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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've just finished unwinding the thread on 8 class 66 bobbins.  This happens to me all the time when I get bobbins in attachment sets - they have multiple windings of different thread on one bobbin.

Why?!!  I can't think of any reason to do this yet it is so common that I'd say about 60% of my acquired old bobbins with thread are wound this way.  I can understand trying to conserve thread but how would you ever know or remember what's under the first layer?  And on many of my bobbins there are three or four different threads on ONE bobbin.  Is it just laziness?  I just can't figure it out - all it does is take up space for less thread that you need to wind.

Just my rant for today as I find it so annoying to have to unwind bobbins before I can clean them.  I'm just perplexed why this was so common a practice.  I've not seen this done on any long bobbins.
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaly
...what's under the first layer?  And on many of my bobbins there are three or four different threads on ONE bobbin.  ...

I've not seen this done on any long bobbins.


Only four?  I have done at least nine (that I counted) and I have read of more.  I have seen it on several of the long bobbins, as well.  Unfortunately, I still have a few that are the ones that I did it[redface][rolleyes].  I did it because I needed to mend something that I didn't have a bobbin with the color I needed nor did I have any empty bobbins. No, you don't remember what color was below, unless there were just a few wraps left when done mending.  That way if I needed the underneath the few wraps, I didn't have to unwind a whole bobbin.

Janey

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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Only three or four, my experience, five is magic number. There is no reason, it is a FILO, first in last out process.

I actually find it most often on long bobbins. Sometimes colors are bright, and even silk. I imagine what dress may have been for, and what it might have looked like.

Placing bobbin in container on floor and standing over waste basket pulling and releasing is fairly fast. Finding next start is sometimes difficult.

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #4 
Must have been lots of mending going on or just maybe scarcity of bobbins!  It's still perplexing.   I like the FILO process explanation!
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seb58

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Reply with quote  #5 
I've been asking myself the same question.... Why on earth would they put thread upon thread instead of unravelling the bobbins... Of course there must have been the question of thrift: waste not want not! I thought it was a thing of the past until I offered my mum to gather all her bobbins and put them in the box I gave her. She has a modern plastic machine that uses class 15 bobbins (I also gave her a Bernina 730 Record and she has an antique National treadle with the leaf-like tensioner at the top that is mostly for display) and then I saw that most of her bobbins (plastic) had at least three layers of thread when she had about half a dozen empty bobbins! I was about to unravel them to make it tidy but I ended up with a good scold so I left the bobbins alone lol! I figure old habits die hard!
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Ana's Dad

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Reply with quote  #6 
I suppose it did save time, but essentially left several unidentifiable layers below that were never seen or used again. It also meant the bobbin could only be used each subsequent time for some diminishing portion of its capacity.

I can see having one or two bobbins just to be used in this way for quick mending etc. but when I scored about 75 vintage 66 bobbins at a thrift store (all from the same source) I found just about every one had been treated in this way and I think 8 layers must have been the average. What that person saved in time they must have spent buying bobbins. However, thanks to them I am set up for life with 66 bobbins -- which I unwound 😊

I kept some of the thread for fun, kind of like an art project...

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Ericka

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Reply with quote  #7 
I have also found numerous layers on the round bobbins and the long bobbins.  You have to keep in mind that many of the users of these machines were depression-era people or WWI or WWII.  They didn't spend any extra money that they absolutely didn't have to, so extra bobbins were definitely a luxury.  Now, if they were really thrifty, they should have been able to wind just enough of the new thread that they needed so that it would get completely used up on their project.  Unfortunately, I don't think they were thinking quite that thriftily 😉  I remember cleaning out one of my grandparents' homes, on a 250 acre farm with outbuildings and there were things like broken toilet seats that were saved in the outbuildings because you just never knew when you might need a part off of a broken toilet seat.  They sure didn't want to go back to an outhouse, lol!!!!

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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #8 
My wife has found spools, where bobbins were unwound onto them, to save thread, that's thrifty.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #9 
It is FAR more common to find multi thread long bobbins that to find single color thread in long bobbins.

