Do you have tons of thread in your stash?
Do you keep every bit of leftover thread in case you need it someday?
Does your thread stash rival that of many shops?
Has it ceased being a stash and started to be a “collection?”
Would you like to do something about it and make beautiful needlepoint at the same time?
The problem of too many scraps is one every quilter knows. While scrap bag quilts are fulfilling, I often wished I could figure out a system that would make creating needlepoint that would make the whole thing easy.
Happily for quilters, Joan Ford developed a 7-step program called Scrap Therapy to help quilters deal with their scrap problem. And while her approach was inspiring, it’s taken me awhile to figure out how to apply it to needlepoint.
The basic idea is to organize (and cut) your scraps into pieces that can be easily assembled to create quilts. We don’t have scraps like that, we have stitches and threads.
For us the first step to Scrap Therapy is to create a library of stitches in certain specific sizes. They are our patches. Combine them in different ways to create projects based on quilt blocks.
Great, you say, but what sizes should I pick. Ford created square patches that were one size, twice that size, and 3 times that size (looking at the blocks without seam allowances.
Let’s do the same here. Start with blocks that cover 2 threads. Think of, and write down stitches you know that are this size; even a beginning stitcher will know a few.
Remember at this point all your stitches should be square.
Once you’ve done this, look for stitches you know that cover 4 threads, write these down. Now look for stitches that are 6 threads square.
Do you have them all written down? If you didn’t separate them by size, write down 2, 4 or 6 next to the stitch name. If you have added in stitches that are unfamiliar, write down where you found them (so you can go back and find them again).
Now you have a stock of patches that can be combined in different ways to make projects.
This does not take into account many stitches. You won’t find rectangular stitches here (but a Cashmere is often two square stitches stacked on top of each other). You also won’t find triangles because we’ll deal with creating them later.
Finally you won’t find any stitches, such as Byzantine, that don’t readily fit into these small squares. What we are creating for ourselves is a basic vocabulary of stitches we can now combine easily to make needlepoint from our scraps.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about sorting our threads for Scrap Bag Needlepoint projects.