I think most quilters, and people who sew in general, have a lot of thread. If you are like me, thread organization can be an issue. I had a big problem with organizing all those bobbins for a long time.

I was reading a forum thread where some people said they only had 6 to 12 bobbins. I am sure many people are happy with that number, but that would drive me crazy (I have over 100). Shortly after I bought my machine, I bought a bulk package of generic bobbins for my machine on eBay. I like to have my top and bottom threads match, and I hate wasting thread, so I prefer to have a bobbin for nearly every color of thread I own and never have to unwind one. I realize I am probably in the minority here, but maybe there are others like me.

For people that only keep a few bobbins around, you have to find a way to use up the bobbin ends:

  • If you are not as picky if the top and bottom threads match, you can use up the ends of bobbins while you are piecing a quilt top. As long as you aren’t using a really dark thread color with a light colored fabric, or vice versa, it probably won’t show.
  • You can also just unwind your thread off the bobbin if there isn’t much left. Try saving those bits of thread in a jar for small tasks, like mending or sewing on buttons, or for a project like this one where you create new artsy fabric with them. I have also seen this done with sheer fabrics instead of stabilizer.

In any case, no matter how many bobbins you have, two things that are frustrating to me are the thread coming unwound off the bobbin (and getting snarled with all the other bobbins), and digging through bobbins to find the one that matches the thread you’re using.

There are several products, and some clever free or almost free hacks, to prevent your thread from coming unwound from the bobbin. Products include:

Handi-Bobs  Bobbin Saver   Clover bobbin organizer

Hugo’s Amazing Tape  Artbin thread case

Bobbin Box Organizer by Tidy Crafts

Bobbin Buddies

A couple of hacks I found online I thought were quite clever:

Julia from Stars and Sunshine uses clear plastic tubing from the hardware store, cut to the height of the bobbin. She uses 3/8 in. ID (inside diameter) clear tubing and explains the process (and a bunch of other thread organizing tips) in her post.

Kim from the Sassy Crafter also uses clear plastic tubing, but a larger size (3/4 in. ID) that holds the entire bobbin, similar to the Bobbin Saver above. She explains how to construct these tubes in her post.

If you want to keep your bobbins with the corresponding spool, you can:

  • use Handi-Bobs, like above
  • use a Matchbox car holder or similar segmented box to store your bobbin right with the thread
  • keep them together with a tiny zip-top bag, an elastic band, a pipe cleaner, or a paper clip.
  • store your bobbin underneath or on top of the thread if you use a peg holder

If your pegs aren’t long enough, then you can make your own peg holder.

This one, from Kate at Katie Mae Quilts is made out of pegboard and dowels and is shown on a wall, but would also work on a table or in a drawer. You could also cut a piece of pegboard to fit in a decorative frame.

This one, by Heather at The Creative Homemaker, keeps everything neatly on the wall.

If you are curious which of all of these I use, I store all of my thread in a drawer to keep them dust-free and out of sunlight (and away from little fingers that love to unwind thread). I use elastics to keep the bobbin and thread together as it is quick, almost free, and I am not limited by how many thingamabobs I have purchased or how many pegs or slots are in my thread holder.

First, I thread my elastic through the bobbin.

Then, I wrap the elastic around the spool, wrapping one end through the other.

Then, I drop the “outer” end, and pull the inner end back around to the front.

Finally, I pull the end I’m holding over the bobbin and let go.

All done!