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

Advertisements

Needed to reorganize

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

My Doodle Canvas Notebook is born…

2015-06-23 ToitI have been contemplating starting a “Doodle Canvas” for years but have just never got around to it. Well, I have found “a round to it and wooden nickle” all in one …so I now have a Doodle Canvas too.

I have always thought you should have a “Doodle Canvas” but just never listened to myself. I have taken classes where teacher/designers have either suggested this; asked you to bring a Doodle canvas on stretcher bars; or supplied you with canvas (you bring the bars.) Susan Portra uses French Knots and suggests you practice making about 10-20 French Knots on a “Doodle Canvas” before doing on the stitching.

Then when I discovered “blog-dom” and became addicted to following blogs,  I began to see Doodle Canvases with purpose and still I did not heed. PinTangle (http://www.pintangle.com/ ) has documented hers. Here is how it all began: http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/

Blogs had been speaking to me for years about “doodle canvas” but I just wasn’t listening…

Be Stitched several years ago (http://bestitchedneedlepoint.com/news-and-updates/what-the-doodle-is-a-doodle-canvas/ ) and

And Threads Across the Web: http://threadsacrosstheweb.blogspot.com/2011/11/doodle-page-exotic-swirls.html. She calls hers a “Doodle page”

Needle Bug (http://www.theneedlebug.com/) ) calls theirs a “sample canvas.”

And even Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread blog tried to tell me to start a doodle canvas.  (http://www.needlenthread.com/2014/10/5-reasons-to-make-keep-a-doodle-cloth.html)

Thought these were very cool but still it did not motivate me to start my journey. BUT I wasn’t able to get these out of my mind and I would think about this when I was stitching. So for the last several years I have had good intentions and we all know what road that paves; but still I did not heed that little voice in my head until earlier this year.

I had cleaned out some UFOs and knew I would never finish stitching but it seemed a shame to dispose of the canvas, so I put the canvass aside until I decided how to use them. And then while cleaning out a sewing drawer too, I found two things I had purchased in quantity.  Grommets and bias tape…I must have had something in mind or just thought I needed them because I bought 2015-06-23 Toolseveral packages of both and have never opened any of them. At that same time my daughter-in-law showed me this neat little gadget she had bought for something she was making and I realized I could use my grommets with this cool little gadget.

Canvas, bias tape, and grommets…hummm… the “doodle canvases” were born. I made two and put one on stretcher bars. Now I had no excuses. Still that canvas sat around for a couple months until one day I needed to practice something and I did it on the bottom of the canvas I was working on only to wish I had done it somewhere else. Not because I didn’t like it or that it ruined the canvas I was stitching, but rather because when I finally finish this piece you will not see my experiment that I like. If I had done this on my “doodle canvases” I would have it for future reference…as it is now I will have this scape of canvas to keep track of.  So then when I needed to practice some decorative flower stitches and ribbon stitches for this same project I remembered the “doodle canvases” and thus was my start.

2015-06-23 Notebook 1 2015-06-23 Notebook 2 2015-06-23 Notebook 3

Remember early this year when I was taking about notebooks? Well I have been pretty faithful about documenting all my stitching in this notebook. When I finish stitching a piece, I put the notes in the computer and fold the pages up with the name of the project written on outside of folded pages. So I started documenting the “doodle canvas” too. This week I finished using the first “doodle canvas” and documented it in the computer. I haven’t decided if this is the final format for this but I wanted to get it computed and move on.

2015-06-23 Doodle Canvas 1So now I have “Doodle canvas #1” and its documentation; another notebook in the making.  Here is my canvas and how I documented it. I had thought I would use something I found at the quilt show to make a cloth print of the documentation to use as the backing of the piece but as you can see I have lots of documentation and it would be larger than the canvas…so 2015-06-23 DoPg01b2015-06-23 DoPg01aI am formatting and incubating ideas again. I am thinking that I have several other projects that I want to make into book formats and this will be the canvas I use to experiment with the covers. Someday I will be blogging about these too but right now the book finishing is still in the incubation stages, doing research and formatting ideas in my head and on paper too.

I don’t think everyone has to go to the extreme I have but I hope you will all consider the merits of a “doodle canvas.” You can experiment with threads: new threads, combination of threads, number of plies needed to cover the canvas or to get the desired effect. You can play with stitches: change the direction of the stitch, play with threads to give the stitch a different look, or just practice those French Knots  or as I have found Bullion Knots too. And best of all reasons: On a doodle canvas there is no “frog stitching”,  there are no mistakes only less usable ideas. And for those of you who are really creative you could create a design and make Christmas ornaments or scissor fobs, any small project for all your stitching friends. If you keep them, think of the reference canvas you will be making…. I like the roll that Sharon B on Pintangle makes (http://pintangle.com/2008/12/31/for-the-love-of-stitching-band-sampler-back-story/)  but that is not for me…a book will serve me better…find what works for you.

