Monday, May 9, 2011

Thread dispenser -- the budget version

Recently the Quiltart list got buzzing about a nifty product, the Martelli Kwik Spinner thread dispenser.  It holds big cones of thread, turns on ball bearings for easy feed, is adjustable in height so the thread comes out just right for your sewing machine, and is heavy enough not to tip over if you run into it with your quilt.  Don't you want one?

Maybe if I tell you the price -- $149 -- you don't any more.

I felt very smug.  Here's my Kathy Loomis thread dispenser.  It works with any size spool or cone and feeds out at the right height (above the sewing machine).

holds two spools/cones at once!

smooth path -- thread won't snag or escape!

with optional holder, even the skinniest spools won't tip over!

Maybe if I tell you the price -- about 10 cents for two bulldog clips -- you'll want one of these instead.


  1. Thanks for the laugh !!! Still typing with tears in my eyes (from laughing sooo hard ...),

  2. I'll take two please. I'm a big spender.

  3. Yep, that's much more my style! Mine has taped on paper clips as the guide, but otherwise looks a lot like yours!

  4. your post makes me laugh so hard!
    I also have one of these but since I use big spools I've bough the extra-large version ^_^

    great second life for a peaches-in-syrup jar!

  5. Yours looks very similar to mine. I have a clip on my sewing machine and the thread in an old jam jar.

  6. Tell me more, please. Is the thread then simply threaded as usual onto the machine? Is the trick having the thread come from the approximate area (hence the clip guide) that it would if it were on the spindle?

  7. Thank goodness I read this post on Monday. I was having a heck of a time machine quilting last night - the thread kept breaking and it was driving me nuts. I got out a binder clip, put it on my light, threaded it, and off I went. No more thread breaking! Thanks Kathy!

  8. wow, and here I thought I was being so original!!

    Anne, I think the trick is no so much how the thread enters the machine path but that the thread feeds off the end of the spool. the same effect as if you put the spool on a horizontal pin on your machine rather than a vertical.

    on some machines you may want to tape a paperclip to the machine body so the thread doesn't escape as it comes down from the lamp. but my main machine has a nice metal guide loop and the thread almost always stays in place.

  9. Why is it that manufacturers feel they can slap the word "quilt" on something and charge usurious prices for the thing? I worked in an all-kinds fabric store a while ago. A 120-inch tape measure in the quilt department was $3.99; a 120-inch tape measure in the general notions department was $1.99. (Of course, I did fail to persuade someone who persisted in imagining that "quilt inches" were somehow different than "regular inches," and she paid the premium for her idee fixe. But that's a different conversation . . .)

  10. Actually, their system works best for straight wound threads (not cross wound) so that the thread is pulled off the cone at a perpendicular angle to the cone. If the thread is pulled to the top then it twists and eventually breaks. Unfortunately, all our home made systems don't work for all threads, especially the straight wound metallics and flat silvers. I'm still looking for a cheaper solution than Martelli's ...