A basic of needlepoint is “Where there is a stitcher, there will be stash.” Another is “Where there is stash, there will be a need to use it.” Combine these two and you get a constant need for creative ways to get that stash under control.
In this Basics Needlepoint article you’ll find lots of ideas for using your stash, and for getting it under control.
Whenever I buy I new canvas, I rarely buy any threads for it. Before I shop the store, I shop my stash. All too often, we end up with odds and ends, partially used skeins of threads which can become a tangled mess.
By looking to your stash first, you might find that bit of gold metallic providing an accent to a painted canvas, the perfect shade of coral for that Lee’s kimono and lots of other threads just begging to be used.
I am always so happy when I use up those bits of thread and when I can do an “all stash” project, I’m even happier. I even keep a lookout for stash-buster canvases, ones that will let me use lots of different odds and ends of thread.
Start this as part of your Basics Needlepoint and you will be a happier stitcher.
UnFinished Projects or UFOs
I have lots of partially finished projects (UFO’s or UnFinished Objects) sitting in my stash, everything from Seminar Projects from several years ago to car projects I picked up once and never finished.
I went through my stash and looked at all the UFO’s and decided which ones I was really going to do. Those I kept. All this year I am going to have at least one UFO as a piece in rotation to work on. All of these are pieces I love and they should be finished and shown off.
Painted Canvas Stash
It’s very hard to resist a good-looking canvas and even harder to resist them when on sale. Part of my yearly clean-up includes evaluating this part of my stash. Do I still like it? Has my reason for buying it disappeared (the kid graduated, she now hates pink)? Will I finish it if I start it?
Good basics needlepoint means keeping your stash under some sort of control. Looking at it, culling projects you won’t do, and buying judiciously all are ways to manage your canvas stash wisely.
The ones which pass the test also get added into the rotation, no more than two at a time. and to reward myself, for every five pieces I stitch from the rotation I buy myself a new canvas. For years this has kept me motivated and often kept this stash manageable.
Many stitchers use some sort of rotation system to get large projects under control. It also works great if you have many projects to do. You can easily customize the rotation process to suit the way you work best.
Coming up with a rotation system that works for you is a matter or trial and error, but one you master this basics needlepoint, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish.
Take no more than ten projects, a mixture of large and small, and make a list of them. Designate one of these as your car project to carry around with you and take it out of rotation. You can also have more than one car project and rotate them as well.
Rank the remaining projects. I usually rank these by how much is left to do, but you can also rank by how old they are, if you can find the threads, what is left to do, or just pick a number from the hat. You will work the projects in the ranked order, one at a time.
Depending on the person you can rotate in many different fashions. Many people rotate to a different project after ten hours of stitching. If you hate counting, rotate every week or every other day. I figure once I get going, that I want to finish, so I only rotate if I get bored, if for some reason I can’t stitch on that project, or if it’s finished.
When you complete the project, cross it off your list and add another one. You will be surprised how well this works for getting things out of your stash.
What to Do with the Leftovers
You will be surprised when you evaluate your stash at how much stuff there is you don’t want. There are several options for finding new homes for the stuff you don’t want.
First, is your local guild chapter having an auction? Many chapters do this to raise money for education programs. Donate the stash to that.
Is there a shelter for abused women or a senior center program which could use materials for their programs? I once donated two Ziploc bags of floss to a girls club which was doing samplers.
If you don’t want to donate the items to charity, think about selling them. On-line auctions like eBay are great places to buy and sell your stash. Knowing where to donate stash you don’t anymore is an essential part of basics needlepoint.