More on thread organization

Organizing threads is an on-going project…

My SplendoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAr, Watercolors, and DMC flosses and perles are sorted by number, the rest are mostly by color and then by number. If I found a chart for color families, I have a copy with the threads.  Splendor, Silk & Ivory, Vineyard silks (these are the ones that come to mind) also have color family lists that I think you can find on line at their websites…I keep a copy of these also with the thread.

I also have color cards for many of my threads and these are stored hanging, in my old wooden toy bucket, or in a notebook (these are all my Rainbow Gallery threads).  I need to update these too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me add a note here…I use and store my threads UNCUT, since I do some of my own finishing… I want to be able to pull the threads to use when making twists. I do not cut my Watercolours either but that is a post for another day. ThreadworX (http://threadworx.com/) is one of the few threads I have that are cut; the other two that come to mind are Dimin Epic and Rosebud Studio Felicity’s Garden and that is because they have such great animal fur colors. Epic and Felicity’s Garden are stored by color.

Back to storage…Some of the threads are stored on rings in sweater boxes; these are mostly stored by color, then number on large rings; the exception to this is ThreadworX and they are stored by number.

Another added note: I use the Floss Keys; I got mine from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) and Floss Pak bags to store yarns that I have begun to use on these rings.  If the skein or put-up  hasn’t been opened it hangs on the ring as is, but once I go to use it I wind it on a card.: I try to buy threads I know that have changes in their dye lots in pairs, so I will have two skeins of most colors. Once I wind one of these skeins on a floss Key I will store both in a Floss Pak bag. Once one of the skeins is completely or almost completely used I will buy two more hang them on the ring next to floss bag.

I also use the storage boxes I get at Hobby Lobby with my coupons; each box is labeled to the contents. Kreinik, DMC, Trebizond, Kreinik silks, Painter’s threads. Some others that I have limited colors are stored in these boxes too one for cool colors V-B-G and one for warm colors Y-O-R. These threads are stored by company , then by color, then by number;  I usually have less than two dozen of these threads per company…otherwise they would rate a box.  I always keep the label with the thread!  I make a template to store in the lid with number info for all these boxes.

All the DMC floss, #3 and #5 perle are stored in Hobby Lobby boxes. I use floss keys to wind the threads; each is specifically marked and is stored with the labels as well (I wind the thread over the labels.) The Floss Keys are marked not only with the color number on the top right but the type of thread on the top left: i.e. DMC (floss), DMC#3 or DMC#5.

 

I have some threads hanging on a wall but the sun does not hit them and they are mostly threads I have made samples of myself and some are discontinued or threads I do not use. I would not store threads here I plan to stitch with, there is too much of a chance they would fade or get dusty.

 

When I started this re-organization, I decided I also needed to update my inventory sheets. I have kept (and I use this term very loosely) a spread sheet of the different threads in my stash for years. I am not very good at remembering to update these files and so as I started the physical re-organization of my threads, I also took the time to update and re list threads in the spread sheets. DMC was the file I had semi kept the best and it was fairly easy to update. Some of the other threads I had listed all their colors even though I only had a partial inventory; so I made a second sheet within the spread sheet for the thread and called it “my threads” and the complete list is “master.” I moved the color info for only the threads I have in inventory to the “my threads” sheet. Now when I go to use threads I will be able to see if I need to fill in families (if info was available).

It took me a while to set up but it keeps me on track. I have been a poor record keeper and so I have some threads that I have kept buying because I was not sure I had them. I have 7 cards of #820 red Splendor; since this is a Christmas red I think several of these are probably from classes I have taken but I probably bought several too. I am from the school when in doubt, buy two. I have a few others of these and I did notice they are all in my comfort palette so I know I have purchased them more than once.

I have promised myself now that I am pretty thread organized both in storage and on paper I am going to keep it up. Will let you know at the end of the year how I feel I did. I have also bought a small loose leaf notebook (5.5×8.5″) that I am going to adapt the spreadsheets to fit, so when I am shopping I have it with me. Probably won’t work as well as I envision but we’ll see.

Storage and record keeping of threads is an ongoing thing and a personal thing. I think you have to look and listen to how others do theirs and then incorporate what works for you. AND then you have to be diligent about using your method.  I have a friend who gives or throws her threads away after every class or piece she stitches…she says it is more trouble and aggravation to remember where the threads are, to get them, and she never has all the right ones. There is too much Scotch blood in me for that…

Now that I have my threads in 85% order…it’s never completely finished, I am starting on all the stitch diagrams and stitch patterns I have collected and want to put in my computer. I know there are a great many stitch books out there and this is just for my benefit, don’t plan on writing a stitch book. But I have lots of stitches I have written down that I think could be developed into quick little designs.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Needed to reorganize

 

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My office and threads got away from me last year and even though I DO NOT make New Year’s resolutions, I decided reorganization was needed. I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to do this and nothing jumped out at me, so I decided to just jump in and start.

