I keep hearing all over about supply chain problems. A fast-food chain can’t get beef for its menu items. The price of plywood has tripled — if you can find it. Used cars cost more because new cars are in short supply. It’s affected the needlepoint industry as well.
We all know that painted canvases can take six months to arrive after they are ordered. We are all scrambling to figure out how to get finishing done. But supply chain problems affect our threads as well. For the past year, some threads have been in short supply. The most popular colors disappeared from shops first. Today larger companies are getting supplies, but small hand-dyers are still having problems. These threads can take 1-3 months to arrive at the shop.
What’s a stitcher to do?
The most important thing to remember in the time of shortages is to BE FLEXIBLE. Here are some ideas to achieve that.
Shop your stash first. Save threads after you have finished using them to build your stash. Every time you can use a thread from your stash instead of buying one, you certainly save money and may be preventing a delay in stitching your project.
Keep a supply of basics on hand. These should be white, black, a range of flesh and hair colors (if you stitch people), basic metallics, several greens, your favorite background color, and several threads and shades of your favorite color. Having these on hand will allow you to complete or even completely sitch projects when you can’t buy threads for any reason. So often I have been able to turn to my stash of background threads to finish a project.
Don’t be afraid to substitute. Many threads from different manufacturers are the same in structure and size, even if they are packaged differently. Think about the many brands of stranded silk, often called silk floss. Silk Mori has six strands. Splendor has twelve. Soie d’Alger has seven. Even so, all of these threads have strands of the same width and can be substituted for each other and for cotton embroidery floss.
Being flexible in this way allows you to take advantage of what thread is available.
Be willing to change values of the same color. I have to do this often, especially with gold. It’s been hard to find my favorite Kreinik gold of late. I’ve used up everything in my stash. My solution has been to use other shades of gold in Kreinik and other threads. It’s allowed me to finish many projects this year.
I find that having to do these things has increased my creativity. Although before I start to stitch I may be a bit disappointed in the threads I “settled” for. Once I stitch though, i end up delighted and often surprised by how nice the results look.