I decided I really can’t do without my blend bobbins. The reason is all of the parking I’m doing — sometimes I have several needles with the same color parked in different places, and as I finish them off it doesn’t make sense (to me) to leave 5 needles threaded with the same color, so I keep one threaded and put the other pieces back on the bobbin. If I had 1000 needles, I’d probably feel differently.
I was going to sew pockets on the felt sheets but then I thought, maybe there is something that already has pockets. It turns out that plastic pages for holding 35 mm slides have the right size pockets, but the camera store that used to be near us is gone, and I couldn’t wait, so I went to Hobby Lobby and got some coin pages instead, which also have 2″ pockets. They are pretty heavy duty plastic; probably heavier than slide pages would be. I am not sure which is preferable.
I stuck a floss label at the top of each pocket. I had a sheet of self-adhesive felt (with a peel-off backing) which I cut into small pieces and stuck to the pockets below the labels. These will hold the threaded needles. (White felt would have been more attractive but black was what I had, and after the minor miracle of being able to FIND it, it would have been a shame not to use it.) I put the pages into a 3-ring binder and ta-da!
After working with this for an evening, I felt that there was one thing missing — tabs, so I can turn to the right page. I got these at Office Depot:
I think they’re meant to be stuck to the front of the page (because one side of the tab is easier to write on than the other) but I hadn’t left room so I stuck them on the back. Now my book looks like this:
Each tab has on it the range of numbers on the NEXT page. I didn’t get that right at first. You don’t need a tab for the first page because it’s right there when you open the book. The tab on the first page has the numbers for the second page, so when you open to that tab, it’s the second page. It’s hard to explain, but think about using tabbed dividers — you put the divider BEFORE the page you want to open to.
This is pretty nice now. With the parking, I have lots of colors going at once and although the needle book is a little cumbersome, it is much faster to find the right bobbin/needle than searching through the jumble of active bobbins I was keeping in a shallow box. It is also faster to jab the needle into the little felt swatch than to wind the floss around the slots in the bobbin (which is what I was doing with the threaded needles before). Because of the plastic behind the felt, you can do it one-handed. If you can’t find the self-stick felt, you could use velcro dots (just the soft side).
Update 5/8/12: Another thing further experience has taught: Put the numbers for the current page on the back of the tab. So the tab on page 1 would have the numbers for page 2 on its front, and the numbers for page 1 on the back. This way when you are open to a later page, you can get back to an earlier one without hunting.
Further update: 5/9/12: When I sat down to stitch last night, the first needle I took up was gummy. So instead of spending half an hour stitching, I spent half an hour using Goo Gone on my needles and putting them back in the felt making sure that they didn’t get down into the adhesive. I think the best option, therefore, is to use adhesive velcro dots. They have a tightly woven back between the fuzzy stuff and the adhesive. You could perhaps glue plain felt to the sheets, but that seems like a lot of work with a doubtful outcome. I tried superglue, which at least dries hard, but it didn’t hold the felt very firmly, and if I superglued 100 pieces of felt I’d end up with all my fingers glued together.
One more thing: 5/14/12 I found adhesive velcro strips which I can cut into rectangles that will be a better shape for needles than dots (and more cost-effective). I’ve also discovered it’s a good idea to loop the floss once around the needle to keep it from coming off when I flip pages.