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Scarlet Quince Ramblings

Cross stitch ... life ... art

Floss storage systems I have known
July 2nd, 2015

How do you store your floss? Not the floss for the current project, but all the leftover floss and leftover bits of blended colors from previous projects, or projects you were going to stitch but didn’t.

For a long time, I kept all my floss in a couple of boxes. I think there was some in a plastic grocery bag too. But I got tired of digging through an increasingly large pile of floss for colors that were supposed to be there but somehow weren’t (have you ever thought you bought 5 skeins of 430 but were finally forced to conclude that you bought 5 skeins of 431 instead?).

So I tried some other things. Here they are in the order I tried them (which is also, not coincidentally, in increasing order of cost).

I had someone who was going to stitch a model for me find that she couldn’t do it and send all the materials back to me, so I had a lot of baggies with partial skeins. I decided to put ALL my floss in baggies, stick one end of a paper clip through a corner of the bag as a hanger, and then thread the paper clip onto a wire coat hanger. I filled up a couple of coat hangers and hung them in the closet. (The total cost was whatever a box of baggies costs plus a box of paper clips.) It looked fairly tidy and was out of the way, but still readily accessible. It was sort of a poor-man’s version of Floss-Away bags on binder rings. Unfortunately, it turned out that the paper clips tangled with each other so the baggies didn’t stay in order and it was hard to find the color I was looking for (and still hard to know for sure that it was or wasn’t there).

Then a friend moved away and gave me a bunch of those Sterilite chests of drawers (the size that will hold 3 reams of paper and can be stacked). You can get them at Big Lots. OK, I didn’t pay anything for these but I think they’re about $5 each. I needed some for Scarlet Quince supplies (cover stock, paper, labels, etc.) and devoted 2 of them to floss. I labeled each drawer with a range of floss numbers (200-499, 500-799, 800-999, 3000-3399, 3600-3799, and 3800-3899). I still had to dig through a pile of floss to find a color, but the piles were smaller. (Yes, this picture is of the drawers labeled for SQ supplies, not for floss.)

That continued until our local needlework shop, Ginger’s, went out of business. She sold all her inventory and all the store fittings, including the racks where she hung all the DMC floss. I got dibs on the floss racks, measured them, and went home and measured the space I had in mind for them (below a counter in the family room that connects to the kitchen, originally set up as a bar). I hypnotized myself into believing they would fit there perfectly and called Ginger and told her they would fit my space and I’d be back for them. I brought them home and they were not at all close to fitting. For a long time I didn’t put them up anywhere because you don’t want a forest of 6″ hooks anywhere where someone might stumble into them in the dark.

Finally I did put them up against the counter after all but they stuck up above the counter some. One didn’t fit behind the counter so I put it on another wall. They were made to go on pegboard but I just hung them on nails. I knew the floss would get dusty out in the open and I planned to make a cover for it but that didn’t work out. Our couch is a couple of feet away from the wall so there’s an alleyway behind the couch where I can get at the floss but it’s not a high traffic area. Nevertheless, somehow people kept crashing into the racks (especially the one on the end) and knocking floss off or knocking the whole thing down. Finally I got enough of that. I didn’t get a picture of them while they were on the wall because MRA was so gung-ho to get going on my NEXT system, but you can see there’s a lot more storage capacity than any individual contributer really needs.

SO I bought a set of little drawers, one for each DMC color. There are 8 cabinets, each with 64 drawers. They’re made by Akro-Mils, part number 10164, and I got them on Amazon for $28.59 each and free shipping. Each cabinet is 20″ x 16″ x 6.5″. The drawers are 5.25″ long by 2″ wide and 1.5″ deep. They’re slightly too short for a skein of floss (it has to be curved a little to fit) and bobbins fit just fine. You can get maybe a dozen skeins in a drawer. There are 512 drawers and only 469 “normal” DMC colors (I’m excluding the variegated ones and rayon etc.) so I have some extra drawers for pearl cotton, needles, silks, beads, extra bobbins, etc.

I also made a set of floss labels for the drawers with the number and a big color swatch. (People have been asking for something like this for a while, and we will make them available as soon as I work out the RGB values for the 16 newest DMC colors.) The labels fit pretty well on the drawer pulls and the color swatches are really helpful because you don’t have to look at every number — you can jump to the next drawer with approximately the right color on the drawer pull.

I think this will be my last system. The cabinets are reasonably compact (they don’t stick out as far as the hooks), they are not going to fall off the wall, and the floss is protected from dust. If you wanted to be a little more frugal with your money or your space, you could have 2 or 3 colors per drawer.



4 Responses to “Floss storage systems I have known”
  1. From Christine
    2 years, 5 months ago

    Oh my – the last one is AMAZING! Such a great idea. Now, I wonder where I can store it all!


  2. From Julie
    2 years, 5 months ago

    Great idea, if you have the wall space. Which I don’t. What I’ve found works is to get plastic bead sorting boxes from the local craft store. Last time I purchased, they were about $1 each, but it’s been awhile. These boxes will not hold skeins, but will hold bobbins perfectly, and upright so the numbers can be seen. To make it work, yes, all the skeins will have to be loaded onto bobbins — a great and mindless task while watching TV or something. Then store all those little bobbins in numerical order. And yes, after each project, there will need to be some rearranging to ensure that the bobbins stay in order. However, as I now have very limited storage space, due to significant downsizing, these boxes can stay in drawers in my craft cabinet, the floss stays clean, and it’s all easily accessible.


  3. From Sue M.
    2 years, 5 months ago

    Wow, what a great idea! I have the full skeins not designated for a specific pattern stored in plastic bags in a somewhat sorted order, all the 100′s in one bag, all the 200′s in another, etc. The skeins I’ve purchased for specific projects are in scrapbook paper plastic storage boxes along with the fabric and pattern book. I have to admit there have been a few times when working on various projects I ran out of a floss and raided the boxes. It wasn’t easy finding what I needed because none of the skeins are carded or in any order. I card them once I’m ready to start a project and when the project is finished the leftover cards are filed in plastic divided boxes, much like the ones Julie described, and ready to be used for future projects. I think it would be great to have all the floss organized in one spot. It would certainly be a time saver and probably save a little money too!


  4. From Kerstin Klepzig
    2 years, 5 months ago

    Those cabinets are awesome! I use the same storage system as Julie, the bead sorting boxes with bobbins. They are labelled with the DMC numbers and once in a while I look through to see what I am running short of. I use the same storage system for the two projects I am working on at the moment.





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