Wednesday, 31 August 2016

stockPINing ! keePINg track

Pin It now!
updated : Mar 8, 2017

Irrespective of the size of our stockpile, do we ever stop pining for more ?!!! As our stock grows larger & more diverse, greater the risk of messes, misses, & mix-ups … of losing track. I finally heeded the clarion call of my thread stock as part of our monthly Pinterest Challenge – my stockPINing !  

" One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is 
constantly making exciting discoveries"
- AA. Milne

Yes, I so did !!! A few of my discoveries as I waded through my stash, organizing & cataloguing the threads….The pics don’t show the number or size of containers or the stuffed stuff inside ;-p

 Discovering new shades & the ease of choice !
i) Embroidery Threads
It all started last month, with my cross stitch bookmarks. With all skeins cramped into one box, & the patterns needing many colours, I found myself spreading out the skeins on the bed – not a good sight at all !
First sorted skeins according to colours. Then simply tied a knot at tip of each strand, cut off a very short length & glued it to the page, along with details. Slow-going, but with immediate results. Not only did it help in choosing colours for bookmarks, but for the Floral Fantasy Doily ! 2 shades of light green were Very similar (2nd coloumn); but I could locate the exact shade I wanted because of the catalogue. 

 Discovering the mystery of the zero !
ii) Mercerized Crochet Cotton (Size 20)
For the last 30 years, I have used only Anchor MCC (from Madura Coats), bought at various shops & now online stores. As my stash grew, it always perplexed me that some threads seemed thicker than others, despite the size number being same. Also the shade numbers – some had a single 0 before them, some had two zeroes, while many of my vintage balls didn’t have any 0 before the shade number.
I put it down to different stores, different years/decades, & so on. In fact that is how I entered in the catalogue. TILL the shade column & the tatting alongside threw up this interesting fact : the 0 digit represents the thickness within that size !!!!! Now I know which balls can be used together in same project.

Also noticed that the shape of ball with single 0 is different from the one with 00 (which is squatter with thicker thread) !

Discovering doodads & forgotten ideas !
iii) Mercerized Crochet Cotton (Size 40)
Buried deep under the balls of crochet cotton threads, I found tatted scraps - possible design ideas, little doodads/doodles, first trials, etc. It was quite amusing. (forgot to take pics)
I tatted little 5-petalled flowers to glue for reference. And devised this to speed things up (instead of cataloguing each colour individually) – pull out a short length of thread from ball & finger-tat the ring with thread still attached to ball. When all were tatted, I simply had to snip off the flower from each ball & glue to page, adding details.

Discovering amazing threads !
iv) Silk & Metallic Threads
I had totally forgotten about spools of metallic threads including gold & silver ! These are unmarked, so I have no idea of the brand.
But even more amazing & nostalgic were my Mom’s machine embroidery silk threads in wooden spools. They date back to at least the late 1940s, early 50s !!! It was mesmerizing watching her skillfully maneuver the embroidery hoop with her left hand at a hand crank sewing machine ! I can’t do with 2 hands on my electric pedal machine with it’s multiple decorative stitch options !
Strands of these threads were difficult to glue down, hence practiced some Hanging Cluny Leaves to display the colours better. A few got stuck while pulling, thus disfiguring their shape.

Discovering forgotten/misplaced balls !
v) Crochet & Knitting Cottons (Size 10 & above)
These are big balls taking up much space. Hence, I used to store them in the closet, in bags, not in transparent boxes. After I’d completed the table cloth edging, I was under the impression that the size 10 variegated blue ball was all over. So imagine my delight when I discovered 1 entire, unused ball ! Now even the balls are stored in different places, a quick reference to the catalogue will tell me that I do have more ! How useful a clue is that ?!

Discovering quality beads !
vi) Beads & Findings
For the first time last year, I had ordered in some gold & silver beads & jewelry findings to use in my tatting (and they worked beautifully). All the rest of my bead stash (mostly pearls, transparent plastic, & some wooden beads) & some rhinestones, sequins, etc. were stuff I took off discarded decorations, mementos, dress materials, etc. Couldn’t bring myself to throw out the colourful embellishments. But while some of these were good, some were irregular in shape & hole size, making them difficult to use … which was fine since I didn’t tat much with beads.
Last month I finally ordered some other beads & pearls from an online craft supplies chain. Amazing ! The seed beads have proper sized holes which can be strung through even size 20 thread. And here I was struggling with stringing, thus limiting my choices ! You might see many more beaded projects now ;-P
Seen in the pic is a snipping of the invoice with relevant details of my latest bead acquisition and a sampling of my stash…. I still have to prepare a proper page with new & old bead samples taped & buy a larger bead container.

vii) Sewing Threads

These are old pics (top view with open drawer & side view of entire organizer) of segregated sewing threads, organized for many years now. They are in an A4 size file cabinet with 4 transparent pull-out drawers from Staples. The lowermost was the perfect height for sewing thread spools ! All not-in-use reels are stored there in broad colour-groups, and can be picked out easily. The 3 upper drawers are used for other sewing-related supplies.

viii) Wool Yarn
Remember these quick yarn shade samplers I made, inspired by crochet bloggers ? They did come in handy for the colourful stashbuster Memory Afghan, but how pathetic are they ?! 
Come winter, I will sit down to prepare a proper one-page catalogue for my wool stash too.

UPDATE : My wool stash is now organized (Dec, 2016)!

