Organizing Cross Stitch and Other Needlework Projects

With the weather here in the northern hemisphere starting to warm up, thoughts are beginning to turn to spring cleaning and organization. I’ve been reading my way through a whole stack of decluttering books preparing myself for the tidying blitz that I’m just about to dive into.

Bags, bags and more bags!

Bags, bags and more bags!

While I’m waiting to get started on the big jobs, I decided to find some smaller jobs I could tackle to help me build some momentum. And, I figured that my workbasket would be a great place to start. It sits on the floor, under an end table, next to my stitching spot and holds all the projects I am trying to focus on. There are always more projects in there then there probably should be, but variety and choice make life more interesting.

Ziptop bags work well because they are cheap and see-through.

Ziptop bags work well because they are cheap and see-through.

I use three different methods for organizing my current cross stitch and embroidery projects. Most of them are stored in a ziptop bag. It contains everything I need for the project: fabric, pattern and threads. The bags are never closed, because I want the project to be able to breathe. (This is especially important if you live somewhere humid. You don’t want mould growing on your project!) This is a very inexpensive solution, and the clear bags make it easy to see what they hold. One the down side, the bags are floppy, not very pretty, and everything can fall out of them.

Fabric bags are very pretty, but it is easy to forget what is inside.

Fabric bags are very pretty, but it is easy to forget what is inside.

Method two is storing projects in pretty fabric pouches. My go to pattern is a modified version of Lazy Girl Designs’ Perfect Pouches, a pattern so simple anyone with basic sewing knowledge could make it. (This is a very good thing.) These have the advantage of being pretty, easy to close, and you can make them in any size you need. I have large ones for big projects, and smaller ones for ornament-sized pieces. Unfortunately, because they are opaque, it is difficult to know what is inside of them. If you are clever and a bit better organized than I am, it would be easy to sew some up in fabrics that match what you are stitching. But, I don’t always think that far ahead. 😉

These mesh bags are sturdy, but very expensive.

These mesh bags are sturdy, but very expensive.

My current favourite method is to use zippered mesh pouches. Expensive version of these have been available at my LNS for several years, but I’ve just recently discovered very inexpensive mesh pouches at my local dollar store. The LNS ones are very nice, and quite large, but the dollar store ones are less than a tenth the price and are more than big enough to hold a standard sized leaflet. They are both translucent enough to see the project inside, and they stack inside a basket or bag quite nicely.

These dollar store mesh bags are inexpensive and the perfect size.

These dollar store mesh bags are inexpensive and the perfect size.

I do occasionally do very large pieces, like canvaswork stretched out on bars. Instead of taking them apart and storing them in zipper pouches, I use clean white pillowcases. If there are a lot of threads for the project, I will either store them in a ziptop bag, or sort them into Floss-Away bags and keep them on a ring. I pop them, and the pattern, into the pillowcase, and everything is kept neat, clean, and together for next time.

How do you organize your current projects? I’d love to hear all about how you keep everything together and tidy. Share your ideas by leaving a comment below.

 

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