Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Organic Threads + Using Cones





Aren't they gorgeous! And those spools are real wood, giving a wonderful old-time, eco-friendly quality, the perfect way to package quality organic cotton thread. 

It's been 10 months since my lightbulb moment about the importance of organic cotton, not only for the environment but also for the farmers (and their families), fabric workers and for those who sew with and use the finished products. In my search for quality organic fabrics and batting I quickly discovered organic cotton threads too. Scanfil make a collection of 34 different colours, spun in The Netherlands from GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) certified organic Egyptian long staple cotton.

After having sewn with Scanfil's organic threads almost exclusively since then, I am happy to report that I am very pleased with them. A little thicker and stronger than Gutermann cotton thread and also Auriful 50wt, I have used Scanfil's organic threads for piecing, quilting and also for hand binding using a double thread. I find them to be a truly beautiful thread to use and look at! (I would not however recommend them for EPP - Gutermann Extra Fine being my favourite for this purpose, or where a very fine thread is required).


Several Etsy sellers stock Scanfil Organic thread in all 34 colours on 300yd/275m wooden spools and some (like Sew Fine Fabric **), also stock White, Natural and Black Onyx in 5000m cones which work out to be more economical. (In fact I have just discovered that all 34 colours are available on cones). This was all the motivation I needed to work out a way to use a cone with my sewing machine!*

First I found a heavy container to keep the cone upright. This empty glass candle holder proved to be perfect in size with an opening just big enough for the cone to fit through. It happens to be a bonus that I love the look of it too, especially as my sewing table is in our main living area. 


Initially I was finding that the thread would sometimes catch between the glass and cone, causing problems with stitch tension, so my solution has been to 'fix' the cone to the base of the jar in a centred position with some blu-tac. This works perfectly and stops the cone jiggling around too, yet makes it simple to remove the cone as required.



I have used masking tape to secure a mid-sized safety pin against to top of my machine as a threading/guide loop.


A second threading/guide loop has been made by wedging a large safety/diaper pin (mine is one with a plastic head, flat on one side) within my spool holder. This keeps the thread at the right height and angle, clear of the extra feet and smoothly guiding the thread along so it can then be threaded through the machine as usual. 



The machine lid can still rest closed, unlatched, providing dust protection. When not using a cone, the lid can be latched completely if I give this safety pin a gentle nudge outwards, or it can easily be removed until needed again.

This very easy DIY set up has made sewing with cones a trouble-free and economical alternative for me - this would have worked for me with my previous 30 year old Janome too. I hope it may help someone else too.  :)


Now back to the story of those wonderful tactile wooden spools. After buying my organic threads from overseas for the last 10 months, I discovered just this week that our local Lincraft store stock these Scanfil Organic threads! However, the spools sold here in Australia contain 100m (right) on a thick centred wooden spool not 275m (middle) on a narrow centred spool (left).

No longer will I have to guess colours, wait and pay international shipping. The best surprise is that they are even cheaper than a 100m spool of conventional cotton thread! 

 [2016 Update - it has been brought to my attention that you can source Sew Easy organic cotton thread on 200m plastic spools online at Spotlight in Australia. The shades and colour numbers appear identical to the Scanfil organic threads and both are made in the Netherlands, leading me to think it is the same thread, just packaged differently.]



The background of the photos above is a sneak peek of another SIMPLY MINI Organic Quilt! The delightful prints are from First Light, an Eloise Renouf collection for Cloud 9, the prepared binding is 'Turquoise' from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of solids. More to share on that another day!  :)

*This is a fine tuning of an idea I found on Sam Hunter's blog - tip #five in her list of Top Ten Sewing Studio Hacks.

** This Etsy store unfortunately seems to have ceased operating.

*** I have just created a 'page' titled Thread Reviews, filled with quick links to each of the threads I have looked at in some detail over the last couple of years. You will find it in the row of tabs under my header.


Sharing at WIP Wednesday.


18 comments:

Erica Sta said...

First, I take organic cotton too. And I believe, it's better. Wonderful colours of säen and a very complicated machine with countries options :)))

Cathy said...

Karen,
While I have many friends with a sewing machine such as yours, I just do not like machine sewing enough to justify the purchase of such an expensive machine. But I certainly admire those machines, and have kind friends that have allowed me the use of their machines...I call them Roll Royces of sewing machines!
I like your ingenuity of getting this thread to work for you on your machine. I enjoyed reading about this thread too.

Blessings to you today.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Thank you Cathy. I never imagined I would own such a wonderful machine either however due to circumstances when my old machine broke last year, combined with a one-off opportunity, this machine became possible. The same threading set up would have worked on my 30 year old Janome also. I had never seriously considered using cones before but am happy to be able to now.

Dirk Rosin said...

det er super bilder, stilleben på sitt beste !!

SarahZ said...

aren't you clever! I have never considered using cones before, but will have a look see at my machine and see if your ideas might work with mine too :) Wooden spools are so...nice :)

Mary said...

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

DeborahGun said...

Thanks so much for sharing Karen. I am really interested in these threads and will definitely be checking out Lincraft when I am next back in Aus. I love your set-up for the cone too - I am sure that would work on my machine as well and if it helps to save money on thread then it is definitely worth a go!

Bloom said...

Luck for us, you are an ingenious problem solver! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us so generously. x

Rachaeldaisy said...

This is all such valuable information and will be a great resource for those searching on the internet for thread information. It's great of you to take the time to share your thoughts. I love that you are going totally organic with your sewing. I have a pile of threads to work my way through but when I do I'll look into trying some of these threads.

Kiran Ahmad said...

I find your blog very informative about stitchings and machines. Well done!

DianeLoves2Quilt said...

Love your ingenuity in the threading process. And thanks for the thread information. I am just now beginning to branch out in my machine quilting to gather data opinions on different threads. I certainly will book mark this post for future reference. Thanks for taking the time to write this and share it.

Lisa Gordon said...

Truly, you are so talented, Karen!!

Liz said...

What gorgeous looking threads. I love the creative way you've showcased them. When I used to sew, Gutermann was my thread of choice for all my projects. I love the colour scheme of the fabrics.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

I usually choose Gutermann threads if using conventional cotton or polyester too. I was returning to Lincraft to buy a replacement spool of Gutermann cotton in teal (not a close match in the organic threads) when I discovered their stand of organic threads.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Very thankful for this post I am hunting for organic thread! Do you know if the entire range of scantily is organic or is it just part of the range?

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Hi, I’m pleased this has been helpful. I’m not sure if their entire range is organic. Their wooden spools clearly state they are organic, as do the cones I have bought. You could clarify with any retailer where you find Scanfil threads.

Karen

Hope said...

I've recently seen The True Cost movie too (sobbed my way through parts of it) and am looking into organic sewing options. I'm also very keen to reduce my consumption of plastic. So I'm wondering, are the cones also on wooden spools? It looks plastic in the picture. Thanks!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Hi Hope, lovely to hear from you. The True Cost is quite a wake up call isn’t it. The cone is plastic, hollow through the centre and holds 5000m of thread. I guess the plastic is recyclable- you could perhaps enquire of Scanfil.

Karen

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