Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sorting threads

It's amazing how a few days away and getting out of the habit of doing something can make you stray off path completely. I was really getting into this alphabet thing, and had even prepared a post to be posted when I was away to keep it going, and then all sorts of other things interfered with my plans. It started with trying to take some pictures for my next post, but because it has been raining heavily for what seems like weeks, I couldn't get any photos worth posting - I get the feeling of being under water lately what with the constant sound of the rain and the gloomy light. Quite cosy if you want to stay indoors and create, but not the best light for taking pictures.

I've been sorting and tidying all my "stuff" these last couple of weeks - the redecorating of my living room (pictures will follow...) brought a lot of clutter to the surface that need to be sorted - in heaps of "for keeps", "pending" and "going out". There seems to be a lot of this going on in blogs lately - maybe it's something to do with getting our "nests" ready for winter hibernation ;-) I also sorted through some of my threads, and since Alicia posted the question of how we deal with those tangle-prone cottons, I thought I'd show what I do with mine, even if my photos have that sub aqua-feel... Since I have a lots of DMC cotton floss - I have been doing cross-stitch for years and I'm for ever adding to my stash - I have made some plain cardboard strips with punched holes along one side. I cut the skeins in same size lengths and loop them through the holes in numerical order. If I use only two strands of a length, I can loop the remaining strands into the same hole and have them ready for the next project.

I keep all the cards in a tin box so that the threads are coiled underneath and all the cards rest upright on top - quite the archivist, oh yes I am! :-D Because I started this system years ago, and it has been growing little by little, adding to it doesn't take a lot of effort, but I doubt I would do it this way if I suddenly found myself with hundreds of skeins that needed sorting - I'm not tidy enough to keep it up for that long!
I also have some special threads, like perle cotton, this beautiful silk noil, some linen etc., and have been doing what Alicia did - pulling out one length at a time from the skein and getting them into a terrible tangle. A friend of mine showed me a trick that works perfectly for these, and I am sorting through them in front of the TV these last couple of evenings. What you do is to open the skein, which is kind of twisted around itself so you have one big loop of thread. Then you cut through it all at one point (preferably where the ends are) so you end up with a bunch of single threads. Loop the bunch around the index finger of the hand you don't work with (I'm left-handed, so I use the finger on my right hand) bringing all the ends together at the opposite end. Split the bunch into three smaller bunches and start braiding them from your index finger. After braiding a few times, you can lift it off your finger and continue braiding with both hands. I just braid as far as I can and leave it like it is. If you feel the need for a very neat finish you could tie a piece of thread or something around the end, I suppose, but I find that it isn't really necessarry - the thread stays braided well enough. If you need to keep the label, you can fasten it throug the loop end of the braid. When a length of thread is needed, just pull it out from the loop end. You'll find that you can easily do this while keeping the braid intact. Works beautifully!

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