project card, thread sorter, floss organizer

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How to Use a Thread Sorter to Organize Embroidery Floss for Cross Stitch Projects [with VIDEO]

What is a Thread Sorter?

A thread sorter is a kind of floss storage that holds your cross stitch threads organized by project. There are many different types of thread sorters: a simple card, a hand-made wood piece of art, or a more complex device that also holds pre-threaded needles. And there are many different shapes and sizes of thread sorters that hold different amounts of embroidery floss.

They are also called thread cards, project cards, floss organizers and thread keeps.

Why Use a Thread Sorter?

Even the simplest floss cards can help to keep your threads organized for each cross stitch or embroidery project. These organizers can save time so that you spend less time organizing your cross stitch floss and more time stitching. It’s like creating your own ”kit”, while keeping the threads from tangling.

And they’re portable so you can store them in your WIP bag and take them anywhere.

Learn how to use a thread sorter in this video:

Play Video

Different Kinds of Thread Sorters

DIY: Save Money and Make Your Own

Every Notorious Needle pattern comes with a Thread Sorter Page so you can make your own thread sorter.

To make your own thread sorter you need:

  • A list of your pattern’s floss colors and symbols.
  • Thicker paper – like cardstock. Or upcycle a cereal box
  • Tape or glue 
  • Scissors
  • Single hole punch

First, print the Thread Sorter page (or floss key if your pattern doesn’t have a Thread Sorter page) on cardstock or regular printer paper. If you use printer paper, cut out the portion of the Thread Sorter page with the color symbols on it.

Cutting out the thread sorter

Then, use the tape or glue to attach the paper to a thicker material like the upcycled piece of a cereal box.

Finally, use the hole punch and punch a hole for each color.

To da! Your very own, DIY thread sorter made just for your project.

Floss Card aka Project Card

Find floss cards here.

Floss card thread sorters are easy to use.

Wind some embroidery floss into loose circles. Or pre-cut your floss into long strands and fold them on half together.

Place a loop of embroidery floss through one of the holes on the card.

Then pull the hanging floss through the loop. 

Gently tug to tighten. That’s it!

If you’re using the thread sorter for a particular project, you can label each thread with the color number or symbol used in the floss color key from your pattern chart.

I printed the Floss Key from my PDF pattern, cut out each color, and taped it to the floss card so that each color is identified with the color number and symbol for that pattern.

This beautiful word-burned floss card is used the same way. It has numbers next to each hole. To use this with your pattern, write a number next to the floss key in your chart pattern to identify the floss color.

This one even has a magnet to use as a needle minder.

Using a Floss Organizer for Big Projects

If you are working on a large project with many colors, you could use a floss organizer that has spaces for dozens of colors.

Place a loop of thread over a peg. Firmly push the dangling threads between the pieces of foam to keep them in place.

Save time while you’re in the stitchy groove by pre-threading needles and sticking them into the foam of the floss keeper.

This organizer also comes with replaceable inserts to add the symbols from your pattern’s floss color key.

Spend More Time Stitching

Whether you use a project card or a fancy, schmancy floss organizer, using a thread sorter can help save you time. 

Instead of checking your stash to see if  you have enough of one color each time you sit down for a minute to stitch, you can “kit” your own projects and split one color among all your WIPs. 

Stay organized, and spend more time on stitching.

Thread sorters are pretty, inexpensive, and make nice stitchy gifts, too!

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