Embroidery Thread Storage

I am being totally honest my embroidery thread has been living in storage boxes in a shopping bag in the centre of my loungeroom for years. It was right next to where I sit on the lounge and was handy to access when I was in front of the tv but really it shouldn’t have been living there. I am in the process of decluttering and sorting things out so last week I decided it was time to tackle my embroidery threads.

Most of my embroidery threads were my mum’s. She had them stored in plastic boxes that you can buy to store embroidery threads in once you wind the skein onto bobbin tabs. Mum had them sorted by brand and colour number. If you do cross stitching or embroidery where colour number is important it was a good way to sort them. Thinking about how I actually use embroidery thread I go by colour. I’ll have a gift that I need to embroidery and it is a matter of finding a colour to match it. I had 4 boxes of mum’s threads and 1 of my own that each time I was looking for a colour I would look through, most time I ended up using the colour I found in the first box. Another problem I had was that because I needed to put the threads away in number order, I never actually put them away after I used them instead I would just put them aside on my craft table and when I had a heap I would sit down and put them away at once which could be months after I used them. The way I had them clearly wasn’t working for me, top it off where they were I would constantly knock them over or trip over the bag they were semi placed in. They were a trip hazard and trip hazards are bad in our house.

My first task was to go through the bag and boxes to find all the skeins that needed to be placed on bobbins. I had way more than I thought I had. It was a chance to cull some of them that were poor quality or looked old and manky. In front of the tv I sat and wound each one onto the bobbin cards. I did this over a couple of days so it was really easy and not as a cumbersome task I thought it would be. When you’re watching tv you’ll be surprised at how fast you can do them.


After I had them all on cards I did the daunting tasking of emptying all the boxes onto my craft table and sorting them by colour. I did 9 main colour groups – greens, blues, pinks, reds, orange, yellow, purple, brown and other which was greys, blacks, neutrals. This gave me a chance to see what colours I had, how much I had of each and roughly what boxes I could put them in. I had no idea I had so many greens and browns, I thought I would have a lot more purple.

When I placed them in the boxes I did them very roughly darkest to lightest. I tried to keep shades together but I wasn’t so fussy that if I placed a slightly darker one amongst a lighter one that I needed to resort the box to make it fit. As long as I had the colour group in the one box I was happy. I can easily search through and compare colours if they are all in one box. I thought it would take me hours to sort them out and place in boxes but according to my Instagram photos I took I did it about an hour which is pretty fast. I did place special ones together such as all my pearl threads which are thicker or some sparkly threads which I had no idea I had in the one box so I know that is the box I go to for them.

I found a new home to keep the boxes too. In the last 8-10 months I have slowly been decluttering my house, part of what I have done is toss out a heap of my old craft mags creating empty shelves on my bookcases in the study. These boxes fit nicely on a semi empty shelf. I can access them pretty easily, I still need to clean up further in my study but that’s another job on my todo list.

Organisation is very subjective, each person needs to find the best way to organise their things that works for them. What worked for my mum clearly didn’t work for me, however now by sorting the threads in colours and storing them that way 100% works for me. I only have to look through 1 box to find the colour that I need, putting things away if I have used 2 colours I only have to open up 2 boxes to put them away. I’m going to be more inclined to put the threads away straight after I use them in this more simplistic system. By placing them on the shelf I have eliminated the trip hazard that they were in the loungeroom. I no longer will knock them over and have all them all fall open on the floor which was a nightmare each time it happened. I’m starting to see empty space now in my house and I am enjoying how it looks. To be honest my craft supplies were starting to get out of control and stress me as I just saw them as clutter with how messy they looked. Crafting for me is meant to be my way of dealing with stressing, it shouldn’t be the cause of my stress. Decluttering and organising can become very addictive, if you don’t believe me try it. My best friend lives over 4 hours away, we keep sending each other photos of things we’ve sorted out or decluttered. It is very satisfying seeing an area you have cleared up and taking a photo of it. Between us we don’t know who actually started the decluttering bug, we both claim the other one started it neither less we have the decluttering bug and are motivating each other to get in and just do things. Some people might be able to organise things on their own but it is fun to have a friend to do it with. We are proof you don’t even need to live near each other to help each other out in the decluttering process.




Embroidered Pillows

Embroidered Pillow 1
These are the last of the Christmas gifts I made this year. I wanted simple projects as I learnt the embroidery element of my sewing machine.

Embroidered Pillow 2

The pillow fronts are what I made when the stabilizer incident occurred. On the embroidery machine I the stitched the child’s name on the fabric then roughly free hand drew flowers with washaway pen that I hand embroidered over the lines adjusting the shape of each petal as I went.

Embroidered Pillow 3

What I really like about this project is that it incorporates both hand and machine embroidery. I love the look of machine embroidery, its fascinating to sit back and watch the machine do its thing but I will always love hand stitching.

