The Machine

comments: 237






I wasn't sure if it would work. We had forty-six cones of floss (in fourteen different colors), and I wanted to be able to unwind them into 18" lengths, all at the same time. We bought three 6-foot-long 2"-x-4"s, pounded enormous nails (each about 6" long) equally spaced down the length of each board, then placed the cones on the nails. We had another little board with a big eye bolt twisted into it, to act as a big needle. Then we clamped everything to the table, and threaded all of the ends of the floss through the eye bolt, and pulled. You have to pull hard. All forty-six cones turn at the same time. It's loud. And really cool. You pull enough out so that you can measure an 18" length (indicated by two pieces of blue tape on the table), and then cut all of the strands of floss at the same time. Then you fold them all neatly and put them in a little bag. Over and over and over again. We've been taking turns at it. I've heard a few people mention that this concept is like a Lazy Kate, which I think is generally used (on a much smaller scale) to ply yarn? It's actually really fun. It's gotten easier to pull as the cones have gotten smaller. I was pretty dang excited that it all worked!!! And it looks so pretty, too.


So cool! Can't wait to get started on my first cross stitch project! Sadly, I missed out on the Daisychain kit, but maybe with your new system making the process easier, you'll consider a reissue? Though I'm sure you have great ideas for new projects lined up - looking forward to them too!

Ingenious! Super-de-duper awesome:) Can't wait for the kit info!

That's amazing, I love it when something fairly simple works so brilliantly, good luck with all your kits!

That is the coolest thing ever! I obviously don't get out much. :)

Love it. Love it. Love it!

Back in my grad school days, I worked on a design/build project working with enormous timbers. We had to make these amazing wood columns. The process was roughly: get square 12' length of Douglas Fir timber, shape it back into a cylinder (the column) and then continue shaping it to our finished form which was tapered at both ends. We built all kinds of things to accomplish this task. The most awesome was a sort of cradle for the columns. Steel bolts at both ends allowed it to spin in the cradle and then we worked a jig with a router over the sides as it spun to create the taper. We went ahead and hooked up a bicycle (!) to one end with the chain around the column's spindle to turn the column. It was amazing! Sadly, it didn't work too well. The chain kept coming off and you needed a few people to act as manual "brakes" to stop the column. It was great, though. Eventually a hand-crank was devised. Anyway: I love this stuff!!

awesome. add mechanical engineer to the list of your crafts. i actually think that planning and building knitted, knotted, sewn garments is engineering, or at least trains that part of the brain where it takes place. do you think you're more spatially intelligent since you started crafting daily?

This is super-awesome... not overstated... I just love the intelligence, efficiency, and ingenuity of home-made making!
Alicia and Andy, for the win! And Clover, for the adorableness.
Oh-man, it really does look cool.

it looks like there are 10 cones of white and two red. can you 'splain?

So brilliant! I got all excited just looking at the photos. Homespun and cottage industry people make me happy.

sorry, three red, and other reps of cone color.

Oh man, I think I would love to do that task! It seems like one of those "Oh Ya" kinda tasks :) Super cool!!!

That's brilliant! And so pretty!

I notice no-one else has asked, so I have to - that sweater!! Someone is wearing a gorgeous sweater in the background. Is it handknit? It looks all cable-y and maybe like it was knit out of sock yarn. And it even has a hood. Can you tell me anything about it?


WOW!!! :) All of those colors are so pretty!

I am loving your daisy cake tin in the photos too...:)

Happy day to you!


So clever and wonderful that it works so well, especially with the supervisor under the table keeping a sharp eye on things. My heart loves to see skeins of thread in pretty colors - something fun to play with. Waiting impatiently to be able to buy this sampler :)

beautiful beautiful colors!

Whoa! So cool! I'm so excited for the sampler kit!

The Machine rocks!!!

You are brilliant! My husband has been eager to see what you came up with. I'll be hauling him over to have a look-see.

it IS so pretty, my excitement over this new kit is getting almost unbearable! Thanks alicia and friends!

Oh my goodness. This is brilliant! And beautiful too, it looks like an art installation!

Well done. The machine is amazing.

What a fantastic idea! I'm really looking forward to the new kit!!!

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the first picture of all the floss. I can't believe how excited it made me. Looking forward to getting my hands on a kit. :)

What a great idea and Clover Meadow supervising from under the table. What lovely pictures.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at