Organizing Your Materials
I have always lived in small houses, so keeping my cross-stitching materials close at hand was never a problem…keeping them close at hand and being able to find what I needed was often a different story. I think one of the best birthday presents my Mom ever gave me was a Craft-Stor tote with floss trays. It was definitely the first step in getting my materials in order. These are merely suggestions, experiment with different systems to find what works best for you.
I store my floss on plastic bobbin cards, with the floss number stuck on one end. I started out just cutting out the colour number from the label and putting them on with clear tape, but DMC now has little sticky labels with all the numbers. I often have more than one skein of a colour, the extras I store in a Craft-Stor tote insert that has no dividers in it. The floss I have wound onto bobbins is stored in the containers with dividers. Some people store their floss according to shade family; I store mine in numerical order because it's easier to locate a colour. The exception to my rule, (you know there has to be at least one) is that I have the rayons and the metallics in a container separate from the others, and the 'specialty' threads from Rainbow Gallery et al in yet another. I like the Craft-Stor containers because I can see through the lids and the containers stack neatly. I use DMC floss, but should the occasion arise where I had floss by Anchor or Coates, they would be in their own containers as well.
When I am working on a project, I put all the floss bobbins I will need into a Craft Organizer from Darice. I also include any blending filaments or special threads I will need, as well as my little curved scissors. This method also lets me know very quickly if I will need to make (oh oh) another trip to the needlework store for any missing floss colours.
Other options for storing your floss include little ziplock bags that fit on a ring, pocketed binder inserts with a space for each colour, or cards with holes in them to thread the floss through. LoRan has a binder system that is convenient to use. They also carry the magnetic threaded needle holders, very handy for saving time with all those colour changes.
I have a wide variety of charts, mostly of the single pattern leaflet variety. Most of them are sitting in the bottom section of my Craft-Stor, either already stitched or on the waiting list. The free patterns I print off the web are stored in plastic holder sheets in a binder. If I have a pattern booklet, for instance one of all wolves, I can store those in binders as well, using magazine holders. They are plastic strips with three holes on one side, and a long narrow space to slip the book through. This also works well for magazines. The patterns I have designed are relegated to file folders, one file for the final pattern, another for all the steps along the way...original printouts when I receive the drawing from Jenna, colouring along the way, test patterns and floss lists. All of which are well covered with "notes to self."
This is the easy part. If I purchase fabric in plastic tubes, it stays in the tube until I need it. The tubes are stored in a Rubbermaid container. Any flat pieces that I purchase are stored in a tiered wheelie cart with clear pullout drawers. These fabrics are separated by count. I always check out the clearance pile at my local needlecraft store, and have often found some really good buys. Like my floss, I know I will, at some point in time, use all that fabric.
Odds 'n' Ends
The very top drawer of my wheelie cart contains items like packages of new needles, extra bobbins, Fray Check, colour charts, the plastic bobbin winder that someone put in my Christmas stocking one year, a stitch gauge, small ruler, pencil sharpener (the one my kids haven't found yet), and a ziplock bag with small scraps of fabric whose use just haven't been discovered yet. This drawer holds pretty well everything else a stitcher needs other than floss, fabric and charts.