I made some basic decisions: If a thread is discontinued, I was getting rid of them: Good-bye Marlitt; Rainbow Gallery has discontinued threads over the years and I still have them, good-bye discontinued threads.  I had a complete set of JP Coats and I don’t think they make it anymore and if they do, I never used it.  There are two exceptions to this rule: Orange Needle Necessities (now ThreadworX) Overdyed Rachel. ThreadworX does not produce this thread and I love it for carrots and carrot noses so I horded several skeins for my own personal use. And another Needle Necessities thread, an overdyed Madras in blues was perfect for my Peter Rabbit coats; so I horded it too. I have been to the ThreadworX website (http://threadworx.com/) and have noted a few choices to replace these threads. ThreadworX if you are reading this: would love a #5 perle cotton in Trick or Treat orange.

I also decided that if any of my DMC floss or perle cotton was cut I would get rid of it. If I use perle cotton for stitching a Temari ball, it cannot be precut because I use very long lengths when stitching Temari Balls. I did keep my Anchor perle cotton, although I have heard it had been discontinued (Anyone know anything about this?). And I do know that Colonial Needle (http://colonialneedle.com/) carries a full line of Finca floss and perle cotton thread (sizes: 3-5-8-12-16) in a great color range, so I’ll start adding that to my stash. 😉

My old threads are going to a friend who uses odds and end of threads and canvas to stitch hearts for a Hospice Home near her. A heart is placed on a patient’s door after they have passed away. This alerts staff and visitors to be respectful and quiet around this patient’s room. The family is then given the heart when they leave. If there are any threads she doesn’t want she will send them to a prison in Ohio that used them.

So I began. Then I had to decide if after I separated all the threads I was going to sort by number or color. I finally decided on using both and seeing if I prefer one method over the other. All the DMC is stored by number and I will continue to do this since I have a great color card. If I stored a thread by color then within that color I stores in numeric order. Watercolours overdyes I stored by number but others I stored by alpha name. I guess you just have to find a method that works best for YOU.

I also decided to wrap all my threads on large floss winder cards and so I ordered 1000 floss Keys and 200 Floss Pak bags from YarnTree (http://yarntree.com/) so I can start this process. I also purchased some storage containers from Hobby Lobby to store the floss keys. I have begun a slow wrapping process…as I need a new thread I will wrap it on large floss winder cards. I also use these floss winders for any thread that is skeined, even overdyes. This will be an ongoing process; otherwise I will not get anything else accomplished this year.
I finished my reorganization this week-end by labeling all the containers. I feel so accomplished. I have two boxes and a bag for my friend who stitches hearts. I got rid of 4 large sweater boxes from my closet and I still have a closet full of threads! And of course, we all know that when I go to stitch, I will not have all the right threads….Stitcher’s Law. 😉

I don’t know if this is the final reorganization or whether I’ll redo as I go, but it is sure a lot better than it was last year. And I am still looking for an answer to whether Anchor is doing away with their pearl cotton? I would love to hear from you on how you store your threads. Do you store by color by manufacturer, a combination? I think when we share , we learn and that’s what this is all about and having fun stitching of course.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

P.S. Someone asked me this week what “ttfn” means.  So for those of you who don’t know it is from Winnie the Pooh; Tigger says it all the time. It means “ta-ta for now” or “ttfn”. Winnie the Pooh books were my favorite growing up and my grandmother used to say this to me. So if Carol Burnett can pull her earlobe for her grandmother, I can ttfn for mine. It just makes me smile and we need to smile and make the world a nicer place.

Stich’n & Comput’n

For the past two weeks I have been frantically using my fingers to either stitch or write stitch guides; the tips of my fingers are screaming, “What is going on?”

It all started two weeks ago when I remembered I had a 1st Communion coming up for one of my Grandsons and I better get his gift because I wasn’t the only Grandmother looking for a gift.  I get these ideas in my head and then when I can’t find what I want I get frustrated; and that’s just what happened to me while I was shopping. I had decided to get him a statue of his name saint and couldn’t find one I liked. So I am now aimlessly walking around the store looking for something I do like. Finally decided to look for a card and that’s when inspiration struck.