Farmyard Friends Bookmarks

Farmyard Friends

2 more Christmas presents finished. These bookmarks are from Farmyard Friends by Julie Lembit which was published in the Holiday Craft 2011 magazine. There are 6 designs but these little guys just spoke to me. Even though these guys are very simple I did have a boo boo moment when I was stitching them together. In the haste of not paying attention to what I was doing I put the backing on the wrong way and when I stitched the dog realised I was meant to have the pieces right sides facing therefore I couldn’t turn it out the right way. When I was stitching I had the embroidered side down and my mind was thinking something is wrong here but instead of stopping I kept going. I was going to trim around the edge and call it a design feature but I wasn’t happy so got out my unpicker for some reverse sewing and un did it all. I’m glad I did. Had a I used a contrasting colour it would’ve looked ok but plain white just looked out of place around the edge.

Hand Embroidery To Hoop Or Not To Hoop

Urban Stitches Project End Day 2

I find it interesting to observe people and see¬†when doing hand embroidery¬†those who hoop and those who don’t.

Angels Watching


I’m not a strict hooper or a strict free hoop embroider (are they even real terms?) For me it depends on the project I’m working on. If I’m doing a pre-printed stitchery then I always like to have it in a hoop. I like how taut the fabric is in the hoop, I find I can do small fine details easier in a taut hoop. The draw back to a hoop is that often you need to re hoop it a few times due to the size of your hoop or stitchery. I don’t like the creases it leaves even though I know I’m going to iron it out anyway.


I like to free hoop if I’m doing a project where it is simple lettering or features. There isn’t a lot of detail and usually I finish it quickly. For me letters on a kids book isn’t worth the time hooping. If a project is really small like satin stitching an eye onto applique I can easily control it in my hand.

Embroidery No Hoop

I’m curious as to what others do. Do you have a preference?

Project Completed

Over the weekend I completed the embroidery project I started at Urban Stitches

Pendant Necklace

We were supplied with suggested instructions on the colours to stitch each pendant. I opted to embroider this geometric one in shades of blue as it more suited my colour taste, at the time I didn’t know what I would use each pendant for. In our project pack we were supplied with the notions to make one pendant into a necklace and by chance I picked up a project bag that had a blue leather necklace in it. Once I finished stitching this pendant it was always going to be the necklace. I really like how it turned out.

Hedgehog Button

I decided to turn the other pendant shapes into fabric covered buttons. When I assembled the first one I didn’t really think too much about it. I’ve never made fabric covered buttons where print direction was an issue. It was only once I snapped the backing on the button I realised I should’ve paid attention to the front of the button as the loop on the back of the button is side ways. If I turned him into a hair tie he would be facing side ways. The fabric is double layer as it has a backing on it so I couldn’t easily snap it out of the button and try again. I’ve decided instead I’ll thread some elastic cording through it and turn it into a necklace for a child this Christmas. The side way loop is perfect to hang it as a necklace

Embroidered Buttons

I paid more attention when assembling the other 3 pendants. I will wear these as hair ties.

Winter Secrets – Hearts Entwined

Flicking through the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine (Vol 23 No 8) a project really jumped out at me. Winter Secrets by Cinzia White. Its a table centrepiece / runner that is a giant hexagon. It is made up of 7 blocks. Each block is hexagon stitchery containing 7 hexagon designs. Its all just straight shapes and lines. It looks amazing. I’m a very geometric person and I love hexagons so that’s why I think I was drawn to it immediately. I’ve decided to make it but in true style I’m adding my own twist to it.

Winter Secrets

This first block is called Hearts Entwinded. I’m only tracing one block out at a time.

Drawing Original

In Cinzia’s design on each block the 7 mini hexagon designs are each a different colour. I’ve decided to do the entire stitchery in one colour. I brought a heap of embroidery threads a few weeks ago and I hope I have enough for the entire project or I’ll be hunting down that colour towards the end. It looks great multi-coloured but in my mind I can picture it in one colour. Also I’m not tracing out all the blocks by hand I’m going to use the drawing feature on my ScanNCut machine.

Drawing Attempt 2

This is going to be a looong term project for me. I’m going to work on it when I can but I’m not pushing myself to finish it. I will finish it no matter how long it takes. All other projects will take precedent but when I just want to pick up something and do a couple of minutes of back stitching I’ve got something already to go. Every stitch counts. Every stitch is relaxing. I don’t do a lot of projects for me but this, this is mine.

Sashiko Finished

Sashiko Finished

I have finished my Sashiko panel. Its only took me 4 weeks. I love the finished pattern. I’m a very geometric person so that is why I was drawn to this design. It will be turned into a pillow at some point.

The back looks fairly interesting too. I don’t know if I did the correct Sashiko knots to end and start the thread but it doesn’t look too messy on the back.

Sashiko Back

I will definitely do another Sashiko piece at some point but I’m not sure when. I have another stitchery planned before I can think of any other needlework.

Sashiko Half Way

Sashiko Half Way

Last week I hit a milestone and reached halfway through my Sashiko piece. Already you can see the pattern forming. It was really quick to do as essentially all you’re doing is stitching over the printed straight lines. At this stage it looks like I may turn it into a pillow for my lounge. I will wait until I finish it to decided. My mind is already thinking of what other Sashiko projects or stitchery projects I can do. I really do enjoy needlework but I need to follow printed lines or draw lines in pencil on items myself. I can’t do anything that involves counting as I like to zone out when I craft.