We talk about how "difficult" it would be dealing with all of those remnants of thread, but from our perspective, sewing machine bobbins normally have one color and are full, so the thought of using fragments seems silly.  However, if you grew up with hand sewing everything, the thought of complaining about having to change thread or color every few feet seems silly.  

I know my Grandmother picked seams of old cloths and saved the thread.

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ellellbee

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Reply with quote  #10 

I think frugality is the basis for it. They only wind enough to use for the project and enough to make sure they don't run out. They rarely had more than a few bobbins so didn't have one bobbin for each colour. They also wouldn't waste the thread so they didn't remove it and throw it away. You would think that they would have wound it on old toilet paper rolls or something like that but thye didn't. I may also be a matter of mending in a hurry so just wind on what you need and don't take the time to wind up the other thread first. 

Interestingly, I refurbished a 99k that a friend inherited from her Mom. We sat down for a mask making binge to test it out. When she needed a new colour, I noticed she grabbed a partially filled bobbin and was going to add to it with another colour. I reminded her that I gave her lots of bobbins for it, then she filled a new one but only with enough for what she needed. It may be just short term thinking. 

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pgf

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Reply with quote  #11 
Speaking for myself, the notion of "only wind as much as you need on a bobbin" is a difficult concept to grasp.

First I'd have to have some clue as to how much thread it will take to make, say, four masks.  And then I'd have to know how much that meant in terms of what it looks like on a bobbin.

It's one of the reasons I like chain stitchers so much!

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purplefiend

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Reply with quote  #12 
The most number of different color threads I've found on a vintage bobbin was 15 on a class 15 bobbin.

Sharon in baking hot Austin,Texas
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf
Speaking for myself, the notion of "only wind as much as you need on a bobbin" is a difficult concept to grasp.

First I'd have to have some clue as to how much thread it will take to make, say, four masks.  And then I'd have to know how much that meant in terms of what it looks like on a bobbin.

It's one of the reasons I like chain stitchers so much!

Yep - the darn things run out of thread all to quickly as it is! That's why the National Two Spool was such a fantastic idea, albeit somewhat clumsy. I recall a Belly Dance "Stitch and Bitch" costume making session where myself and a dance sister were running the machines while others were cutting, serging and ironing. She and I ran out of bobbin at exactly the same time, and we had the same choice words to say about the situation! And got a good laugh out of it!

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplefiend
The most number of different color threads I've found on a vintage bobbin was 15 on a class 15 bobbin.

Sharon in baking hot Austin,Texas

That is at least appropriate - but I'd have been really bad if it had been a 66 or 99!

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellellbee

 It may be just short term thinking. 



Ellellbee, I think you've calculated this perfectly!  From what others are reporting this is even more common than I've experienced and using lots more thread types per bobbin.  I'm  venturing to surmise that all the small amounts of different thread were used for mending- because the amount is small and in mending its important to have a good color match.  I will also surmise that time was critical - folks were extremely busy and when you have a pile of mending to do, plus all the other daily chores, you probably don't want to take the time to clean out a used bobbin and save the thread on another spool. And probably in times past bobbins were not so plentiful for the average person. And they didn't want to throw away any precious thread - even though they really knew that they will never remember what's under the last layer.  And lastly, habits are difficult to break.

When I start a project, I always wind enough bobbins to get me through - plus maybe an extra.  I can always use up any extra bobbin thread on the spool pin as the top thread and I don't have to be distracted when I'm sewing to stop and wind a bobbin - although this wouldn't be possible if I'm using one of my long bobbins. I'm also pretty conservative with thread - since lots of the thread I use can be expensive - so those bobbin threads are always used one way or another.  I also find it practical to use neutral colors for thread - many projects don't require an exact color match.
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #16 
How do you calculate how much thread, and how many bobbins' worth you'll need?
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf
How do you calculate how much thread, and how many bobbins' worth you'll need?


No formulas for me - just my acquired wisdom from past work!
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