Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (35) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Embroidery Project Disorganization!


Amazon Books

Lately, I’ve been working on a fun embroidery project (you can see it here), but I realize that, during this kind of work where I’m not sitting at a frame or my regular workspace, I tend towards disorganization! Yesterday, I started thinking about disorganization, and how it can decrease the pleasure of working on a project.

The first rule when working on any project comes from my mom: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” As long as you have a place for everything (before you start), you should have a relatively easy time keeping organized, and really no excuse not to be organized. So that’s the first guiding principle.

After that, though, I might sit down to work on a project (especially when I’m in a comfortable location like the sofa), and think it “easier” to take what I need from my supplies, rummaging about if necessary, and worry about straightening them up when I come to a stopping point.

Tsk! Tsk! It is much easier to keep things neat as you go! So that’s the second rule: “clean as you go” (my mom’s kitchen rule, actually!) When you take a strand or two of thread from a skein, put the skein and the rest of the threads back where they belong! Trust me, it’s much better than leaving them sitting on the arm of the couch, only to get dropped or tangled up! A place for everything and everything in its place. Especially if you’re working with expensive threads, it can be such a waste to allow a tangled heap of threads to build up, and then, in a moment of frustration or cleaning frenzy, just to throw them away! But whether your threads are expensive or not, the less waste that goes into your hobby (or livelihood, whatever the case may be) the better!

And those snippets of thread – the waste from your project? They need a place, too. If you’re not well-equipped with little accessories, even a plastic baggie will do. Put one next to you, and put all your snippets in it. Saves having to crawl around on the floor or vacuum, if nothing else! It also makes a quick clean up a breeze. If you have a good-sized scrap of craft felt, lay it over the arm of your chair. Put all your snippets on it. They will stick easily. Then scrape them off when you’re ready to put things away.

There’s a really cool little combo thread-catcher-pin-cushion accessory that would be great to have at your elbow, whether you’re sitting in your favorite chair or at the work table. You can find patterns online, and if you don’t want to make one, you can find different versions of them for sale, like this one. I’m not sure I’m keen on the wooden base, though.

Lastly, you might not want to pack your project off to your closet when you still plan to take it up in the evening or whenever you can snatch a minute. At the same time, though, you don’t want it cluttering up your living space. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Devise a place where you can keep your project handy, but where it won’t be in the way, and when you know you will be away from it for a stretch of time, pack it up and put it in that place.

So, here’s the thing: if you clean as you go, and if you have a place for everything and everything in its place, your pleasure in embroidering will increase a hundred fold!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(5) Comments

  1. Well, it ain’t elegant, but the easy solution to thread snippets is to tuck them into an empty tissue box. the plastic top neatly traps the fluffy ends and prevents them from escaping. They hold a lot and are free!

    The link to the diy threadcatcher doesn’t seem to work.


  2. I used to use tissue boxes like Marilyn suggests. Lately I started using a decorative china container. I can just put the lid on it when I’m done and it looks great. Also, the Alabama Stitch Book (which has neat patterns for appliqué and reverse appliqué with cotton jersey) has a pattern for an over-arm caddy for a sofa or arm-chair. It’s not too hard to improvise, like you did with your placemat organizer. It looks really good.

  3. My husband thinks thread snippets are pretty when you put them in a jar. So I keep a little jar nearby and when it fill up I dump the contents into a clear vase. It's neat to see the snippets pile up sort of like a time line of projects.

More Comments