I want to thank all of the MerryStockings customers who have given me advice on organizing Bucilla felt kit materials. Many of you have been sewing Bucilla kits for years, and it is fun to hear what works for you and makes creating these beautiful stockings a bit easier.
I will try to sum up what I have heard over the last couple of weeks below. Of course everyone works differently, but one thing is certain . . . organizing materials well can make the job go much faster.
Each Bucilla felt appliqué kit comes with embroidery floss.
As you can see, it is a big ball of floss. The Jolly St. Nick kit instructions say to separate the floss by color. Some colors (like the light blue and white) are very close in hue, so it will be important to keep the floss organized. I used the Color/Symbol Guide in the instructions to know what colors are included in the kit (in my previous blog post I included an illustration of the Color/Symbol).
It turns out, most craft stores offer many products to organize floss, from cardboard or plastic bobbins that you wind floss around and store in a plastic case, to plastic or cardboard floss separators that you thread your floss through and write the symbol or code near each color.
But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to organize the floss by color. Peggy C. says “Take a piece of sturdy cardboard and make slits about every ½ inch about ½ inch deep on one side and put each color in a slot. Keeps every thing from tangling.”
Mary Lee B. recommends using a small white small paper plate. She punches holes in plate, threads the floss through and writes the color/code above it. An inexpensive way to have floss handy and easy to work with.
For now, I’ve just loosely wound the floss by color and zipped them up in small, snack-size plastic bags.
Most agree that rethreading a needle every time you need to use a new thread color takes too much time and effort. Everyone I spoke with or heard from strongly suggested that I buy some extra embroidery needles so I can have each color threaded while I work.
Wendy R. uses a piece of extra felt maybe 6” long by 1” wide that she cuts from the kit (there is usually some extra on the piece of felt containing the back of the stocking). She uses that to hold her threaded needles while she works.
Bonnie D. says “First I separate all the floss into colors and wrap them around 3 fingers loosely and put them on a paper plate (dinner size). As you use a color you take one of the strands and separate it out for the strands you need (1 for beading or 2 or 3 for embroidery) and wrap it around 2 fingers and place it inside the hole of the first strands. Then your colors are always together.
I purchased extra needles with eyes for beading and embroidery. Use a pin cushion to keep them on hand. I always have one of each color threaded on the needles. You are always changing colors of thread and some of the needles are hard to thread, therefore you don't want to be taking out the thread every time you need to change colors. You may want to purchase needle threaders for this task.”
I agree that the needles for beading have especially tiny eyes, and a needle threader will be a necessity for me. I had a couple at home, so I included one in my supplies.
I found this magnetic Needleholder Card at the craft store for around $3.00. It holds the threaded needle on a magnet, has slits to secure the thread, and has a place to label each color. I’m going to give it a try. It seemed like a good idea for me because I will be toting this project from MerryStockings to home and back.
Susan H. says it goes much quicker if you have multiple needles threaded at a time. The thread tangles easily. She reminded me to be patient and not hurry the process of unwinding to get a single strand. Susan was also kind enough to send me some pictures of her work area (near her T.V.). I’ve heard from many MerryStockings customers that these kits are a nice project to do while watching T.V.
Sequins and Beads
There are also a number of ways to sort and store the kit’s beads and sequins. The instructions in the kit say to use separate paper plates to organize each sequin color. A pill organizer or empty TicTac containers work too. My craft store had a least a dozen options for organizing beads. I wanted something mobile, so I opted for a bead organizer with separate compartments and lids (sort of looks like a pill holder, doesn’t it!)
Donna Z. and Wendy R. both told me it is easier to work with the beads and sequins on a plate or in small glass bowls when trying string a sequin or bead onto the beading needle. I see that Susan H.’s bead container allows for her to unscrew each bin, so the lids are not in the way when trying to string the sequins. Perhaps I will find that I need to put a few sequins or beads on a plate (or glass small bowl) once I start embellishing my felt pieces.
I might also find I want to thread extra beading needles (which I found at my local craft store in the beading section) with the floss colors and store on my needle holder card as well.
So, here’s my organized Bucilla kit components so far . . . ready to go. I’m sure as I begin working I’ll find what does and does not work for me . . . I’ll let you know!
Thanks again to Susan, Bonnie, Wendy, Peggy, Hillary, Donna, and Mary Lee for your advice. It has been fun to hear how others work, and I’d love to hear more tips. Feel free to post comments below to share how you organize your kit materials or ask a question.