Sunday, May 15, 2011

Empty Spools

At the beginning of last year I wrote a blog entry about using up threads - click here. I have continued my "thread busting" practise by only buying new threads once I have thoroughly checked my thread box and found nothing that will work for the project.
I am binding a quilt right now (one of my favorite things!) and plan to finish up these 2 old spools of Mettler thread.  Looking at my thread box today, I would estimate that I have approximately half the thread spools I had at the beginning of 2010! I gave away the threads that my machine didn't like, and I used up the spools with little bits left.
As a result of my thread busting efforts, I have a new problem...a large collection of empty spools.
This was my old, overflowing container for empty spools,  and I am wondering...why am I saving these? 
I have acquired a couple more spool containers and looking at these spools I feel some pride at using up all those bits of threads,  but also feel a bit shocked at the amount of money I have spent on thread...each of those orange Aurifil thread spools cost $10!
What possible use could these empty spools have?
Help me out here blog readers... should I save these old spools? And if so, what purpose could they serve?


  1. I am such a thread geek that that bin of empty spools is very exciting! Good for you! I am also trying to use up some threads but I'm not going through it as quickly as you.

  2. Hrm...They look rather like curlers to me. Perhaps you could design a soft fill doll with curlers.
    Of see if a local school may be interested in them as an recyclable art project.
    Or you could attach them to a yard stick and slip your ribbon or rick rack rolls onto them, it would hold them steady while you pulled the ribbon off and be a form of measurement. You could use the same idea for bakers twine in the kitchen...
    Am I helping??

  3. Sounds like Anita has some terrific ideas for how to use those empty spools! LOVE Aurifil should be proud of all of the stitching you have accomplished by the look of those bare cylinders. I use them to make stamped circle patterns with paint, ink or even when I want to do a little discharging.
    Should be great fun to see what your readers come up with

  4. I would toss them. But then, I don't keep anything that doesn't have an immediate use/planned use. Meaning, if I don't know what I would do with it, out it goes.

  5. I take all my empty spools to the quilt guild. From there they go to one of our members who is the retired fine arts coordinator at one of the school districts. She passes them on to the pre=school & elementary teachers where kids use them in their art projects.

  6. Our next door neighbor works with little children at the local museum and is the director of her church's Sunday School dept. She takes all the spools I give her.
    Knowing they're available, she specifically uses them in a variety of craft projects. Spools become little robots-- vases for pipe cleaner flowers-- toys and instruments. I'm amazed by all the ways she uses them.
    Someone who works with children will find a way to use them. If they know they're available, they'll figure a way.

  7. Hi there
    I give empty spools to our local Animal shelter. Kittens love playing with them.

    Taupo NZ

  8. I save my empties for my grandson's preschool. I sent some rattail cord with them and they love to string the spools.
    I have been on a de-threading mission also and finally broke out a new cone for piecing.
    I love that binding fabric!!

  9. I've been saving mine and thinking about sending them back to Superior Threads to see if they can re-use them!

  10. Forgot to say....I did give some to the Art Quilt Guild that met at my shop. We were rolling ribbons and trims on them.

  11. I was wondering the same thing a couple weeks ago. My puppy solved my problem - she is small and does not bite really hard and she loves playing with them. I have only given her the Gutterman spools and I remove the paper and loose ends first. She is like a cat and plays with them in my sewing room while I work away!

  12. You collection of empty spools is WAY impressive!! I've started trying to use up threads this year and have been saving mine, but my collection isn't a patch on yours :)

  13. I started saving spools at the beginning of this year but I haven't added much. I wanted to see how much thread I use in a year plus the ever present almost finished spools. I won't have big piles of thread because I tend to use a giant cone of silver grey thread for my piecing. But I'm very happy when I drop a spool into the box. I vote for giving the spools to an art teacher -- esp. elementary or preschool. Let us know what you do with them.

  14. Don't toss them; they are treasures for someone. I send mine off to my grandhcildren's daycare and they make wonderful things out of them. Even the boys think they are great for building etc. I've seen a few necklaces, hanging ornaments etc.

  15. Not sure which actual size your spools have, but you could use them to store binding on them; or as start of a home made jelly roll/ honeybun (of your own fabric leftovers).