Updated July 5, 2022.
I admit it, I have a problem.
I have a serious thread addiction and years of hard work at using the threads in my stash has only made a small dent in the huge amount of thread in my studio.
I kept track of my thread credits as a way to encourage me to use what I have for about a year. I’ve sold threads. I’ve shared threads. I’ve sent threads to people. I’ve used lots of thread. Virtually every project I’ve stitched for years has almost completely used stash threads.
But the stash is still here and is still huge.
In the process I’ve learned some things about myself and about using your stash that I’d like to share with you.
1. No matter what anybody says, all threads have dye lots. This means that if you stitch from stash you might not be able to find an exactly matching color. Turn this defect into a benefit by working out a pretty way to accommodate this. Try stripes, a random background (also seen in picture at the top of the article), checkerboarding, or needlepoint damask.
2. There always seems to be either too little or too much thread. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had enough thread only to run out 3/4 of the way through. It happened to me again last weekend and now, if I want to finish the piece, I need to find a substitute or more of the same thread.
But some threads seem to go on forever and I never get to the end of one package, let alone the three in my stash. I do use them up, eventually.
3. Knowing the type of construction (stranded, round, or ribbon) and the approximate size makes it easier to substitute. You can substitute one thread of a similar size and construction for another thread of the same size and construction if it suits your purposes.
That’s a great help when you want to change colors on a project and work from stash.
4. If you work with fewer standard threads for your needlepoint, keeping tip 3 in mind really helps. This year I got into using some hand-dyed silks and have used knitting yarns in the past. Recognizing tip 3 has mostly meant I didn’t try to use a 1/4″ wide knitting ribbon on 18 mesh canvas (it didn’t work) but that I could use some linens and silks without fear.
5. Shop your stash first. This has been my rule for over 25 years and has made some lovely needlepoint. While I still do this year, I tried counting the thread I used as well. I found that, for me, counting didn’t add motivation.
Ultimately you should use what motivates you to stitch and makes you happy. Using stash makes me happy. Using all stash threads does this for me. Finishing off a package of something is even better.