14-05-08Comm pictI found four cards and one I decided would make a great needlepoint design and sure I could design and stitch it in a week. (My Guardian Angle must have been taking a short nap because it didn’t jump in to say, “REALLY????”…I am such an optimist sometimes. So I purchased 4 cards and a few other little things (the trip wasn’t a complete bust) and came home. Good thing my DH was driving because all the way home I was thinking about the design. And I could tell by the look on DH’s face, he thought I had lost my mind…I think if I had thought about it I would have too; but I had seen the cross immediately…so how hard could this be? By now my Guardian Angel was awake but so taken back she couldn’t so anything but keep those negative thoughts out of my head.

Once home I got out my trusty computer and scanned a copy of the card into the computer. I knew I wanted the design to be about 4 inches square. I had already decided that if I couldn’t find a frame to suit me I would make a stand up or an ornament; so I wanted the size to be smallish. 4 inches give or take would be a good size, that was 72 threads, give or take, on 18 count canvas..

First I did the lettering: Name, Church, date, 1st Communion. I have two go to alphabet books:

1. Rose Ann Hobbs; Designed Alphabets Book 1 (I have Book 1 and 2 and would love to find 2 and others she wrote)

2. B. Borssuck; 97 Needlepoint Alphabets

14-05-08Comm Step1 borderI used two alphabets: 9 high for upper case and 5 high for lower case. I played with the placement and once I got the lettering into place I knew how much design area I had to work with and if I was going to be able to fit the design inside lettering.

I had seen the stitches for the cross the minute I 14-05-08 Comm Step2 crosslooked at the card, it was just one of those fall into place moments (trust me this doesn’t happen often). So the next step was to see if the cross would fit and still leave room for the designs. So I plotted the cross.

Once the cross was in place I placed small pictures of the motifs in the spaces and started plotting stitches I 14-05-08Comm Step3 motifsthought I would use. This all came rather quickly and I did not second guess myself. My Guardian Angel was working overtime just keeping me on track; she already knew this design was divine inspiration and her job was to keep all negativity away from my thoughts.

Next step was to pull threads and I pulled way too many overdyes but I stepped OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback and pulled some go to DMC cotton solids too. I needed a Kreinik gold metallic that I had in various sizes. There was not time for a trip to needlepoint shop…and anyway we
only have one with a large variety of threads and it is OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby appointment. I could have called the owner and if she had what I needed she would have opened for me but I was already pushing the envelope and tried to find threads in my stash.  My thinking on the threads was I wanted to use threads that would wear well with young children…remember at this stage this design still had possibilities of becoming an ornament.

With threads pulled, canvas on stretcher bars, I sequestered myself in my stitching nest and started. Found in my haste I had made a couple spacing errors in the lettering but nothing that was going to throw the design out of line.  After the border was stitched I found the center of the remaining area and began the cross. The cross is my favorite part, I saw it from the minute I picked up the card and now it was stitching up just like I saw it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I got to the motifs…I had more inspiration. Why not try needleweaving for the challis…if it worked then I would needleweave the basket for the hosts too. My Guardian Angel by now was wide awake and pulling her hair out, how much could she do to keep this design on track? The challis worked out just fine and so I started the wheat. The wheat was stitched like the designed had planned but just wasn’t looking good but it would have to do for the moment. The hosts and basket were next and they too stitched up just as I hoped. The grapes I had seen as beads but at the last minute decided French Knots would be a better choice. Okay all the motifs are completed but the wheat has to be redone. It just looked awful and needed help. So I cut it out and went with a heavier thread and straight stitches instead of Lazy Daisy stitches. It looks much better and it is done..

All I can tell you is that it was divine inspiration and my guardian Angel was working overtime to keep me from second guessing myself…and to keep my fingers moving with needle and thread. I wish all my designing came this easy…

I found a frame and I have put the piece together and last Sunday one of my Grandsons received his own personal 1st Communion gift, a true gift from God. I blurred his name because I have a thing about kids names on the internet…especially little kids. Thank you God for this special project!

2014-05-08 GradThen in a misguided state of “You can do anything”, I decided to make a graduation needlepoint for his sister who is graduating from 8th grade this year. Border of course was easy…trusty alphabets. But that shamrock gave me a run for my needle. I had plotted it on the computer but for some reason was having more trouble with this design than the other; probably because I was second guessing myself. Then of course I did not have the right green ribbon for the cross, and none was to be found in town (I called) so I had to make an executive decision and I think I chose right. I had a multi green but I think it had too much blue; I like the gold better for the cross. But I persevered and this is her gift she will receive for graduation next week.

