I believe that the vast majority of needle pointers have an ever growing stash of threads; at least that is what I am told by all my students. Sometimes it is small quantities left over from a project, sometimes it is a thread that inspired them to buy it but they have never found a place to use it.

For this reason I have designed a number of projects where these threads can be used to great advantage.  Just the other day one of my students told me that she was working the painted rug, The Scented Garden (34 x 46 inches) without buying a single thread.

One point I should make is the background, on a large project such as this it is important to have sufficient thread of the same dye lot to complete the work – this stitcher has calculated that she does have sufficient.

So, what are the other projects that lend themselves to this halo burnishing exercise? 

There are really small projects such as spec cases, one kit we do is Kaleidoscope. Lots have been made as good traveling/holiday projects and I myself have made three, one narrow one in muted colours for my fine stitching glasses.  Another, again on 18 mesh, for my everyday use and yet a third, larger on 14 mesh in bright colours for sun glasses.   Shown here is a group with the central one in purples, pinks and yellow – cotton threads I was tempted by in Guatemala but when home couldn’t think of a single thing to do with them!

Pincushions, needle cases, Kindle covers and iPads are also good projects to use up threads – do measure Kindles and iPads as they can vary from model to model.

Other designs have good selections of textured stitches, fun to work and besides all else form a good record of new stitches. Stitch Fantasy is a small panel that has more than 25 different stitches diagrammed and can be ordered on either 14 or 18 mesh canvas. I recommend taking the 14 mesh if you plan working it in wools and 18 mesh for floss and silks. 

All these designs are suitable for those of you who haven’t done much needlepoint or simply wish for a straight forward stitching experience. 

The ‘vide poche’ empty your pockets has around 20 or more patterns diagrammed for the Border and, being small areas, truly small quantities of thread can be used. The origin of this item was for gentlemen to empty their pockets of any coins before they retired for the night – however it is also a useful item by the entrance door for safe keeping of keys – never to be mislaid again!   One lady I know is planning a pretty scheme to keep her jewellery over night!

The two hand-painted canvases the Rhino (inspired by a Durer woodcut 1515) and the Elephant, (Indian of about the same period) both have threads for the animal but leave the individual to use their own threads to follow the Border instructions where all the patterns are explained and diagrammed fully.

Three words of warning – all threads are perfect, crewel wools, floss, perle and over dyes but NOT tapestry wools especially if following my stitch plans

Photo & Threads by Lorraine
Second, should you take one of the kits that come complete with threads but you wish to work it in your own scheme try and substitute wool for wool, floss for floss etc to get the same effect..
Third, already mentioned, for a large area of one colour, do check you have sufficient to complete it from one dye lot.   In this instance it may be worth buying a fresh lot of the right quantity!
I hope this has given you some idea to cope with this universal problem, do let me know of any ideas you have for reducing your own stash!


  1. Make book marks to give to libraries. Use them as an incentive to get children to read more books. Small ornaments to place on the dinner trays of homes for the elderly.


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