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Scarlet Quince Ramblings

Cross stitch ... life ... art

Needle book
March 28th, 2012

Here’s an idea for speeding your stitching in a couple of different ways. (It isn’t my idea, by the way — it was sent to me by a very clever person.) It relies on having enough needles so that you never unthread a needle. I do this more or less, by wrapping the floss on a needle around the appropriate bobbin, and leaving it there until the floss is used up OR I am done with that symbol for the foreseeable future, at which time I unthread the needle and wrap the floss onto the bobbin and file it in my bobbin box.

An even better way is to make a needle book out of felt sheets! Not a little bitty needle book like you might have for sewing needles. Buy several sheets of felt. They are approximately 9 x 12 inches. You can use safety pins to fasten them into a book, or use 1/4″ metal grommets and binder rings (or just put them in a 3-ring binder). Then, using our floss labels, stick the labels to the floss sheets in rows in numerical order. Leave the length of a needle between the rows (she says she discovered the needles should be stuck in from top to bottom, i.e. pointing down). It looks like this:

She says “I am constantly combing the threads down but they still get all tangled together. That’s OK though. I can still pull out the color I need.”

If you put the needles in horizontally, you could get a lot more per page (my needles are only a little longer than the floss labels are wide). I don’t know if they would tend to come out, but you could also wrap the floss tail around the needle, like this:

This is on a dishtowel — I don’t have any felt right now. This should keep the needle from coming out accidentally and it would solve most of the tangled tail problems. It does take extra time to wrap the floss on, but surprisingly, you don’t have to UNwrap it. Just pull the needle through. Even with a long piece like this, it comes easily!

You do need a needle for EVERY symbol, so you don’t want to be buying your needles 6 at a time. You need bulk needles and here are a few places you can get them:

Anita Little Stitches – Bohin and John James packs of 25 or 50
Nordic Needle – Colonial size 24 only, pack of 1000
Stitchtastic (UK) – unspecified brand, packs of 50, 100, or 500
John James (UK) – packs of 1000

or search for “bulk tapestry needles”, “1000 needles” etc. but be aware that some sellers of needles in bulk don’t sell to consumers. (I got Bohin needles from Anita Little Stitches and they are really nice needles. I mean they’re really nice. Too good for me — I keep dropping them and rolling my chair over them.) I believe John James are also good needles. I have no experience with Colonial needles. All the above vendors ship worldwide. Maybe sometime I’ll get a bunch of different needles and see how they stack up!

13 Responses to “Needle book”
  1. From valerie
    8 years, 3 months ago

    This is a really good idea. I shall certainly try it out,and experiment to try and solve the problem of tangled tails.

  2. From Hiranthi
    8 years, 3 months ago

    Great idea! Thank you.

  3. From Leslie Fehr
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I have used the Colonial needles quite a bit and they are quite good and so are the John James needles. I prefer to work with size 28 because they are short and easier to manuever near the side of a hoop or q-snap. Once I got used to the shortness, anything else feels like huge logs!

    I have a tendency to drop my needles without noticing and roll my chair over them. 28s are too fragile for this kind of treatment!

  4. From Lynnda
    8 years, 3 months ago

    Now that’s a great idea. I wrap the threaded needle around the appropriate bobbin, but this looks much better. I’m going to give this one a try. Thanks for the idea. This gal is one smart cookie.

  5. From Sharron
    8 years, 3 months ago

    What a wonderful idea, I’m off to buy some felt and lots more needles as soon as the shops open. Anything that makes me get through my charts quicker must be a good thing . Thank you :)

  6. From Chris
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I too use size 28, because if I want to pop a bead in, they generally will fit over the 28 needle and are easier to thread, anything else feels like a harpoon to me.

