Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Storing Thread

Yesterday's post and Cathy's link to little thread winders make me think about all the different ways to store and organise different threads.
There's flat thread winders; there's round or differently-shaped bobbins, there are bobbins with or without "stoppers" at the ends. Some modern embroiderers store their threads by hanging them from a ring or into a hole in a card with lark's head knot, pulling out one piece at a time.

Myself, I have a wild mixture of things - brown paper rolls as spools, a few spindles with the thread still on them, some lathe-turned bobbins, a couple of thread winders from wood or cardboard, and even some totally non-historical plastic bobbins (those the thread came on when I bought it). I store most of this odd assortment in a cloth-covered box to keep the individual thread keepers from jumbling about too much; since the box does get tilted from time to time, though, of course they get disordered after a while. (My rummaging around in the quite-full box probably does not help with keeping it orderly either.) Neither this box nor the assortment of threads and thread holders in it are really very historical, so I tend to keep the box closed and out of sight - I only take out the bobbin or so that I need and either display it (if it is on a historically acceptable bobbin/winder) or hide it somewhere so I can get at it easily.

It would be nice to have all threads on historically accurate holders - but I can't see this coming up soon; there are too many other, more important and urgent projects for me than re-winding many, many metres of thread onto different holders.

Those of you doing Living History - how do you handle your threads?


Suse said...

A part of my threads are on bobbins like the london find, in some variations.... Tony winds the thread on the bobbins when he is shaping them, so it´s not too much work for me. The rest of my threads I spooled on simple wooden sticks. It would be interesting to have some more different shapes, but I can´t even find bobbins on any painting?!
There are some bobbins made of boxwood (http://anno1347.beepworld.de/files/ausruestung-garn4.jpg), found in Freiberg, they are dated on 15.-17. century, and I think they look quite modern (I have some of this shape from 19.century)!? Really curios if there should be no more finds!?

Louise said...

I also have my tread on bobbins based on the London find. My boufriend Mikkel have his linnen for sewing leather on the lower leg bone from a small sheep. That works very well.

Chris Laning said...

Off and on I've been able to convince people to make me thread winders -- some in wood, cut with a bandsaw, and for awhile I was able to get some about 1" in diameter in bone (someone was actually selling buttons that worked perfectly well as winders). This was a number of years ago, before I'd ever seen any suitable bobbins/spools, and whatever I used had to be something I could have out in the open. There's a picture here (next to last photo): http://wkneedle.bayrose.org/Articles/period_workbox.html

pearl said...

I think there's examples from Novgorod where thread was left on a spindle, but the whorl was removed. That's the main way I store the finer threads I use. But I've also followed the suggestion in the book "Woven into the Earth" and found using a nøstepinde is really effective.

I've always wanted a niddy-noddy like the one from the Oseberg burial, although that would probably be for much thicker threads.

Cathy Raymond said...

I put some of the thread I'm using for Viking era projects on the bobbins I bought on EBay (the ones shaped somewhat like the picture in the first link in my comment), but most of the thread I have lives on the modern spools they came on, so far.