At some point each weekend, I sort through my embroidery mess from the previous week’s work sessions.
I take about half an hour to put away supplies or stitching tools that I know I won’t need for a bit. Then, I gather and organizing the needlework doo-dads that will get me started or carry me through the oncoming week.
Sometimes, if I’ll be starting a new project, I’ll have a wide variety of tools and gadgets out (like this coming week). Sometimes, if I’m carrying on with a project that’s been under way for a while, I might just have a pair of scissors and some needles out, along with the required lighting, or hoop, or stand, and whatnot.
These are some of the essential needlework tools that are on my work table for this week!
This week, I’ll be setting up and stitching two little projects that I have to re-stitch, due to some changes in thread choices.
Frames & Tack Kit
The essential needlework tools for setting up these two projects are two sets of six inch (really little!) Evertite stretcher bar frames, and an EZ Tack-It kit that I use for pushing and removing thumbtacks into the stretcher bars.
Another essential “tool” that goes along with this job is a jar of assorted brass thumbtacks that I bought en masse at a hardware store. They work as well as – if not better – than the tacks available at needlework stores, and they are decidedly less expensive.
I’ll be using my Needlework System 4 table stand.
It’s definitely an essential tool! It saves my hands (I don’t have to hold the frames) and it allows me to stitch more efficiently (I can use both hands to stitch, one below and one above).
It keeps my neck from craning and my back from slumping.
It’s a good tool! You can read about my NWS4 table top stand here. One of these days, I’ll replace the one I have with the newer version.
I need two pairs of scissors this week – a blunt tipped pair (sometimes called lace and appliqué scissors), because I’ll be cutting away backing fabric from the back of my ground fabric, and a regular pair of very fine tipped embroidery scissors for careful, detail cutting.
My favorite fine-tipped, sharp, small scissors are these Dovo scissors. Dovo (and many other brands) also makes the blunt-tipped lace and appliqué scissors, but I think my pair is from Ernest and Wright.
The stitching I’ll be doing this week is detailed and little, so good lighting is crucial.
My favorite studio lights are BlueMax 70 watt dimmable daylight lamps. They are pretty wonderful, when it comes to light quality. I wrote about them here.
Needles, You Know!
You can’t do a whole lot of stitching without a needle, can you?
This week, I’m using John James #10 short beading needles with blunt tips (tapestry or ball tip, depending on where you’re buying them). Other brands make #10 beading needles, but not necessarily with blunt tips. I need the blunts!
I’ve also got my little needle threader that I wrote about a few weeks ago out. I don’t really need it with the #10s, but it’s so fun to have out! And I like using it!
Keeping it All Together
To keep all my stitching stuff together when I’m working on a project at my table, I use a plastic basket or tray or box lid. Anything that’s flat, relatively shallow, and has sides, works.
Into my tray, box lid, or flat basket go my threads, my smaller tools, a small pincushion that I can quickly stick needles in, and anything pertinent to the project, as long as it’s not huge. I wouldn’t, for example, put my frame stand into the basket. It wouldn’t fit.
But all the small things go into the basket or tray, so that I can easily find what I need, access the stuff while I’m stitching, and put it all away quickly.
And Some Extras
The other essential tools out for this week:
A couple strong magnets, to hold the chart I’m working from onto the side of my light.
A little bluetooth speaker, so I can listen to books, podcasts, or music while I stitch
A small notebook and pen, so that I can jot down quick notes while I’m working – especially changes on my current project, or new ideas for stitching the next project. New ideas for The Next Project always occur to me either when I’m stitching or right when I’m falling asleep or as I’m waking up. So I always have a notebook on my work table and a notebook by my bed.
What’s On Yours?
So that’s what’s on my work table this week. What’s on yours? What tools do you find indispensable for your needlework sessions? I’d love to hear about your essential needlework tools. Your input could help other stitchers find delightful and helpful new tools, too – so don’t be shy! Feel free to join in the conversation below!