Introduction: Organize an Unreasonable Number of Embroidery Floss Colors

DMC, the most easily available embroidery floss in my part of the USA, comes in over 400 colors. If you use or publish patterns, you want to be able to put your hand on particular colors. If you’re stitching free, you want to be able to find all of your greens or pinks or whatever other colors; you want to be able to see what you have. This instructable assumes you’re using DMC, but I  discuss making a color card of your own in another entry. Scan them all! 

This recipe requires use of a computer and a color printer, the ability to capture an image, resize, 'cut' and 'paste.'  Ask your acquaintances; it's not too esoteric.

You will also need cardstock, at least one three-ring notebook, paper punch, two-sided tape, and snack-sized Ziplock bags. You may want to rewind the skeins in a more stable configuration  and make it less likely that they will lose their numbers.

Step 1: Make Color Pages

Go to the DMC website and copy each of the color cards for the floss you are using.  (Click on the cards to make them bigger. Place cursor on each, left click or command-click, and pick Save Image As. Save to a file you can find so you can resize and print them.) 

Step 2: One Column at a Time

Resize each image to 8x10 (or slightly smaller than whatever notebook format you want to use). You may want to use the Sharpen feature, if you have one, to make the numbers easier to read.

Note of experience: Once your pages-with-bags-exceed your notebook, get one of those boxes that hold hanging files. you won't need the file folder, just put the pages in. This is a very good remedy, possibly better than the notebook in the first place.

Now, cut and paste each column of colors onto its own page, and print it out. (I ended up with 17 columns. You could, of course, cut and paste them into columns of however few or many colors you like.)

 I printed the colors along the left and punched holes along the right, with a blank page in the binder between each column of colors. If you were to get all the colors, you would need more than three bags for each column.

Step 3: Attach Snack Bags

Using the double-sided tape, attach snack bags along the page. you can overlap them slightly. I put the tape behind the zip-strips part of the bag, since that's where the wear will be heaviest. You might use two strips.

This will give you, mostly likely, three bags for every column of twenty-six colors. You may want to put bags on the right, facing, page, so you won't have too many colors to look through in each bag (or too many to close it).  I put the colors abutting each bag into that bag.

To make it easier to find each color's number, I have indexed the column it falls into, and into which third of the column each number falls (see attached pdf file).

  The space you will need in the binder depends on on how much of the DMC spectrum you own.  If you aren't using a 3" binder, you will want more than one binder since the  skeins in each bag make the pages much thicker.

Step 4: Put the Skeins Into the Right Bags

Put the skeins into the bags nearest their numbers. Since DMC's new color cards are in a color-based array, you have some hope of becoming intuitive about where each skein goes.

It looks pretty. Purr.

Now that you have all the skeins off of your couch, go stitch something!