her a safety pin. I never had any problems with them after that, even though they laughed at me for having the sewing kit, ha!

  3. You are right about the yarn. I know I should sort mine out, but I never do! As a result my yarn bag resembles a multi-coloured bird's nest! Lesley x


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