Updated October 23, 2018
It’s all well and good to organize your stash and have it happily living in its new home, but we do actually stitch with the stuff and therefore have to transport it to other locations.
That means two kinds of organization solutions. The first is for an individual project. The second is how you transport that project and whatever else you need.
When you stitch a needlepoint you have canvas (probably on some kind of frame), threads, needles, and possibly some instructions or stitch books. To this I usually add scissors, a needle threader, and usually a small ort container. Having some kind of bag that can close is good for keeping all this stuff.
I like clear or translucent reinforced plastic bags that zip shut. There are other solutions, such as Ashland Sky bags (reviewed here) or Walker bags (reviewed here). My very favorite ones are Helenz bags from New Zealand (reviewed here).
I also have lots of reinforced plastic bags from lots of sources, including great ones from Alvin (reviewed here). Other great sources for this kind of bags are camping/outdoor stores such as Cabella’s (reviewed here) — thanks to Debbie T for turning me on to this — and The Container Store. Many of my bags are about 8.5×11″ size and I can find them easily at the Japanese Dollar Store.
I have two other reasons for buying medium-sized heavy plastic bags. First, most of my projects are small, so the frame will fit (more about this in a moment). Second, my cats can’t chew through them, although they have managed to use a bit of undone stitching near the zipper to pull out all of the thread and make the hole bigger and the bag unusable. Unreinforced plastic doesn’t cut it; it gets holes.
I like to keep everything together, so it’s easily portable. So the bag should be big enough to fit the canvas on the frame. If it’s not you should be careful about transport.
Needle magnets can hold the needle to the frame or you can use the unworked margin of canvas (never store your needle into an area that will be stitched; it can rust and permanently stain the canvas). Add threads, and instructions (folded if need be) and go. Projects kitted but not in rotation live in project bags but without scissors and other accessories in a big wicker trunk from IKEA.
Each project in the rotation lives in its bag. When I’m done with a project the finished canvas et al go back to the studio in the bag and everything gets emptied and put away. If another project isn’t going into the bag, it goes into an open bin on top of
But I rarely travel with just my needlepoint, so I need totes. Lately I’ve been giving lots of thought to these because most I find don’t work. Unlike knitters we don’t need lots of pockets (although some are nice), but what we need is something that opens wide enough to hold the project book and mounted needlepoint. I have pretty much found anything narrower than a 12″ opening is less useful. I also like totes with shoulder straps, they are easier to carry. Now I have cobbler add these to my bags.
They are best if made from leather, canvas, rip-stop nylon, or other heavy duty material. And always put a luggage tag on them. My favorite at the moment is huge and deep. It’s made of printed heavy cotton canvas. It’s designed for shopping and I bought it at a produce store in SF’s Ferry Building after I had bought too much at Needlepoint, Inc. When my office was out if commission recently I put the projects I would be doing immediately in it and put it by my stitch chair. To those I added my bag of scrap threads and am empty bag for used threads. It’s neat and contained. That makes my DH happy.
I use my totes all the time and not just when I’m going out. I’ll transport things from studio to TV room in them and back.
You don’t have to spend lots of money on either project bags or totes, but just be sure the money you spend is on things that work for you.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Jane Burton says
I like to use the heavy, clear, zippered bags that sheet sets and comforters come in. They come in a range of sizes. I buy them at rummage sales (found at just about every sale I go to!) For $.25-.50. I can fit even the biggest frame in the blanket bag. I use the pillow case bags for ornament sized projects.