I have a storage problem. No, actually, I have two storage problems. Two specific ones, I mean, quite apart from the usual general “my stitching stuff is distributed all around the house” problem. And they are the result of Branching Out and Trying New Things. Because if you Try New Things you almost invariably find that you Need New Stash. For example, although you can certainly use cross stitch and Hardanger threads for shisha embroidery, it also needs various blingy bits like mirrors and sequins (some of which arrived in the post yesterday – including some unexpected purple hearts which turned out to be a February Special Offer), not to mention a different sort of fabric to work on. And as for goldwork, well…

New sequins - including unexpected purple hearts!

So far I’ve been trying to make do with bobbin boxes of various sizes, which are great for threads on bobbins but not always ideal for other types of threads, embellishments etc. Here are two of the smaller ones, which I tended to use as project boxes, to hold the threads for whatever project I happened to be working on. Since moving from cross stitch to Hardanger these get used rather less because they aren’t particularly suitable for perles, which I keep on rings (#5) or in balls (#8 and #12). So I promoted one of them to goldwork project box, and the other to shisha/surface embroidery project box.

Two small storage boxes, for goldwork and shisha

Immediately you will notice a couple of problems. The shisha box is full to bursting point already, and that’s without most of the new arrivals and some existing stash that would fall into this category. The goldwork box has enough space, but the little acid-free envelopes that hold the metals are too tall for the box – I have to fold them over, but they spring back so I have to close the lid on them very quickly; or I’d have to crease them but I don’t really want to because I like the metals to have a bit of room and not be coiled up too tightly. The same problem applies to the larger box that I picked to store any goldwork materials not part of the present project: plenty of room (for now…) but not enough height.

A larger storage box - big enough, but not high enough

A re-think was needed. There isn’t a lot I can do about the small project box; I just haven’t got anything higher. But then threads will live in it for a relatively short period of time, and probably not too many of them at once, so if I put them in at a sort of sloping angle they should be all right for the duration of a project. The larger compartment holds the mellor comfortably, the tweezers just about, and the scissors propped up; and I can fit all three sewing threads (for gold, silver and copper) into one of the smaller compartments. Then one for beeswax and one for needles (but they can share a room in an emergency), and that leaves three for the threads. Don’t mention bulky padding felt and metallic kid. Just don’t.

The rearranged goldwork project box

As for the larger box, I decided that it simply wouldn’t do for the long term. So out came all the little glassine envelopes, to be temporarily stored on top of the chest of drawers in the storage room (not, unfortunately, a room exclusively for craft storage; in fact, most of the space is taken up by bits of pre-war automobile), and in went all the sequins, mirrors and embellishments, which now have a bit more breathing space and even a little room to expand.

The shisha materials find a new home

Now storage comes in many shapes and sizes, and one of the shapes it comes in is that of a small index card box, several of which had been sitting unused in a drawer in the office since we bought one big box that could hold all our index cards. They weren’t made for needlework supplies, but they are high enough, and will hold two rows of envelopes side by side. Not much scope for organising things, and the envelopes slide about a bit and fall over when there are only a few in a box, but at least the threads would be stored unfolded and shielded from dust.

goldwork threads stored in index card boxes

And that’s where things stood until I visited Sew & So’s website for some petite beads and perles earlier today. Until I saw this: the Deep Utility Box. It is deep. It is organisable. It is Just What I Was Looking For. I ordered it. Watch this space for pictures of it, filled with (well, part-filled with) my goldwork supplies!

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