2014-05-08  Stitch guideAnd in-be-tween all this stitching I was writing stitch guides for pilot classes and the stitch guide for the 1st communion piece. And since I know this 1st Communion design was a gift from God (I on my own do not work this fast)…I want to share the design with everyone. If you email me: sudu@kc.rr.com, send me your email and I will happily send you a PDF of the design. I just ask that if you stitch the design you send me a picture.

All I can say is if the rest of my body worked out as much as my fingers have these past two weeks, I’d be in great shape. This week’s pace is a bit slower I have another pilot class to compute and always have something to stitch, but my fingers are not moving so fast.

Thank you for stopping by this week and I hope you have time to stitch every day in May! ttfn…sue

Back to Mom & Me

I finished stitching the flowers and leaves and filled in the green leaf areas. I used an overdye for the leaf area and stitched one area at a time. I thought I would go from side to side across the entire piece but I did not like the look and so I frog stitched it out and tried one area at a time. I tried to get each area alike but when I was finished I think the two left are similar and the two right are similar…oh well, it is stitched.

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Up close I am not impressed with the flower area but as you get some distance to the piece I do like the look and since I have a finishing idea in mind (more about this later) I think it will be fine. And anyway as my friend says, “If your close enough to my piece to see my mistakes; you are too close.” So if you are going to be this close to the piece you are too close.

After I finished the flowers I went back and filled in the bunnies and since I had the white thread out I got carried away and stitched the bunny tails in Turkey work. Mom’s tail has longer loops than baby bunny. I thought at first I would trim and brush Mom’s tail but I like the different lengths and think I will leave them both loopy. I probably should have waited until I finished the back ground but, oh well…

I have started the background and am using ThreadworX’s floss. I am puddling the stitches, I really like this technique for overdyes. Puddling keeps thread from developing a striped effect like you can get when you stitch horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The only thing I have found that I have to watch is making sure I don’t develop huge areas of one color. Some overdyes have a tendency to have larger areas of one color than another and if not careful you can develop large areas of one color. Helpful hint: cut out large areas of one color.

Last fall I showed you how to stitch the puddle method with a continuous uncut overdyed thread, like Watercolours (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/overdye-puddle-stitching/). With ThreadworX it is a slightly bit different because these threads are cut into given OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlengths of thread. When you open a skein of ThreadworX’s and lay it out there will be an “A” end and a  “B” end and it may appear the same as an overdye that has been cut from an uncut overdyed thread (like Watercolours). The difference is that ThreadworX’s threads are consistently similar where Watercolours may vary a bit as the skein is used because of the dying method.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch aWhen I puddle stitch I randomly pull ply and stitch. I do keep “A” ends together and “B” Ends together; if you don’t then you will get a blended effect and that is another way to stitch with overdyes. For my purposes in this design I am keeping the “A”  ends and “B”  ends together in the needle…BUT I am randomly deciding which ends (“A”  or “B” ) goes into the needle.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch cExample: With one strand of thread, using 2 ply in the needle to stitch, there are three stitching lengths in a thread  per strand: 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B (Oh I knew those math classes in school were for something…remember those teachers that said you would use these principles in life?). I divide these threads and place them in three needles 2 ply A-B, 2 ply A-B AND 2 ply B-A. (it could have been any combination…remember that math week on variables…this is an applied use and for all you math geeks out there…it is 5 choices.)  Then I pick a needle stitch with this needle, then I randomly pick another needle and last the final needle (and this variable greatly increases but I missed that day in math class.). I have no idea which is which (well I do but I don’t pay any attention and just stitch). I continue to do this throughout the piece. And I also vary the placement of the stitches so a pattern does not develop.

14-04-25 Mom & Me background stitch bOkay, Math class is over and I need to get back to stitching the background. For this background I chose a four way continental stitched over 2 threads…I wanted an open background that would allow the painted background to interact with the thread. I didn’t want to lay every thread and so I borrowed a technique from Cross Stitcher’s, “Railroading.” Railroading is where you place the needle between two plies as you return the needle to the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback of the canvas. I have Cross Stitch friends who can do this with any amount of even plies (2-4-6) but I can only do it successfully with two ply and usually on longer stitches. You can see the technique in the picture.

Hopefully next week will have it finished and then need to decide if I am tackling the finishing or sending it to my trusty finisher…Part of me wants to learn to do this and another part of me says you traded that sewing machine for a laptop and stitching. How many of you tackle your own finishing?

Thank you for stopping by today and I hope you have time to stitch everyday! ttfn…sue