Words from the Knot House

Posts tagged ‘Lizbeth’

Oh What a Tangled Thread We Weave….

When we toss Egyptian cotton with ease.

WARNING: This post contains graphic pictures of mishandled thread. Not for the faint of heart.20130610-155739.jpg

I admit, I have issues. Those who know be can attest that I have more than my fair share. Luckily for you, since this blog is about tatting, we can skip over 95% of them. I have already shared my obsession with Aerlit shuttles and my quest to get one of each color. After shuttles, my OCD moves on to threads. Since I am bearing my soul here, I must confess that there is a part of me that wants a collection that includes every color of Lizbeth size 20 available. That is over 179 different colors. (Color Chart)  The reasonable part of my brain tells me how ridiculous that is, the creative artistic side is screaming “NEED! WANT! NEED! WANT! NEED! WANT!” I was lucky though, when I started putting together my collection, a local craft store was closing out all their Lizbeth so I was able to buy a bunch of variegated colors cheap. Another national craft chain has a 40% off coupon every week. For awhile, I just stopped in there whenever I was going buy and picked up a ball. If I was to count, which I wont, I would estimate I have about 50 different colors. When you have that much, you need a way to organize it, or chaos will abound.

Last week, I purchased 3 new balls of thread and it is time to add them to my Snap-Ware storage containers. I could just toss them in together and let them party all night but I have control issues so that doesn’t work for me. I know some people leave them in the nice plastic bag they come in, drawing the thread thru the hole right below the seal. I tried that but the krinkling sound of the bag annoyed me. Instead, after spying on other tatters, and adding some ideas of my own, I came up with the following check list for each ball of thread I buy.

20130610-170836.jpgStep One: Clip it up!
The first thing I do once I take a ball of thread out of its protective baggie, is add a little girls hair clip to hold the end of the thread in place. These clips can be purchased anywhere, in many different designs. My co-blogger Natalie, who I stole this idea from, has little heart shaped clips that are adorable. The average cost is less than 10 cents each.
Step Two: List it!
I have an excel file that lists every color of thread I have so I don’t buy doubles. It includes the color name and number, amount, and a way to mark the color if I need to buy more. I can then export the data into a PDF that I can send to my mobile device and take with me to the store or guild meetings.
Step Three: Label it!20130610-170748.jpg
I know this seems redundant since Lizbeth labels each ball but it has been my experience that the Lizbeth label falls off once you get about halfway thru the ball. To prepare for that eventuality, I add a secondary label to the inside of the cardboard tube holding the ball in shape. You can use any labels you want, but you need to make sure they are NOT reposition-able. If you can move the label around, there is a good chance that over time and use, the label will fall off. Avery Mailing labels cut in half work great.
I use the following key on my labels: Thread size/ Thread Color number. I use both in case I ever start collecting other thread sizes (my husbands worst nightmare) I will know what is what without having to guess.

Once all that is done, the thread is ready to play nicely with the others. Now, you don’t have to follow these steps but you must tame your threads and show them who is boss. We all know what happens when thread is left to its own devices…….


Time to Visit the Hardware Store

Shopping List: 9/16in OD X 3/8in ID Vinyl Tubing (One foot)
5/16in OD X 3/16in ID Vinyl Tubing (One foot)
3/16 wooden dowel

I am in love with Aerlit Shuttles. i love the ability to pop out bobbin of one color and pop in another without missing a stitch. My inner miser also loves the fact that I can save up all those little bits of thread to use in later projects. I quickly got tired of making butterflies in order to clear out the left overs. What do people do with those butterflies anyways? Bueller? Bueller?
As tatters know, if you put more than 2 pieces of thread within a foot of each other, they will tangle themselves just to give you the joy of separating them. Now imagine 20-25 wound bobbins mingling in my carrier. More often than not, the resulting chaos would resemble the bottom of a teenagers closet more than a proper ladies tatting basket.
First thing I wanted to get under control was the bobbins unraveling. I looked for commercial solutions but the cheapest I could find was $.50 cents a bobbin. Not happening on my budget! That is money better spent on thread and more bobbins. So, I needed a solution that would cost me less than a nickel a bobbin. Challenge accepted!
While looking at the commercial solutions, I saw a couple of hints mentioning rubber tubing. It didn’t seem right so I just clicked right past. But now that I had decided the other ideas were to spendy, I figured I might as well give it a try. It works like a dream. I had to try a few different tubing sizes to get the right one but the whole test cost me less than a dollar. My local hardware store carries the tubing at$.29 a foot, and i still have some left. You will need a nice pair of scissors. Just cut it parallel to the cut end so you have 1/4 inch rings then cut the ring open. Wrap that around the bobbin. No more tangles.
Now that all my bobbins were under control, I wanted to an easy way to see what colors I had on the bobbins. So back to the hardware store I went. I picked up a smaller piece of tubing and a piece of doweling. I cut the doweling so it was about 1/2 inch smaller than my tatting carrier. Don’t worry, you don’t need power tools. The doweling it easily cut with a steak knife or a pair of punning shears. Then use a pencil sharpener to angle one end.
For each piece of doweling, cut 2 pieces of tubing, 1/4 inch long and 3/4 inch long. it should be a tight fit, but the 1/4 inch piece goes on the flat end as a stopper. This piece will remain in place so you can glue it so you want to. Now load on some bobbins and hold them in place with the longer piece of tubing. push the tubing down past the angled portion till it fit snug.
Make as many as you need to hold all your bobbins.
I will try to put together a photo tutorial on both these tips in the next few weeks but if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.
Thank you



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