Saturday, 20 September 2014

Thread reorganisation essentially complete

Hello!  Today I'm going to share the results of my big reorganisation project.  This may turn out to be a 'thread envy' type of post as it features virtually every embroidery thread I currently own, but I just want to say that the reason I'm creating it is to share my pleasure at having completed a big job and maybe even give some helpful storage ideas for those in need of them.  Bragging or showing off doesn't come into the equation.

Many of the threads I've got here came in newsgroup stash exchanges, or when I've been given gift money or ONS gift vouchers/certificates.  Some have been special offers on e-bay and some have been me reinvesting money I'd just made by selling my own stuff on e-bay, or just by plain saving up pocket money.

It's also a collection ranging back over 12 years and there aren't any really pricey ranges here, such as Au Ver a Soie, or Silk Mill, where you're looking at around £3 per skein.  Most of my stuff is around £1 per item, even the silks!

OK, having got the 'non-bragging disclaimer' done with, the first photo shows the completed drawer tower.  The thing is, before, I had things I didn't use very often in these drawers, such as haberdashery and papercraft supplies, and that was mad given that it's very much on-hand storage for me, right next to my desk and easy to use.  Now it holds almost exclusively embroidery threads.

As you can see, I moved the art caddy and silks box off the top (the art caddy being far too heavy and the silks running the risk of fading in direct sunlight), and put them on the floor.  I've re-placed the Kleenex on the drawers' top instead, which also frees up the desk space again.  I love as clear a desk as I can manage.

Here are the four drawers now:

The first contains packs of needles, some elastic etc and some cotton and paper round moulds for making stumpwork fruit etc at the back (left hand side here).  The front holds my organza ribbon pack, three packs of scraps of metallic threads, both from use and the smaller bits from a Kreinik Bag-of-Bits that I went through thoroughly the other day and sorted out well.  Other than that, there are a bundle of DMC skein metallic threads and five or six Anchor ones in there as well.

Moving on to drawer two and, with the exception of the DMC Linen threads collection, all these are variegated to one degree or another.  There are some DMC and Anchor multi-colours in stranded cotton and pearl #5 as well as a few from the Caron Collection and some Weeks Dye Works multis at the back.  The front section holds the rest of the WDW and also some Gentle Arts Sampler Threads.  I had a whole lot more, but sold them about 5 years ago as I really couldn't see myself using them, so I just keep useful looking shades.  I've also separated out some Anchor multi-colours in pearl #5 and #8 to sell.

Drawer three is my favourite.  It's the least fancy being just solid colours of cotton threads, but I really like it.  At the back are some skeins of Anchor pearl cotton #5, then almost all the Anchor Coton à Broder #16 shades (not a very good collection of colours, I feel, especially the greens - yack!) and around 40% of the newer Coton à Broder #25 range.  This is almost the only section of my whole collection that I'm planning to expand in the near future as I'm currently saving up for the rest of the shades and, very likely, some of the DMC range to plug the many colour gaps.  With only 80 shades in the range, it's bound to be very limited.  It's better than it was, though, as there used only to be 40.

The bottom drawer contains 'shinies' in the form of Madeira Silks (stopped from moving around by an old pincushion!!) and Anchor Marlitt.

As I'd taken the Marlitt out of my wooden box, I had room to spread the pearl cotton #8 and #12 balls out a little more.  Those on the left are all #8 with three more in the browns section.  The rest are all #12 and there's a bit of room in the drawer to get a few more.  I'd like a few more floral shades - pretty pinks, purples and a deep red.

Although the organiser still hasn't been fixed to the wall, I've finished this section too.  One of the Really Useful Boxes I emptied and put my goldwork threads into (I don't have many as, as you might recall, I'm not big on working pure goldwork, although I love to add metallic touches and goldwork trims wherever possible).  I also decided which pencils I wanted to have to hand and filled up my store tubes.  Those were a really good deal - just £3 from Hobbycraft.  The RUB organisers can be bought from there too at the decent price of £18 (although I got a slightly damaged one for £12 on Amazon), but take care that you get the 0.3l boxes, not the tiny 0.16l ones.  Those tiny, dinky ones look great and now come in all sorts of fun layouts and colours, but they really don't hold anything.  The clear 0.3l or the coloured version is far better IMHO.  Of course, it depends entirely on what you want to store, but Mill Hill bead packs don't fit in and I could get next to no Kreinik spools in one too.

The basic idea of all this, apart from busting out of my old system, was to have to hand and easily visible the things that I use most or want to use more.  I've now put most of my low use sewing threads and card making trims into the blue craft tote on the floor as I don't often need them and it wasn't sensible having those so easy access. Before, many of my threads were in boxes in that blue box.  I needed to go through two or three stages to even see what I wanted, compared to a simple one stage layout now in the drawers.  I was watching a YouTube video the other day where a stitcher showed her cross stitch stash storage.  She had things in piled up boxes and bags in a chest of drawers.  There were several stages involved in getting to each item, including high demand tools and threads.  I wanted to eliminate this wherever possible and simplify the whole thing.

So the real moral of today's story is: if you're thinking about having a sort out or tidy up, take some time to really think about making it the most user friendly system for your own personal needs.

Moving on now to the very last stage of things:  the stranded cottons.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not that likely to resort my stranded cottons after all.  I think the idea I had would have worked, but I can't be sure that it would have been so much better than it is now.  Actually, the real problem is that the box containing the stranded and pearl cottons is in a different room from the rest of the collection, which is somewhat contrary to the above, no?  Rather hard to solve too, owing to space restrictions.

I have the DMC threads that I've invested in sorted into colour bags and, as you can see somewhat from the last photo, esp. the bottom row, unlike DMC, Anchor colour numbers tend to be in colour families anyway, at least from 1 to 403, which seems to be the basic colour range.  As for the others, I know where the most useful newer shades are in the numbering system and have the real thread colour chart, so I think I can manage for now this way until such time as I find myself rarely working others' designs (when I need to get threads out according to shade number), so I'll leave them as they are.  I don't mind doing the reorganising work, I just doubt it'll really be worth it.  That may mean that I use more DMC when I need to get colours out purely by shade, but that's hardly a problem!  I think I've bought all I mean to get of their collection for the time being anyway and am happy with what I've got now, esp. the greens and purples, many of which are very different indeed.

So, no more excuses now, girlie.  Back to your stitching!=)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2014


Createology said...

Congratulations on your amazing thread organization. I need to do this and you are an inspiration. Creative Organizing Bliss...

Rachel said...

Congratulations indeed! Now, in about six months, do let us know whether you feel you have to tweak it!

Queeniepatch said...

Thanks for sharing your thread sorting journey. I hope the new system will mean you can spend lots of time stitching with the perfect thread. Have fun!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Wow! What a lot of work, but obviously so worth doing. Curious to know what you do with the threads from a skein that you don't end up you wind them around the skein or have some other system of storage for those?

Bits of Stitching! said...

Lovely arrangement! I've always liked the idea of having frequently used threads/supplies visibly at hand. It looks inviting, lending itself to self-motivation & to find the time to sit and stitch :-). Perhaps someday I'll be able to do something similar with mine. Enjoy and have fun with your new thread system!

Meari said...

It's looks great. Kudos to you for getting it all organized!