Updated December 12, 2019.
Threads have been a passion of mine since my teens and I’ll buy and stitch with just about anything. For many stitchers though, learning about threads can be a real difficulty. How do you know what to buy? What if you don’t like it? Isn’t it lots of wasted money?
Learning about threads doesn’t have to be either wasteful or expensive. Follow the guidelines below to create a thread club that fits you perfectly.
Pick a set of colors to buy. Begin by thinking about the colors you like and are on canvases in your stash. If you buy threads that work for stuff you have then you build up threads to use on your canvases. If you buy randomly you’ll have wasted threads (I know because I do this.) For example if you do lots of Halloween canvases buying threads in orange & violet would be good. Beachy canvases might be a good reason to buy navy blue and sand colors. If your stuff spans lots of colors, think about greens. Green tends to show up in many canvases & they will look more realistic if you have a wider variety of threads.
THis will create a cushion for new projects for you. You can stitch a free pattern you find with the threads you’ve bought. You can liven a canvas with a thread that’s a bit different. You can swap out colors because you have a stash of colors you love and that suit you.
Know what you’re willing and able to spend. Then set a monthly budget for yourself. Keep to this budget, even if it only buys you one package of thread per month. Although money is a big part of this, consider the time you have to learn. If your time is limited buy only as many threads per month as you have time to try. You don’t want to feel guilty about that pile of things to do.
Start close to home. Start with shops you can visit and the threads they carry. Each month buy at least one package of a new thread in your color choice. If your budget allows buy more than one package or more than one thread.
Test the thread. When you get back home, examine the thread. The Needlepoint Book has a perfect set of instructions on how to do this. Note the characteristics in your stitch notebook. Then try these out on a doodle canvas. Try at least three kinds of stitches: tent, diagonal, and straight. Take note and write down what you discover.
Search farther afield. Once you’ve exhausted the choices near you, find an online shop who will work with you to do the same thing.
Add new threads when you learn about them. I always have new threads to try. I keep them separate from my other threads in bags. You see the results in my thread reviews. Your tests needn’t be so extensive, what you think is the most important thing. Whenever you hear about a new thread, seek out the company. You’ll often find them on Etsy or with their own shops. When you find one, order a package of each thread of theirs you might like. Look at sale and sampler packages first to see what works.
Add the threads you think you’ll use again to your stash. Once you’ve tried out a thread, put it into your stash so it can be used in future projects.
Inevitably there will be threads you try that you hate. I used to keep even these. When I found myself avoiding them even when they made sense for a project, I got rid of them, either by swapping, donating or selling.
Life’s just to short not to love all these threads!
In 2020 I’ll be putting a program — Just Add Thread — that will explore threads of different kinds to help you create your iwn stitch notebook. Watch for information about it later this month.