Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thread Tail Thread Tales

One of the reasons I love my EPQD facebook community oh so much is I never know what is going to come out of it when I post some random thing. Sometimes I get a few likes, sometimes I get a few comments, sometimes we have some laughs....whatever happens, it's all good.

But then there are the times I post something completely random out of no where on an otherwise boring day, and all of a sudden people I haven't heard from in months or years are weighing in with passion on the quilting topic du jour in a post seen by triple the number of people who normally see my stuff - at least if we believe the numbers according to FB. Yesterday, that topic was the tail end of spools. I know. Riveting stuff indeed!

It all started out innocently enough as I was moving my two new Aurifil collections from their boxes to my thread racks. There is nothing like a nice full thread rack, spools brilliantly gleaming with the hopes of all of the projects yet to be, am I right?

Quilter porn
In the process of sorting my quilting threads (shown above in all their sexy glory), I came upon several sad, deflated, less than studly spools, and was torn. Should I throw them away? Should I be the frugal quilter that I am for the most part and try to use them up? This seemed best dealt with by the crack quilting community of the EPQD page.

I do love me a good screenshot
Within minutes, impassioned responses from both parties, aka the "User Uppers" and the "Tossers," started pouring in. From those who claim to use "every last bit" to those who answered with nothing more than "TOSS!" screaming at me in all caps, it was a bit like a very civil Civil Thread Spool War. I was thoroughly entertained by how a silly photo of what might as well have been my garbage sparked such discussion.

My favorite responses:

From the do as I say not as I do department: "I would toss them as they are nearly empty however I have thread that is older than my 38 year old daughter."

From the I'm just a girl who can't say no (to your face) department: "I happened to be cleaning out and organizing my thread collection when my sister was visiting. She made me keep mine but.........then she went home Toss them! Life is too short and so are those threads!"

From the department of avoiding creating more problems: "Those are tossable. They'll only bounce around in the drawer and tangle."

There were also several ideas given for how to best use up the thread ends, ranging from prepping it for the birds to use as nests (an idea that became very popular with the entire group) to thread basting (yeah, no. 505 spray all the way), to fusing them all together and using them as thread art. My guess is the thread artist is way more creative than I could ever be.

But there were two responses that got me thinking, even as my hand holding the almost empty spools hovered dangerously close to the garbage can:

 "I use up those little odds and ends for piecing scrap quilts, where the color doesn't really show or matter. That's also how I reclaim bobbins that only have a little bit left on them. It makes for slower going, with frequent re-threading, but the frugal Yankee in me finds that to be an acceptable trade-off." 

"If you ever looked at the back of my tops you would know I use every bit. May use 5 or 6 colors to piece some tops."

Okay, I am both a scrap quilter and an open presser. These threads should both blend in no matter what fabric I'm using, and it won't remotely show on the back anyway. Therefore WHAT IS MY EXCUSE? I can use these things up. And so this morning, I did.

SSDD - Same spools different day
Yes, I had to rethread about a million times (or seven, if we are being specific), but it isn't like doing so added hours to my project. While I like piecing with grey or beige, it's okay to mix it up once in a while, and it made for prettier seams. At the end of the sewing session, I had added two sides to these blocks and used up all these spools AND cleared out plenty of room on the racks for the yummy new Aurifil. Win win WINE! - typo but I'm leaving it because come on. This is me. It fits far too well.

You can't tell, but there are about 30 blocks in this pile. So adding two sides to each means those thread ends added up to 60 or seams.
 However, all this gleeful using up of spools still didn't make me feel one bit guilty about tossing some of the really old stuff that probably belonged to my mother, and is older than me, and I'm older than the daughter mentioned above. Plus I got to actually post a photo of my garbage after all.

I think they will be happy there. It's kind of cozy and all.

 So in the end I ignored the sage advice of  my friend Michelle, who obviously was so hung up on this that she was thinking about it constantly and texted her thoughts to me personally, hopefully not while she was driving:

"Did you realize that 10 yards of that Aurifil thread we bought is less than 3 cents? Toss those little bits. Your time is worth much more than what it would take to do anything extra with them."

Maybe, but my 60 seams probably cost me even less than a penny. For a cheapo quilter, that's pure ecstasy.

 And where do all those empty spools end up? I'm amazed by how many extra yards of bindings I always manage to create, and believe it or not I actually do end up using a lot of these little pieces for mug rugs, pillows, edging a shrug my daughter made out of a long sleeve tee the other day, etc. 

So I wrap them up on the spools and imprison them in mason jars.

 So there you go. The great thread debate may rage on, but my solution worked for me.


Pat Rainey said...

I'm so glad I read all the way to the end--I love the idea about winding the extra binding on the empty spools. I usually donate my empties to our local library when they do an annual 'inventors' project, but I will now use some of them for my binding bits! Thanks.

MissPat said...

So glad you posted the great end of thread pool debate on the blog. I'm not on Facebook (I know, it's time to enter the 21st century), so I've been missing your wit and humor. Thanks for the chuckle.
Did anyone on FB point out that old thread can be unstable? But I still have lots of thread I'll probably never use.

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