Mary Corbet

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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

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More Threads: This isn’t Building Stash – No, You Can’t Have It!


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You’d think that, in my endeavor to reduce my embroidery stash by giving little snippets away each month in my “stash contests,” I’d refrain from adding anything else to it, right? Last week I went shopping.

And I bought THREADS!! Whoooohooooooo!

But I don’t consider them stash. I’ll tell you why…

I define stash – needlework stash, fabric stash, crafting stash – any kind of “stash” – as those supplies that build up from years of collecting because Someday I will use them.

Stash is essential to serious hobbyists who indulge frequently in their hobbies. Stash can be a source of inspiration; it can also be a source of innumerable headaches.

Where do I store all this?!

I’m running out of space!!

I’ve got to Get Organized!!!

I bet you know what I’m talking about!

Stash is build up. It is stuff we buy that we don’t need “right now,” (but we might some day). It’s that new silk on the market we just want to try. It’s the book that catches our fancy that we might work a project from [later]. It’s that gorgeous piece of fabric that would be perfect for _______ (when I get around to it). It’s that little accessory that isn’t entirely necessary, but gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have? It’s also that leftover thread from that little project… you know, the one where you bought enough thread to wrap around Texas, just in case they ran out of that dye lot?

Stash, I think, makes the hobbyist feel secure. Isn’t there a certain sense of ownership when you think of your stash? And don’t you like the idea of knowing that, at a moment’s notice, you can pull out something that will give you the delight of creativity in the midst of the travails of everyday life?

Threads, threads, threads: supplies for an upcoming project

Oooh. Loooooook. Threeeeaaaad.

I went shopping on Saturday and I bought some threads. The bulk of these threads are not stash – they are for immediate use on a current project, and it is likely that there won’t be any leftovers to add to the growing mountains in my cupboards. So you can’t have any of these threads! … yet.

When I thread shop, I’m at a huge disadvantage, and I think a lot of readers have this same problem. For specialty embroidery supplies, most of my shopping is done online. I can’t see the threads or feel the fabric. Colors are rarely accurate when seen through a monitor. Thread weight, size, twist, sheen – these are things you can’t determine while sitting at your desk staring at a screen. So when I do venture the two hours one way to the closest needlework shop, I take my time and sort out threads, matching them to my fabrics and project design. But I also end up buying threads that I “hope” are what I want for the project at hand, because at least with these threads, I’ve felt them.

Threads, threads, threads: supplies for an upcoming project

The time I spend in the shop may get annoying for shop owners (I would hope not, because I also spend a lot of money in their shops!), but it is really important to me in those circumstances to spend the time well, to make sure I get what I need, and not to feel pressured into buying the wrong stuff.

Threads, threads, threads: supplies for an upcoming project

Sometimes, I buy one color of two different types of threads (like I did with the blue you see above). I take both home and try the different choices, actually stitching them on my project or on a scrap. I pick the one I like best and then I place the order online….

And that brings me back to stash. Guess where the thread that didn’t work ends up?

Eventually, I will show you this project. I think there’s only one person out there in Needlework Land who could guess exactly what project these threads are for – and I don’t know if she’s reading this!

Oh, yes. Before I forget. I did buy some other stuff. You know, they had this silk I just had to try…. and one of those pretty magnets that I just knew I’d use… someday. Oh, and that Ever-tite frame. Not the one for any particular project – you know, the one for just in case?


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(13) Comments

  1. OOOOOOOOOOO pretttttty! There is something about all that color isn;t there?

    Cant wait to see the poject you are putting all this gorgeous thread to work on

    ruth m

  2. Those colors are gorgeous. I certainly agree with you on the difference between stash and buying for a project. The first few years I was quilting I bought fabric to build my stash. This year every piece of fabric (with the exception of two pieces) have been used immediately or within a few weeks.

    I would love to know where you (or others) shop for thread. I have yet to find a good needlework store here in New Hampshire. I don’t use DMC floss. I prefer Presencia Finca thread. I’d love to try some other threads. Any suggestions? Oh, why didn’t I think of that question for the contest? Darn!

  3. Hi Mary,
    The colors of the threads are really a nice combination. Can’t wait to hear about this project!
    Glad you had a successful shopping trip.

  4. You are going to make one project out of all that thread? Oh..my…gosh, I can’t wait to see what it is!

  5. Mmm…yummy color pallet! I have to echo the others here…Wow! That’s a lot of thread for one project. Do tell, Mary! Do tell! 🙂

    Sweet P, I was looking for a place in NH too, and Mary Grace, who sometimes leaves comments here, kindly told me about Keepsake NeedleArts. If you Google the name you’ll find their website. I’ve still not made a trip there yet but I will someday!

  6. In response to Sweet P’s question about NH stores. Don’t know where you live, but I go to Yankee Cross Stitch in North Hampton near Portsmouth. Owner is terrific and the thread selection is good. I have heard that ABC Stitch Therapy in Grantham is supposed to have a GREAT thread collection, the kind that makes your heart go pitter patter.Hope this helps.

  7. Your blog entry this time is just so funny and strikes a chord for me! It really gets to the heart of the matter regarding S*T*A*S*H, and how we feel about our own coveted piles of goodies. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gone shopping for items I need right away and just happened to pick up one or two items because I just knew I might need them for a project (as yet unrealized) . . . someday. Your differenciation between stash and immediate use says it all. Brilliant!

  8. What a wonderful selection — no wonder you couldn’t resist! Your thoughts brought about a post of my own… though not quite so elequent as yours! Love your blog!

  9. Hi Mary.. just curious..it has been a long time, but I have been wondering what happened to the pelican needlepoint? Did it ever get finished..I must hv not looked properly, but I can’t seem to find the finished piece on your site..

    1. I have not finished it. I have the canvas and hope to do something with it some day, but the threads ended up being not exactly what I liked. So, some day!!!

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