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Organize That Stash!


Do you control your stash or does it control you? I have become the master of my stash. When my husband found out that his sock drawer had become yet another place for cross stitch supplies, it was either get it under control or end up in divorce court. Being a stay at home mom of four, I quickly realized that being a single mom would seriously hamper my stash purchasing power and set off to become as organized as possible. First stop?

Patterns

When I began my mission to organize my stash, I realized that there were many different options available. In fact, it was a little overwhelming, not to mention expensive. I started with my chartpaks. Nordic Needle has a neat little product called Pattern Finder. It is a lidded box with a divider so you have two rows in one box. It includes labels and a master index list to tape to the outside. While this product is fairly inexpensive, I chose to make my own out of a cardboard storage box and labels that I printed off of my computer. I sorted them by designer and attached a label with a number on it. Then, I printed a master list of all the charts with the name and number so when I need find one, I just look on the master list and get the number and pull it out.

Now, books and leaflets are pretty easy, as well. I have a small bookcase that I put them all on and just group them by designer. Then, we get to the tougher stuff. All those magazines! There are many ways to keep magazines in an organized fashion, so you need to figure out which method is right for you.

1. The first method is to take the magazine apart and file each project in a sheet protector and store them in a binder. I think that this is too much work and too much money, but some people like to do this so that they can file them into specific categories.

2. The second method you can use is to purchase, or make your own, organizer boxes. Again these can be purchased from Nordic Needle fairly inexpensively. I have heard suggested that you can make your own out of empty cereal boxes or empty laundry soap boxes. The nice thing about these boxes is that you can generally store a couple of year's worth of a magazine in one box and have them all together in one place.

3. A third way to keep track of your magazines in to put them in binders. Cross Country Shopping has a spot on their site to order a free catalog and they offer these binders.

The advantages?

a. They are sturdier than the cardboard boxes.

b. Hold up to two years of a magazine in one binder.

c. They usually come with at least one year's worth of Bookkeepers. You slide the magazine through the bookkeeper which is 3-hole punched to go into the binder.

The disadvantages?

a. Cost (You could just get the bookkeepers and use your own binders. You can purchase the bookkeepers separately at Cross Country Shopping, The Cross Stitch Zone or Yarn Tree.)

b. They usually come printed with the name of the magazine printed on them. For instance, the ones that Cross Country Shopping sell are made to hold Cross Country Stitching Magazine, therefore, that is what they say on the front of the binder. To avoid this and to save on the cost of the binders, I would purchase some plain, inexpensive binders.

So, now you have chosen a way to store them all, how do you keep track of what you have? While it is great fun to go through all of those charts and magazines, it isn't very time efficient. Now, you could just take a notebook and write out every chart that you have and where it is, but with the power of technology we have some much better options. There are computer programs that you can enter your charts into and let the program keep track of it for you. Here are a couple of them for you to check out. Both of these programs allow you to download a trial version to try it out.

1. "CrossMagic - CrossMagic is a database program for cross-stitch enthusiasts. It allows you to enter and maintain details on all your threads, charts and projects. It will print reports on what threads you've run out of and need to buy again, which charts you can make with your existing stock of floss, what floss you need to buy to make a particular chart, inventory lists, which projects you've completed and which are still under construction, it will even let you enter a search text and will list all the charts you own that pertain to that subject. Comes with a complete catalogue of DMC & Anchor Embroidery Floss, Balger/Krenik Filament, DMC Flower Thread, Balger Ribbon, and you can add your own material types (i.e. beads) if you want to."

2. "Floss Minder 3.0 for Windows 95/98/NT/2K is a database program for cross-stitching and embroidery enthusiasts. It allows you to maintain details on all your threads, charts, and projects. You can print reports on; the threads you've run out of and need to buy again, the charts you can make with your existing stock of floss, and much more. Floss Minder comes with Over 4,900 individual threads/beads from many different manufacturers including Anchor, Caron Collection, DMC, Kreinik, and Mill Hill to name a few."

I personally use Cross Magic and love it. It is time consuming to initially enter all of the information, but if you are an avid cross stitcher with lots of stash it is worth it. Then, as you get new stuff you just enter it as you get it and the program keeps track of what you have.

Floss

Floss can be kept track of in these programs, also, so you will always know what you have and what you have run out of. As far as floss storage, again, we have lots of options. I found all of these systems available from Yarn Tree listed under floss organizers at very reasonable prices.

1. "The LoRan System - A complete system to organize, store, and use all your floss. Constructed of vinyl, kit will expand to hold up to 150 skeins of floss. Contains 2 reusable Project Cards (one large and one small) with magnetic needleholder, and 5 Master Cards (to make it easy to cut the floss to the right length)."

2. "Floss Box with Keys(bobbins)System - Each floss key has a tab that holds the floss number band. All you do is trim the band and slip it onto the floss holder. The large Floss Box comes with 100 keys. The Lil' Floss Box comes with 25 keys. You can choose either plastic or chipboard keys. The keys will fit most other brands of organizers. Keys (holders) measure 1 5/8" tall by 1*" wide."

3. " Floss Sheets - Made of heavy duty clear vinyl. Each handy page stores 20 standard size bobbins of floss. They are easily organized in a notebook and are quickly available for your next project. Each pocket opens at the top. Five floss sheets per pack."

Fabric

A word about fabric - when storing your linen make sure you roll it on a cardboard tube rather than storing it folded up. If it is stored too long, the threads could break on the fold lines. I have all of mine stored in separate plastic storage containers for each thread count.

Projects

So, moving on. What about all the projects you are working on? You know - your UFO's!

1. Software - The software that was mentioned above would solve this concern, too. You can keep track of all of the projects that you have finshed and the current ones that you are working on.

2. Stitcher's Journal - You could keep track of your projects in some kind of journal. One that I found online is called The Stitcher's Journal and I have seen some others in the Nordic Needle catalogs. Before I had my software to keep track of it, I had a blank journal that I made myself to keep track of each project.

Happy Organizing!

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