The quest for wooden rings

*sings* On the fifth day of Christmas my postman brought to me – 200 wooden rings! And here they are:

200 wooden rings, pre-sanding

You may wonder why he brought 200 chunky, unvarnished wooden rings, a bit rough round the edges and in need of sanding. And the answer is, “because I can’t get the slim, petite, varnished wooden rings that I really want!

It won’t surprise you to know that I possess a fairly wide range of perle cottons. #8 and #12 come in balls, and that’s how I store them. #5 comes in skeins; those I cut open so that I have about 25 1-yard lengths, which I then attach to a small wooden ring, which in turn is attached to a larger, hinged metal ring with others of a similar colour. Here is one of my “green” rings.

A ring of greens

When I started this system, I bought a pack of 20mm light wooden rings on eBay; they were nice and slim so the hole was big and easy to thread a skein of perle #5 through, varnished smooth, and marker pen was clearly visible on them. But isn’t it always the case? You find something useful and you don’t buy enough to keep you going for a few decades, thinking you can always get some more. Ha! After a while (stash always grows more quickly and, well, just more than you expect) more rings were needed, but the only ones I could find were much thicker. Still, they were light-coloured and smooth, and they worked.

Two thicknesses of light wooden rings

More stash expansion, and more rings needed, especially as all Threadworx threads (perle of all thicknesses as well as stranded cotton) come in pre-cut lengths, and are therefore much easier to store on rings than on bobbins. But light wooden rings were suddenly a thing of the past, so I had to settle for dark wood – the first lot I got was nice and thin, then they too started to grow more solid. And of course marker pen was not at all easy to read on the dark surface; I tried a white gel pen but it smudged. Trying to think outside the box I had a fling with some white plastic rings (possibly meant for shower curtains, I can’t remember), but although the numbers were easy to read on them, threads wouldn’t stay put and worked themselves loose. Something to do with too little friction, I suppose. There are, of course, those lovely Kelmscott mother of pearl thread rings which are light-coloured and just the right size, but at £6.50 for 10 they would soon deplete the budget.

The dark ones and the plastic ones aren't nearly so user-friendly

Then I found some light wooden rings again. Hurray! They weren’t quite what I was looking for – 23mm instead of 20mm, and quite thick, and unvarnished and a bit rough looking, but not too expensive and worth a try. They took quite a bit of sanding, and about 25 of them were just too rough to entrust my pretty threads to, and they are definitely a lot more chunky than I would have liked; on the other hand, they are legible and they hold the thread well.

The new rings are a lot bigger

But if by any chance you do happen to find some 20mm varnished light wooden rings, about 3mm thick, could you let me know?

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