Have Your Say

18th December 2020

Falling (Back) in Love with Your Stash – Responses

by Nancy Williams

I want to start out with a massive thank you to everyone who responded to our article in All Stitched Up! issue #260 about my enormous stash and my rat’s nest of threads. I was thrilled to discover that I wasn’t alone and I have learnt so much from you all. I’ll do my best to try to summarise all of the wonderful messages we received but I am not sure I can fully do justice to all of the fantastic advice.

I was delighted to learn that I am not the only ‘collector of random threads’ out there.

It was also fascinating to hear how we’re all different in terms of how we store our random threads and what we do with them. Velia impressed me no end when she described how ordered her stash was. I was particularly taken by her description of all her thread ends wrapped neatly around pieces of card and stored in shoe boxes ‘like little soldiers’. That gave me storage envy! I so wish I could take up the wonderfully generous offer of Kathy Callahan to come and help me. Kathy loves sorting out other people’s stashes – the bigger the mess the better. If only I could let you loose in my craft room.

There were quite a few readers who recognised that the size of their stash was probably excessive and were already doing something about it. Both Joan Clark in the UK and Glenys Taylor in Australia donate their extras to charity shops, knowing the money is going to a good cause and other people will get joy from their stash. Sue Sanderson also wanted to give some of hers away and was fortunate enough to connect with a young lady starting out on a textile course. Sue not only generously donated several bags of goodies to this young lady, but also got the pleasure of getting to know her and passing on some of her knowledge. The joy she gained in helping the next generation clearly showed in her email.

There were plenty of practical tips as well which were gratefully received. Marion McCrindle suggested discovering new shades by working with different coloured threads together. Bonnie Adie shared a story about her friend who gratefully accepted thread ends for her machine embroidery. 

In terms of storage and organisation, Sheila McCoy explained the value of re-using cardboard rolls from paper towels to wind up threads, ribbons, wools and lace. She recommended colour co-ordinating them too. Also, in relation to colour, specifically in regard to the comment about the ‘floss toss’, Kirsty Fulton recommended taking a photo of the chosen colours as often the ones that don’t work will clearly either jar or stand out in the photo.

Stitches4Sanity uses leftover threads on old linens

Several of you shared how you use your leftover threads. The delightfully named Stitches4Sanity explained how she always uses leftover thread on old linens. She has even completed a project which her friend’s late mother-in-law had left unfinished, digging into her stash to do it and then gifting the finished work back to her friend once it was done.

Nicole Martin’s exquisite ‘stash busting’ project

Nicole Martin showed us a fabulous project she designed and completed using nothing but her leftover threads. It just goes to show what can be done with what you already have. Although Gillian Kirby did warn us about the difference in dye lots and colours, especially when you have very old threads. Just make sure you have enough thread to finish a project, as sometimes it is impossible to match it.

So, while just like Teresa Cain, I too go bonkers over threads and yarns, I agree with Muriel Broadhead that there does come a time when we perhaps need to hand things over to others, especially those who like finishing off other people’s work. Because frankly, like many of you, I have a SABLE. ‘What’s that’ I hear you ask? Frances Gedzium definitely made me laugh when she explained. It is defined as ‘Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy!’ Never a truer title has been given.

Thank you to everyone. I love knowing that we’re all in this together.

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