Last week we talked about storage solutions for the sewing room and I shared some interesting ideas I use in my room. Since I mostly focused on fabric and larger supply storage last week, this post will cover some interesting ways to store smaller quilting tools with re-purposed everyday household items, as well as their uses in other quilting tasks! Share your thoughts and comments about this subject and be entered into the drawing for my new pattern, Star Crossed Scraps. Now on to the fun!
How do you store bobbins? Do you have one of these?
This is a great item for storing bobbins for later use. But, if you do not have one or you can’t find one, here’s a few ideas for bobbin storage using things from around the house.
TIP #1: Grab some golf tees. Yes, you heard me right! Golf tees! If you have golfers in the house, I bet you find them everywhere… clothing pockets, in the car, etc. You would think I would have thought of this sooner with all the golf tees lying around my house! So here’s what you do. Match the bobbin with the thread and join them together using the golf tee as shown below. Then you can store them in a drawer together. No more searching for the bobbin that matches the thread you want to use!
TIP #2: If you are like me, you have a lot of empty prescription bottles around the house. If you don’t or can’t recycle them, you can use them to store bobbins! You can use several bottles and store filled bobbins by color. This is a good way to stock up and store the filled bobbins you need for your current or future projects.
TIP #3: For the final bobbin storage tip, you can head over to the nail care section of the big box store. Look for those toe separators used for pedicures. These foam separators work great as a storage solution:
The bobbins fit into the slots and these can be stacked neatly in your sewing draw. Once again, you can separate the bobbins by color and have a separate toe separator for each color. I bet you never thought this was an alternate use for these!
Threads and Needles
If you do not have a special spindle attachment on your machine for large thread cones, make your own from a large canning jar.
The jar above already had a cover with an opening where the thread could come out. I made sure the edges were smooth by filing and sanding them so my thread would not break. But if your jar does not have a cover like this, you can make one from some cardboard:
The cardboard “top” can be taped on two sides to hold it down while the thread is in use.
Remember the prescription bottle from above? Well, you can also use these to store needles that still have some use left in them. You can mark on the outside of the bottle how many “hours” of stitching is left because remember, needles do wear out and need to be changed!
This is also a great way to dispose of used needles so they don’t poke out of a trash bag. Once the whole bottle is filled, just toss it out. Just be sure to mark it as the used needle bottle so you don’t accidently pull a needle from here to stitch a project.
Speaking of needles… do you have trouble threading your machine needle? If you are lucky enough to have an automatic threader on your machine, that’s great! But if you don’t, use this handy trick. Place a bright colored piece of paper, like this post-it note, behind the needle for a better view of the eye!
Notice how the needle eye is barely visible in the first photo above and how the bright paper in the second photo makes the eye more visible for easy threading.
So now for some random quilting hacks using household stuff. Are you looking for a way to corral that piece of fusible web? My solution is to use an empty paper towel tube.
I simply roll my piece of fusible web and slide it into the tube. This makes the fusible easy to store in my drawer with the added benefit of no creases from folding!
Here’s a tip on keeping your snipping scissors close at hand while you are hand stitching:
Grab an extra long ball chain next time you are in the craft store and make a scissor necklace. Now you will not be hunting everywhere for your scissors while you are stitching.
Finally, do you have small scraps of batting that you just feel you can’t throw away but they’re too small for a project? You can actually use those to pick up threads off the floor by your cutting table and sewing machine, if you have a hard floor surface in the room!
To save your back and your vacuum, use a yard stick to push the piece of batting around across the floor. It’s a great thread collector! Once the piece is so full of thread that it won’t pick up any more, then I don’t feel too bad throwing it away.
OK, that’s all for this week. Like I said above, share your fun quilting hacks using everyday items in the comments. You will be entered in the ongoing drawing for a copy of my new pattern, Star Crossed Scraps.
The drawing will be on Monday, December 6th. Good luck! **We have a winner! Congrats, Katherine Selee!**
Donna S says
Love the idea about using the yard stick to reduce bending while gathering loose threads off the floor. Thanks.
Thanks so much for sharing your tips! Love the toe separators for bobbins and the paper towel tube for rolling fusible webbing. Can think of many other ideas for these also.
Katherine Selee says
Good morning! Your recycling ideas are excellent. I have one more idea I have found to be useful. I use a plastic dough scraper for corralling small pieces of thread and fabric I have cut off when I am squaring up blocks on my cutting mat. You can easily scoop them into the garbage can using this tool. A dough scraper is commonly used in the kitchen, when baking, or cutting up vegetables. They are inexpensive and be found in the cooking aisle of big box stores or at King Arthur Flour baking website for $3.00 or less.
The dough scraper scooping up scraps and threads is a great idea!
Rolling fusibles (and more) into tubes is a wonderful idea! I would also label the tube so I remember what is in it. I’m likely to forget! Thanks for all the great tips!
Thank you for the tips. Definitely will use the glass thread holder. And the golf tees. Unfortunately no golfers at my house lol.
Such great ideas! I’ve got another use for an empty paper towel roll: Sometimes I cut and press my binding when I’m cutting the rest of the quilt. If I do that, I wrap it around an empty paper towel roll to keep it tidy until I’m ready for it. I’ve learned to label which quilt the binding goes with… Just in case it takes you a while to get back to it! 🙂
My favorite was the golf tee. Great idea.
I use a “days of the week” pill holder for bobbins and can get 2 in each compartment. The little lids keep them corralled if I drop it.
Barbara Jansz says
I’ve been wondering what to do with my batting scraps! Thanks for the great tips.
What a great idea for the golf tees! I use a filing cabinet to store all my patterns by different designers. It’s great for organizing. Now I just need to organize my fabric! Thanks for the great tips!
I keep my smaller pieces of fabric in clear plastic bins. I save the round metal tops from frozen juice containers to use as labels. I print circles on card stock to write on and stick these to the metal top with double-sided clear tape. I stick the metal top to the bin with double-sided foam tape. I also have stackable plastic drawer units for projects, mostly acquired from thrift stores. These I label with the black chalkboard labels from the dollar store. I write on them with a chalk pen. I also put one of these labels on the front of my sewing machine to keep track of what size needle is in the machine.
I like these ideas!
All your patterns are great. I am all about quick uses of home items. Gadgets are fun but it gets pricey
Yup. All those gadgets can get pricey. That’s why it’s fun to find these household items that do the job!😁
Love all these ideas. I use an old smoking pipe rack with a jar in the center that would have held tobacco. The outside holes for pipes I use to put my scissors and the jar I use to store my bobbins 🙂
Unique use of an unusual item for sure!
Linda C says
Great ideas for repurposing everyday items! Thankyou! I have a little 3” fabric tray beside my sewing machine that I line with a 3” batting scrap. I put all the thread snips from trimming onto the batting. Once it’s full it’s easy to pick up the batting and thread and toss into a bag of other scraps I save for my friend who uses them as filler for dog beds for the animal shelter. Minimal waste😀
Great use for some scrap batting!
Debbie Miller says
When the grandkids bug me for quarters for the machines at the restaurant-I don’t mind! They get the toy and I get to keep the bubbles! They work perfectly to hold balls of pearle cotton thread, bobbins, buttons, beads or any other small sewing items. A small hole can be made with a hot needle if you want the thread to stay in the bubble and just pull out as needed.
Love, love, love this idea!
Janice Hope says
I realise I’m too late for the draw, but I still would like to add my recycle idea. Rather than a pill bottle to collect used needles, I use a curry powder tin. It has an opening for a spoon to fit, so it easily takes used rotary cutter blades as well as old needles and pins. It also has a colourful vintage look.