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Tips & Techniques > Throw wood-spool thread away ? Not here !

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Posted by: Elphaba
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About Elphaba
OK USA
Member since: 1/9/06
Reviews written: 5
Sewing skills:Intermediate
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Posted on: 1/9/06 11:34 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 6 people   
I know it's conventional wisdom - if thread is so ancient, it's on a wooden spool, it's probably too deteriorated to use. And I'm sure that's correct to toss it in many circumstances...

But I found lots of uses for this 'useless' thread. I got a vintage sewing basket loaded with equally old thread for $3. at a yard sale, and I really enjoyed the 'look' of it. I actually got complements about my 'vintage display' on my thread rack. Fact of the matter was, I fully intended to use it, but it did look nice there.

Since I was a novice sewist, I figured if the thread was strong enough to make a bobbin without breaking, then it wouldn't be a problem if I used it on my early efforts. When I hemmed rags for practice, I used the wood-spool stuff. When I tried a new project in dollar-a-yard fabric, I again used the old thread. New techniques often got worked up and experimented on in thread older than my parents. And it worked up fabulously ! Many times, the sheen and appearance of the old stuff was a bonus, because it worked better than the brand-new thread, too.

So, while I'm sure there's lots of reasons *not* to use old thread, it may be worth a shot to try it out before throwing it out ! All else fails, the wood spools sure are pretty, empty or full - and our son steals 'em as soon as they empty for his various car and train playsets !

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6 Comments
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Sweetsong said...
Just keep the thread for the novelty of having it on a wooden spool...they are rather rare. Even if you just use it in a shadow box to decorate your sewing room. :)
1/10/06 6:57 PM
Londa Rohlfing said...
I can't say if this works for sure or not, because I haven't had real old spools to try it, but (I think it was from Gale Grigg Hazen - a trustworthy authority) that I learned that old cotton thread is just brittle because it is dehydrated. To cure: stick spools into water - submerge the entire spool and let absorb water. Then, put in the refrigerator. (Kinda of like when you make pie dough - you give it time to 'hydrate' in the refrigerator before rolling it out.) This should make it good as new. Or so I was taught. Try it and let us know! If it doesn't break while using - any more than any cotton thread would - test and compare against a new spool of like weight cotton thread - I would say that it HAS worked.
1/11/06 1:47 AM
xela said...
Whenever I have the opportunity I snap up the old wooden spools because now everything is on plastic or paper. Put them all in a large glass bowl in the middle of a table for a colorful accent. They're just fun!
1/11/06 9:50 AM
MarilynB said...
I have dozens of old wooden spools which I have in glass jars as decoration in my sewing room. Problem is that I remember the garment I made with many of them.
1/11/06 2:46 PM
nana9 said...
I use old wooden spools of thread all the time and I have not had any trouble with it I find that the new threads break more often.
11/29/06 0:12 AM
Niecytoo said...
I hoard my wooden spools with thread still on them in a Mason jar lamp in my sewing room. I saved them from my grandmothers' left overs and love the way they look.
6/11/07 5:17 PM
 
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