  7. From Susan
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I keep my floss wound on bobbins (along with an extra skein or three of the same colour) in floss away bags. When I start a project, I pull all the floss needed for the project and put the bags on a ring. As I use each colour, I thread a needle and when I’m done stitching that colour in that area, I drop the threaded needle into the floss away bag with the floss bobbin. It’s only when I’ve finished stitching the project that I remove the needles from the bags, unthread them, put the needles in their box and put the floss & floss away bags back in their organizer boxes.

    I started doing this because I was always afraid of using anything that may possibly leave the floss and/or needles exposed where one of my furry family members might be able to get hold of it.

  8. From Susanna Goodman
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I can’t wait to try this. No more parked threads & needles everywhere.

  9. From Kathy
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I do something similar but not near as nice looking. Basically I use a standard piece of light colored felt (white or ecru) and then use a permanent marker to draw the symbol on the felt. I draw the symbols top to bottom and then fold the felt in half for storage and convenience. Since I only use the outer edges of the felt, when I am finished with a project, I cut away the symbols and continue to use the felt. I use a blank piece of felt to fold around the needle sheets for added safety. To keep the thread stable, I pull a portion of thread through the felt and then stick the needle through the felt (usually in a horizontal direction). I typically work several projects at a time, but with my main project I adhere thin magnets (I cut business card magnets in half) to the top of the felt sheets and then stick the felt sheets to a metal board which propped up with a book stand. This has been working for several big projects that I have, but using the labels is definitely gives it a more finished look and allows you to maximize the space. I also love the finished look grommets give the needle book. The only change I would make would probably be to have the front in back left as blank pieces of felt, this way you wouldn’t have to worry about someone inadvertently jabbing a needle through their hand.

  10. From Evelyn
    8 years, 3 months ago

    You don’t really have to have 150 needles (I [refer the 26′s). I use bobbins for each symbol. I take a length of both colors for that symbol and strip out the singles from both lines of floss held together. If the colors are very close, I cut one color about an inch and a half longer than the other to make sure I strip the different colors. I use that needleb until I want to change to another, but sometimes I just quit that symbol when the needle is empty. I thread up the empty needle with the new symbol. If I haven’t finished the first symbol in that area, I stick it into a foamie shape and mark half a blank sticker with the symbol on it. But winding it around the needle is appealing.

    I sort skeins by their hundred numbers, like all 3700-3799 together but like the Floss Away bags, too. Before starting the next project, I separate whatever floss colors that will be used in the next one, and retire the others till they’re needed again. Rarely are the same blends use from piece to piece. With those single lengths at 18 inches on down, I then crochet little baskets of the leftover blended colors and add a handle for Xmas ornaments. Too cute.

  11. From Sandy
    8 years, 3 months ago

    What an absolutely wonderful idea!! I store my floss in snack bags with a label (my own). It is, in my opinion, much easier to work with than bobbins. That said, I am working on my first Scarlet Quince project (Flower by Alphonse Mucha), and I cannot tell you how much time I have to spend sorting through all the little bags to find the appropriate color. I do believe parking would send me off the deep end. After all, this is supposed to be fun! I will order floss labels and size 26 needles today. Thank you so much.

    Could you file them in a drawer divider? My problem with bags is that they’re so slippery and floppy. One lady told me she uses paper envelopes (the smaller kind, not #10) and files them in a drawer divider.

  12. From peggy dever
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I use something like the needle book, I use a large piece of felt with a band sewed along the bottem to form a pocket for the threads to lay. They don’t tangle as much. I rolll mind up when finished for the day. Keep up these ideas.

  13. From Christine (divecat)
    8 years, 3 months ago

    I use something similar but extremely portable. In effect, it is some expanded polystyrene cut to fit a box. I then enlarge the floss page from the SQ pattern and lay it over the polystyrene then just stick the needles/threads next to the relevant symbol. I alternate going to one side of the symbol so the needles don’t get jammed together (and you don’t stab yourself trying to retrieve a needle!).

    Here is a picture of the box for Ehret: All supplies can be bought from somewhere like Hobby Lobby/Hobby Craft.

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