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5th August 2022

Thread Storage and Embracing the Middle

In All Stitched Up! issue #337, we wrote an article about thread storage. Collecting threads is one thing but storing them neatly is quite another! We loved hearing about some of the thread storage solutions our readers use, and we definitely picked up a few interesting tips ourselves.

Ann Pocklington from the UK told us that she stores all her threads on bobbins in transparent boxes. One of the things she loves about them is the rainbow effect when they are all ordered neatly, which appeals to Ann’s artistic eye. In fact, Ann is also a member of a digital camera club, and recently the monthly theme for the club was ‘colour’. Ann immediately thought of her thread storage boxes. She reassembled her threads into a ‘thread rainbow’ and her gorgeous photograph ended up on display at her local library.

Ann Pocklington’s ‘Thread Rainbow’

From the UK to South Texas in the USA, Roxanna Hauschild wrote to us about her multi-step way of storing her threads. Because South Texas is hot, humid and full of bugs that love to nibble, Roxanna places all her threads by colour into a metal box as soon as she gets them. Her DMC threads have their own special box.

When she starts using a thread, she winds it onto a cardboard bobbin, then puts it into a plastic bag in her work bag. Because Roxanna likes things to be neat, when a length is cut or the strands are separated, they are then put on to a wooden bobbin in the same bag. Once the bobbin has been used and the project is done, the remaining thread on the cardboard bobbin goes into the plastic boxes designed for them.

‘It may seem a bit complicated, but it works for me in the place I live! My metal boxes have saved me a lot of grief and they stack beautifully on the shelves.’

Ann, one of our regular contributors, told us that she’s been collecting all sorts of threads and yarns for years. When it comes to storage, she opted to group them by colour rather than by type. She uses ‘under-bed’ plastic crates that are shallow enough to allow for index cards to stand up, and just wide enough for two rows of cards with a bit of space between them. She places all her coloured threads into ziplock bags with the index card for support so that they will stand upright. When it is time for a new project, she looks through her rainbow and chooses the threads she needs.

Finally, Jacqui Harvey sent us a photo of her ‘storage’ that spoke directly to our own hearts! Jacqui told us she was extremely lucky to be sponsored by DMC who sent her all their threads for her quilting. She still has a lot left over, many in their original skeins, however, she shared with us a picture of her working threads…

Jacqui Harvey’s ‘Threads in Progress’

She’s currently stitching a large piece of crazy patchwork, and this method works perfectly for her. In fact, she never has any difficulty pulling out a length, and most are cut to the exact size she needs!

‘I do pay tribute to all those stitchers who have more patience than I do and tidy their threads away. I think my husband would prefer it if I was more like that!’

All Stitched Up! issue #337 also contained an article talking about the importance of appreciating the ‘middles’ rather than always looking towards the end or anticipating a new beginning. This caused a few readers to reflect. 

Ann wanted to share a sad story that exemplified this. She admitted that she has spent far too much time during her life fixed on the ‘next thing’ while the middle passes her by. As she says, when you’re young you believe you’re immortal, but as you get older you come to the realisation that this life isn’t a dress rehearsal. It is all you have. 

One of Ann’s sisters was an avid machine knitter, but as a theatre nurse she didn’t have a lot of time for her passion. She stockpiled projects and materials in anticipation of having more time after she retired. Sadly, she died before she even had the opportunity to retire. Ann reflects on that by saying:

‘Enjoy the present. Do as much as you can while you can and keep your memories of what you have done for later.’

Laura Gafney told us that she took up needlework forty years ago to train herself to be in the moment. Embroidery forced her to slow down and do one stitch at a time. Doing is good but being and doing at the same time is better. Even now, whenever Laura is working with her hands, she finds herself feeling grounded and present. She revels in the ‘middle’ because ‘that’s where our lives are made.’

At 86 years old, Jacquie Ashley says she has been inundated with ‘middles’. But that was OK. After reading the article, she took a deep breath and relaxed for the first time in a while, reminding herself that the middle was a good place to be.

Finally, Lorraine Meyers told us that the middle is where she gets the wonderful feeling of ‘Oh wow! I am doing this! Look at what I am actually creating!’. At the beginning, she is apprehensive and at the end, she is far too critical, so the middle is the best place to be.

Thank you for your thoughts, stories and ideas. Please keep sending them in. We’re always here, ready for a cuppa and a chat and eager to take some time to share in your stitching experiences with you.

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