Now if only I can catalogue my book collection. Believe me, I’ve tried many times, but new books kept getting added before I could sort them out. I have also tried to take pics on my cell phone but not every shelf is well lit.
And of course my fabric stash - that is indeed a major task.
Despite all the sniggering at my spread-out stock, it was ‘his’ idea to place each sheet within a transparent sleeve ;-p Love the idea – makes them so durable despite all the handling & referring !!!
These took time & patience to put together. But the advantages are so worth it, and already showing. Besides, some old threads also brought back memories of embroidery, card-making, crochet, tatting projects done before my marriage. Long time !
It also brought home the fact that the quality of Anchor (Coats) threads has decreased over time - they were finer, silkier, brighter in colour before !

As usual, my pinterest challenge is merely utilitarian & boring. For a glimpse into some amazingly creative challenges, click on the names of my fellow pin chicks … they are always so delightfully inspiring !

have a great time :-)


  1. Oh Muskaan this all looks amazing and must have taken so many hours to complete but you must be so proud of your hard work. It's going to make life easier that's for sure.
    I don't think I have ever seen so many threads and cottons before, you have more than my local shop! Lol
    I would love to visit and have a good look at all those gorgeous things, it really is treasure!
    I'm glad it bought back fond memories of your mums sewing.
    This is far from boring, I love it. It's just a shame you live so far away!
    You put me to shame and I really must tidy my yarn cupboard. I would show you a picture of it if I wasn't so ashamed of the mess it's in lol
    Well done on such a productive pin
    Hugs Suzanne xx

    1. My hubby thought so too Suzanne ! He said I could well start my own shop. Now why would I want to do that ?! ;-P
      I kept motivating myself that the hours spent would be akin to a ‘stitch in time …’ & immediate usage was highly gratifying.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post & my challenge. We’re only a few hours’ flying away and always just a click away :-)

  2. We'll that was one hell of a challenge, I smiled to myself my embroidery silks are in a box, all mixed up and so full when you take the lid off they fall out, and then you push them back in to close the lid, but it is a food container with a sealed lid so nothing can get in and spoil them.
    I organised my new craft room end of last year, But could I do the same with my threads not sure about that. My lizbeth thread I keep each ball in the plastic bag they come in with the label folded inside, and I have a list which I tick off which ones I have, but they are all in a draw with other threads under the bed. My wool well that another question I won't go there, I have at least three no four places full of wool, as for sewing threads, I still have some on wooden reels that something you never see any more.
    Yes it's lovely to discover bits you have forgotten, and I never throw away anything that might come in handy. Crafters are hoarders,
    Look forward to next month.

    1. How true, Margaret – we really Are hoarders ! But hey, creativity calls for freedom & what better than the freedom of choice on hand ;-P
      I think your stash is pretty much organized already. I still have a few wooden reels (they are at the back of the drawer, hence not captured in pic) & haven’t thrown the empty ones out since they are no longer available. One of them is nailed for a French Knitter.

  3. Replies
    1. (a tip for books: there are apps that capture the bar code, for ex I've tried one called "simple bookshelf", it works fine for me)

    2. I checked out the app, Ninetta & it seems good enough - I will install it later tonight - thanks for this ! It will be so much easier than manually entering in Excel sheets (as I had done many years back & lost it all in a hard disk crash !)

  4. The result is glorious! That's some stash you have there and it's wonderful to see the colour gradations. Clear plastic sleeves are perfect for the job. Hats off to you is all I can say. Interesting facts about the 0s in the numbers, and about the quality of thread.

    1. Thanks, Jane :-))) Fairly good stock, but the tatting threads are still limited by variations within the same size, such that it becomes difficult to use them together in same project. And I have no choice while buying :-( But the embroidery threads are a life saver now that I am using them in tatting :-)

  5. Amazing organizational skills! I love the thread charts and how they are color coded so neatly. Cataloging all of this must have been a huge undertaking!

    1. Coming from you, that is really something, Robin :-) We are witness to how meticulous you are & I can never reach those standards !
      Yes, it take a few days but now I feel so relaxed & on top of things finally.

  6. I am so impressed! I can see that it will save you a great deal of time with future projects. Congratulations on such a great job of organizing your tools.

    1. Oh yes, Eliz, the time saving has already begun - I keep referring to these & the Floral Fantasy Doily is a casein point! Thank you so much for your lovely words :-)

  7. Well done on being so organised. Great job done making future work so much easier to get started on.

    1. Thanks Margaret :-) Thoughts of future ease kept me excited to keep going!

  8. Good idea and excellent work:) I'm impressed!

    1. Very kind of you Anetta :-) I'm happily surprised at the appreciation this work has received

  9. Oh, I so love what you have discovered while organizing and for the reminder that I need to do this so badly. I have to do this and maybe I will find some of my lost treasures too! I googled thread sizes and what some of the old time stuff was compared to now a days (they have wonderful charts) it is very helpful also for reading old patterns too!

    1. That would be a treasure hunt of sorts while sorting, Carollyn :-)))
      Interesting about thread charts ... must Google for dekko ...

  10. Thanks for sharing how you inventoried your threads.
    It is always fun to poke around in someone else's stash. :)

    1. The stash looks large, but the colours are very limited in size 40 (I bought at least 1 ball of every colour/shade that was available in that etailer shop!), Christine :-)

  11. How nice to see this all so organised and to have threads n beads handy at anytime!!!! It's great effort done by you Muskaan. Even I didn't notice the difference in the thickness of the thread is because of difference in number of zeros in color code. I agree that quality of Anchor threads has deteriorated over the years.

    1. Thank you, Usha :-) It did take effort but is worth it. I just pick up the sheet and choose. I have since organized my beads, too, but no pics yet.
      Anchor, are you listening ????