organising thread for big projects

Machine embroidery is making use of a sewing machine or specialty embroidery machine to create freeform stitched designs or personal patterns onto assorted materials. 

These designs are digitised computer files that are read by the embroidery machine and then sewn-out onto the desired fabric.

Machine embroidery can often appear intimidating initially, however, having the essential materials to use your embroidery machine, fully comprehensive instructions and a few helpful hints and tips every now and again can alleviate the novice embroiderer in their new-found hobby.

Needles, thread, stabiliser, bobbins, and the perfect design are the key to fun and successful machine embroidery.

Machine embroidery can be used in a variety of ways. To become a skilled machine embroiderer takes practice, time, and the aid of a few ITH Machine Embroidery hacks and tips to keep you going. Especially when beginning some of the larger embroidery designs.

For this Blog we will be stitching our exquisite Grizzly Bear Embroidery design. This design has a whopping 69,266 stitches taking a total of 219 minutes.

During your stitch-a-thon there are 34 thread changes. Yep, it's a BIG ONE! But as you can see below, totally worth it.

Grizzly Bear Embroidery Design - Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs

Now, when you’re dealing with this many thread changes, there is no way around it, you must come up with a reasonable, logical, efficient system for your organising your threads.

Especially for projects like Grizzly here where the colour pallet is quite similar.

Doing a quick search to see if there were any other helpful hints our there, there are lots of “systems” available to help you organise the thread for your projects. The important thing is that is quick and easy for you to follow while stitching your design. So we went with the list or sticker option below -

These are the points to consider:

1. The system must allow for clear labelling or easy to follow

2. The system should be as space-efficient as possible, despite a large quantity of threads.

3. The system should be able to be neatly contained, closed up (to keep things tidy), especially if you need to take a break from your embroidery design.

4. The system should allow for easy replacement of threads of threads if necessary.

You will need:

  • Small stickers or Masking Tape
  • Pen or Marker
  • Basket or Thread Box
  • Note book or Piece of Paper or White Board

Select the threads that you would like to use for this design.

We pulled out a lot of browns, tans, white and black threads for our Grizzly Bear, however, get creative with your designs and use whatever colours you would like.

Cathy Begin-Nielsen - Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Grizzly Bear design

When looking at the screen of your embroidery machine there are some suggested numbers along the side to assist in tracking your thread changes for the stitch out.

Note: This will be different depending on your machine. We are working on a Brother Innovis 2200 VE.

As you make your way through the steps of your design, take note of the colour number suggested and make note of this on one of your stickers or masking tape.

If you do not have stickers or masking tape making note of the thread number and jotting this down on a list with your thread number or colour is also an idea.

Then pop the sticker on the top of your thread spool and you're ready to go.

If your thread does not have the space on the spool, like our Sulky Threads, simply stick the sticker temporarily on the edge of your sewing desk, while using the thread, and be sure to pop it onto the spool between uses.

We hope that this little solution was helpful for your next big embroidery stitch out, if you have any hints and tips to share we always love to hear them. Comment below or join our Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Group and share what you know with our members (who eagerly appreciate handy tips and tricks for their favourite hobby).

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Grizzly Bear Embroidery design

We have a number of online communities (Facebook Groups, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube) that you can reach us on. Otherwise you can always email us at

If you would like to learn more about In The Hoop (ITH) Machine Embroidery we have some wonderful tutorials, online groups and a ITH Machine Embroidery course available.

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Click Here

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Facebook-Cover-1.png

Our Online Embroidery Groups are a wonderful way to stay in touch with like minded ITH Enthusiasts, gain inspiration, share projects and get crafty in the hoop.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sweet-pea-fb-group-cover.jpg
Sweet Pea Online Machine Embroidery Group

We have a Pinterest page of both our ITH Machine Embroidery Designs and the wonderful projects made by our outstanding and creative customers.

It is a great location for inspiration and seeing the versatility of ITH Machine Embroidery.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-30-at-8.17.32-am-1024x569.png
Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Pinterest Page

We have a wonderful ITH Machine Embroidery Course for those looking to learn a wonderful new hobby or gain a greater knowledge and further their techniques in the hoop.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Group-Header-FB-37.png
Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - ITH Machine Embroidery Course
Category_sweet pea extras!