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.
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.]
*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.