Thursday, December 13, 2007

SBQ: Thread Management

Do you do anything special to your threads before putting them through your fabric to make them more manageable? (Submitted by Nancy)

Other than licking the end of the floss to get it through the eye of the needle, nope. Of course, I've been working mostly with DMC and have only recently branched out into overdyed threads, so I never really felt the need to, unless you count working with metallics. I hate working with metallics. Probably some sort of thread conditioner would make my life easier. So I ordered a bit of Thread Heaven when I placed a Stitching Bits and Bobs orders. We'll see how that works out.

Well. That was easy enough. Might as well contemplate some more SBQs while I am at it.

6/14/2007: How do you store your WIPs and other projects that you have kitted up? (Submitted by Jennifer)

I try not to kit too much up ahead of time, but when it comes to stitching, Ziploc bags are the best thing ever. (Okay, one of the very best things). If the chart doesn't come in it's own ziplock bag, I put it in one, along with fabric and fibers that I may have purchased especially for it. Until I'm ready to work on it, it lives in a plastic underbed storage box with the rest of my stash.

When I'm getting ready for new pieces, I usually pull about 2-3 things that are appealing to me or that I need to get done and they move into a smaller plastic storage bin next to my stitching chair. At this time, I make sure I have everything I need in there to start stitching, and I will usually take out the fabric and cut it to size, marking the center. That piece goes in the project bag, and the excess goes back in the original fabric packet bag that's marked with the count and color.

I work on scroll frames, so I usually don't worry about taking pieces off the frames between stitching. All of the fibers for current projects are stored in a plastic bag, and that bag, along with the chart, sits on top of everything else in the stitching bin next to my chair. If I'm working on a small project, that goes in the box too and the lid snapped on. If I'm on a frame that doesn't fit, I put the frame where it won't get damaged or dirty, usually behind my chair. (No kids and a very complacent cat makes this possible)

6/6/2007: What has been your most challenging project and why? (suggested by Ish)

I might have mentioned this one before - the On Safari piece I stitched for my friend Michelle's daughter. They did her nursery in a jungle theme and I couldn't find anything I really liked for her birth record until i found this piece on eBay. I was so excited when I saw the listing that I didn't realize it was on plastic canvas until after the sale was complete. But I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and at first, it was fun. Stitching on the canvas was a new experience and different that stitching on fabric (it was still using threads). Stitching the crosses wasn't bad, but for some reason, doing the backstitching on this piece was sheer torture for me and it took me longer than I thought to finish it. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but I would never want to stitch it again.

5/30/2007: How many needles do you use during a project? Have you ever loaded up a needle for every color? Do you use a new needle for every project or recycle your favorite needle? (suggested by Kathryn)

I probably use about a dozen needles at various times during a project. I picked up a square plastic magnetized needle case in the quilting section and I like to use that because it keeps my needles in place and with the lid that snaps shut, they don't fall out when I travel. Probably I should sort my needles better according to size and all, but I like to pick needles by how they feel - I can tell the difference between the really thin ones for high count fabrics and the thicker ones for Aida just by feeling them.

If I am going to be stitching a lot of one color, I will cut my strand of floss, separate out the threads and thread up three needles with 2 strands each. I only like to have one or two colors out at a time, so if I stop working with one of those colors and move on to a new one, I take the threaded needles, stick them into the threads on the bobbins and wind the excess thread around the bobbin. Then I move onto the next color and repeat the process. Usually when I am done, I have to pull out at least 5-6 needles from various bobbins, unthread them, and wind the thread back around the bobbin for the next thread.


June said...

I swear I am addicted to Thread Heaven. :( At first I only used it on metallic threads, but now I use it the whole time...