organizing embroidery floss


One of the greatest hazards with any crafty endeavor is what to do with all the accoutrements that come with it. Embroidery seems like such a simple craft to pursue; one that just involves needles, threads and some fabric. But then you acquire skeins and skeins of floss and you are stuck with a huge mess. I had all of my floss in at least 4 different places and it was driving me mad. I didn’t have any idea really what colors I had and so when I knew I had to do something.

I ended up deciding to use this multi-drawer cabinet from The Container Store. It has 26 drawers and you can buy dividers for the larger drawers if you wanted too. At $24.99 I felt like it was a pretty good deal. It’s plastic, but the outer plastic is pretty tough and even the drawers seem better than what I could have bought at Home Depot or Lowes.


The first thing I had to do was gather up all my floss and sort it by color family. As you can see I had floss in a million different ways and I think I have a fascination with green. After I divided it all up I had to figure out how I was going to end up storing it.


Floss can be organized in many different ways. New, it is lovely flat and held in between two little loops of paper. If you are really lucky you can pull the strand out and keep it nice and neat until it’s gone. Or, if you are unlucky it ends up like the next picture where it is all in knots.

Years ago when I was a big cross-stitcher I kept all my floss on these little cards with the numbers written on them. I had this fancy little floss winder and everything. Then I had a real job and then came children. Enough said. The cards are great in the sense that you can keep many of them in one place in these little divided plastic boxes. But I tend to not like the cards for a few reasons, mostly due to effort. Of which I have none.

I recently discovered these stitchbows from dmc. The idea is that you take your lovely skein of new floss and just slide it onto the bow, hence getting rid of the need to wind floss. Um…soooo didn’t happen. These are a little pricey and honestly I’m just not sure I like them at all. They tend to hook onto one another and if you do happen to have a free skein of floss lying around next to them, you are doomed to get a huge tangle. And they didn’t fit into my new box so away they went.

Lastly is the lovely clothespin. This is the direction I am headed. I love the clothespin for many reasons. Yes, you do have to wind it, but what I love is that when you use 3 strands and still have some leftover you can easily wind it back and pop it in between the mouth of the clothespin and there you go. Sure you can do that with the cards, but they never stayed in the little flappy things for me well. And the clothespins are also great because you can clip them onto your embroidery while you are traveling etc.

Organizing floss

For the larger drawers on the sides I have a drawer for white/ecru, for rayon thread, linen thread, pearl cotton and then a drawer for all my needles.
Now, since I don’t really follow floss colors numbers too much anymore I organized mine by colors and shades into the middle drawers.

Organizing floss

There you go! Now when I get a custom embroidery of one cute little family I don’t have to go running all over looking through 4 different places to see if I have the color I need.

How do you organize your embroidery floss (or other crafty materials)?

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