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

ttfn…sue

Needlepoint Housekeeping

It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Read that on someone’s blog and thought it was great (sorry I forgot to reference the original blog  source).

January (even though it is mostly over) is usually the month we all get real impulsive and  decide to organize our lives (eating habits, exercise habits, and yes even our stash and needle nests).

My impulsiveness was happily contained by my bout with the flu; no diet for me and it’s much too cold to even think about a walk to the front door let alone around the block. But while I was recouping  my January/ February issue of 14-01-28 magazineNeedlepoint Now (www. Needlepointnow.com)  arrived…and just in time too, I was about to suffer from complete needlepoint withdrawal since I had not stitched in two weeks. I read EVERYTHING even the page numbers on every page 🙂 . And there within these pages were others talking about organizing their stash and needlenests.  I like the rest of us who have more than a dozen different threads have contemplated for years: store by color or thread type, that is the question.

ED NOTE: if you know needlepointer  that only has only a  dozen threads , you need to have an intervention quickly…that needlepointer is having a needlepoint  breakdown  So, quickly have several friends send her a few extra threads so she too may contemplate the age old question: color or type?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is not a single answer to this question; everyone has to find the system that works for them. Last year I semi- reorganized my thread stash and came up with a system that works for

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

me. I used all the thread rings I have a decorator elements and hung them in my office; I have my OLD re-purposed toy barrel I use to hold most color cards; I have a notebook to store Rainbow Gallery color cards and the rest of the

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

stash is sorted by thread type in boxes in my thread closet that when we remolded the office I had them leave the doors off. So from my desk I can see all the threads, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Most of the drawers are Rainbow Gallery and these threads are stored by type: Splendor, color: yellow, number 1,2,3.. The larger boxes are also by supplier: Caron: Impressions, Brown Paper Packages: Silk n Ivory; DMC flouche…and these are sorted on rings by color and then numerically. All the overdyes are in boxes by name or number which even the thread manufacturer suggests. I have two boxes from the hardware store; one holds Kreinik by size and color and the other has Needlepoint  Inc silk by color and Trebizond by color. Most of the floss and perle coton are being converted to large plastic floss cars and stored in divide craft boxes.  And this works for me.

14-01-28 nestAnd I have a new addition to enhance my stash collecting and needle nest. Last year when a local needlework shop closed I purchased at the auction four empty DMC floss cabinets. I drew up a base that I wanted to have made and asked my husband to make it for me. Life happens and the stand got put on the back burner but not forgotten. Last week-end the base was finished and now sits next to one of my needlenests waiting for me to fill it up. Oh what is better than a stash area waiting to be filled!

And yes I have more than one needlenest…I have to have a place to stitch in all my favorite places…There is a place in the library with all my needlepoint books, a place in my office, one in the sitting area of our master bedroom and of course the family room too. My sons are constantly reminding me that when they were young and left their toys all over I would tell them to pick them up and take them to their rooms or the toy room. And I am just as quick to remind them that what I said was a case of “do as I say not as I do” ; or they can just blame it on getting old…I forget where my nest is and just make a new one…and if that doesn’t work for them: it is MY house I can do what I want.

Okay I am off to fill my DMC drawers and have a good day, after all I only have three more days left in January to be impulsively organized (this compulsion usually abates itself by Valentine’s day.) And remember it does not matter how slow I go as long as long as I don’t stop until the drawers are full of stash…sorry Confucius for the play on your words.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Overdye: Puddle Stitching

Anne Stradal’s (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) wrote me last Friday and asked if I cut the overdyed thread to puddle stitch (see comments: https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/henny-penny/). So I decided that if Anne didn’t understand what I was trying to write I’m sure there are others too, so let’s talk about overdyes and puddle stitching.

13-09-30 overdye thread

I do not cut the overdye thread in this instance. Here is a graphic of a length of an overdye thread; I have numbered each segment with an arbitrary number of stitiches (10-8-12-6-etc…). Notice that there are three circled 10’s; these are the beginning of the repeat. The numbering has no significance in puddle stitching other than to show the repeat and the number of stitches I arbitrarily assigned to each area.
13-09-30 overdye stitchesThe next graphic shows this overdye thread stitched in Continental Horizontal rows (top left), Basketweave (bottom left) and then puddle stitching on the right. I attached the sequence numbering to all these so you could compare to the first graphic and follow he sequence of stitching. The puddle stitching is a bit hard to follow but you can and there is no method to this it is just a random thing.
Puddle stitching is nothing but a group of stitches randomly placed together to form a puddle of color. You could call this method a glob, blob, whatever you choose to call it…but then it would have to be glob stitching, blob stitching and I like puddle stitching best. Remember this is not my technique I learned it from John Waddell (http://johnwaddellneedlepoint.com/index.html)  in his Fun with Overdye class.
If this has confused you more I am sorry but just drop me note and I’ll see if I can do better or take a class from John, he’s really good.
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!
ttfn…sue

What’s on the label

I’ve been stitching my value samples and I started looking closely at the floss labels I am using (Anchor, DMC, Finca and Sullivans). Each has their own way of presenting themselves and three of the four have these little symbols, so I decided to investigate and do a bit of research (stuff in my files from distributor or manufacturer.) What I found is as follows:

Anchor

Research: 100% premium long-staple Egyptian Giza Cotton.

