Needlepoint thread hoarder, you say? Nope. My “thread stash” – all the reasonable amounts left from past projects – is the beginning of new projects. It’s all a work in progress.

Embroidery floss and textural accent threads for needlepoint embellishment

Right now, I have plenty of room for the remnants/beginnings of creative projects like home decor sewing projects, furniture refinishing supplies, art supplies for the grands, knitting yarn, flower arranging supplies, and yes, the needlepoint thread stash. The problem is future storage. What I need is “creative” downsizing!

You may be aware from earlier blog posts that we’re downsizing in the next few months to the 1876 Fixer Upper we’ve been working on. The move is exciting in many ways, but easily accessible storage options isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s a real challenge. There are many things I’d just prefer not to store in the new garage…

Back to the Stash. So how did I amass these rainbows of threadly beauty? Mainly “labor of love” gifts of Christmas stockings for the family. And as luck would have it (although personally I think it’s planned), do you have any idea how many shades of red or green there are in the needlepoint threads world? Jillions.

When I begin a new canvas project and survey the thread colors needed, I always think, “Oh, I have that (insert color choice)!” Not even close. It’s too light, or dark, or thin, or thick, or without sparkle. The list goes on. To achieve the painted beauty portrayed in the canvas – and to create the textural finish I have in mind – I need a new shade of thread. This is the needle pointer’s never ending story. Hence a thread stash.

Last year I embarked on a complex winter pillow journey – a project for ME! A beautiful pair of cardinals surrounded by pine and pointsettia. Of course not being a “holiday” theme, my pile of “Christmas red” and “Christmas green” threads were no help. I needed different colors. (Seeing a pattern here?) This pillow alone swelled the ranks of the thread stash to new proportions. I needed a cost conservative way to use and enjoy this textural rainbow. I wanted a project that could use up a variety of my thread stash.

A couple of years ago, I make a few snowman-themed Christmas ornaments for the grandchildren using leftover pearl cotton. I also embroidered several tea towels for Christmas gifts this year, and used lots of the pearl cotton there, too. Looking at the long stretch of silk, silk/wool and wool threads I’ve acquired, it seemed another Christmas ornament was not going to get the job done.

I decided to look at the vintage kits and painted canvases on eBay, and I found a perfect project for this nature lover. A Bucilla kit, “Butterfly Collage”, from around 1995. Tons of colors! I just recently became familiar with Bucilla as a quilt kit company when I researched the quilts made by my grandmother for our “Flo and Edna” quilt show. Good enough for Flo, good enough for me!

As I suspected from the reasonable auction price, the included threads were not as nice in quality as my leftovers. Perfect. Granted, I will probably need two new colors to complete the “frame” around the butterflies, but I shouldn’t be left with lots of extra. I’m confident I can utilize a variety of color shades on the host of butterflies – some that match the painted background and some that I just like!

I know I won’t eliminate my thread stash completely – not sure I could stand that! But I feel confident that I can continue to reduce the pile, which will certainly help in the storage department.

Thinking about “Reduce, Recycle, Reuse”, my stitching buddy, Hilary, suggested Rittenhouse Needlepoint in Philadephia, Pennsylvania as an option for donating the wool that came with my vintage kit. It’s a great idea. They have created a Needlepoint Charity program to teach needlepoint to individuals facing economic, physical and/or mental challenges and to encourage acquiring a meditative and relaxing hobby. If you’d like more information on donating your surplus needlepoint canvases or threads, contact them at See? Needlepoint is AWESOME for EVERYONE!

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One thing that makes my journey unique is that all of my interests are driven by a joyful and genuine curiosity. I delight in finding less expensive ways to make something or creative ways to enjoy something longer. Finding and creating joy - and sharing it - is core to who I am.