Label: 6 strand 100% mercerized cotton. Color Fast. Made in Hungary. 8 meters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Symbols on label: (left-right):
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle with diagonal lines: Only non-chlorine bleach when needed
Square with circle and an X: Dry do not tumble dry
Iron with 3 dots: Maximum temperature 200 degrees Celsius or 390 degrees Fahrenheit High
Circle with P: Dryclean any solvent except Trichloroethylene
Circle with double arrows: recycle symbol

DMC
Research: Long staple Double mercerized, Color Fast.

Label: 6 strand 100% cotton. Made in France 8 meters (8.7 yds),

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Symbols on label: (left-right):
Circle with double arrows: recycle symbol
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle with CL inside: Chlorine bleach allowed (/Wikipedia says this is obsolete)
Iron with 2 dots: Maximum temperature 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit Medium
Circle with P: Dryclean any solvent except Trichloroethylene
Square with circle and an X: Dry do not tumble dry
Finca

Research: 100% long staple Egyptian cotton. Mercerized. Color Fast. Bleachfast Shrinkfast

Label: 6 strand 100% Egyptian cotton. Color Fast. Made in Spain 8 meters (8.75yds)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Symbols on label: None

Sullivans:
Research: 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, color fast, fade resistant.

Label: 6 strand 100% Egyptian cotton. Color Fast. Made in China 8.7 yds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Symbols on label: (left-right):
Tub with number and line underneath: Wash permapress (95 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Triangle blank inside: Any bleach when needed
Circle with two dots: Dry medium heat (Note really did not find the actual symbol but found circle with 2 dots to mean medium heat.
Iron with 2 dots: Maximum temperature 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit Medium
Square with circle and an P: Dry clean any solvent except Trichloroethylene

I thought this was very interesting, especially if you use 2 different flosses in the same design be sure and use the lower of the two settings recommended. Also I will tell you that when I was in St. Charles I saw a stitched sample of Finca threads that was reported to have been soaked in chlorine bleach for a long time and the colors had not bled nor faded. I personally would not try this on a finished work until I had personally experimented on my own…but I don’t plan on spilling anything either. I am a firm believer of food and drink not mixing with needles and thread.
And if you would like to research you labels try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_symbol
Or just google the symbol.

I’m off to JoAnn’s to see if I can find a ribbon to finish my value scales and I hope to have these to show you first of next week.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!
ttfn…sue

Different Threads

Liam…another project stitched… and a disclaimer…If the designer suggests threads I would use them…she probably has spent a good deal of time choosing these threads. That said, let me show you what happens when I don’t follow my own advice.

Anne's piece

Anne’s piece

Anne Stradal (http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) at ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) stitched Liam this way, it is her design.

I stitched my Liam with these threads.

I used the same stitches but I decided to use threads in my stash rather than purchase new ones. I used

My Liam

My Liam

some threads that are out of production but thought they would work.
The only area that did not work for me was the scarf. My thread choice was not variegated enough to make the stitch show direction. The swag of the scarf should show a horizontal direction/pattern while the ends should be a vertical direction/pattern. I will just have to outline the horizontal swag of the scarf to delineate it more.

Anne's in B&W

Anne’s in B&W

mine in B&W

mine in B&W

But for the most part my threads did work; mine are darker thread choices but the values changes are the similar and they work; look at the black & white photos. The jackets are the lightest value with the lapels being slightly darker than the jacket but lighter than the rest. The pants and the next darker value, followed by the scarf and then the outlines are the darkest value. Anne’s has 6 values in her piece and mine only looks like 5 values; my pants and scarf are the closer in value, but both work…Anne’s is just more correct.

Learning to check values in a piece is a good thing to know. You can do this with your phone camera or digital camera (most have a black & white setting) or a copy machine will work too. It is a good tool to use when choosing your threads for a painted canvas. Lay the threads on the canvas close to the areas you will be stitching; take a picture of them using the black and white setting on your camera or lay them on the copy machine to do the same. If the values of the threads are close or right on to the painted canvas the threads will work.
If while you are stitching something doesn’t please you or look quite right, take a black and white picture and check the values of the colors being used. If a color is off it is most likely the value of the color and not the color…the value of the color will either blend with the other choices or stand out as too light or dark. Value choices are the biggest mistake we make when using color.
On a completely different though…I hope all United States citizens have a Happy 4th of July and for those of you across the ponds from us, have a great day. And may we all get to stitch today and all week-end …Thank you for stopping by today!

ttfn…sue