Bead Storage a dream come true

For 20 years – yes I worked it out that it’s 20 years since I first started crazy quilting. Ever since storage has been an issue and as the stash has grown so have the storage solutions but I think Jerry has built me what I want.

In the beginning there were food takeaway containers. In fact at the start of my adventure into crazy quilting there was one single takeaway container and a very tight budget. I can remember feeling particularly rich when I had 3 take away containers full of beads and guess what I think my stitching was a dash more imaginative then as the tight budget dictated I had to be creative with what I had.


As our financial situation improved I purchased these clear boxes with dividers in them. I found that seed beads get caught in the corners. As a result, they are not the most practical container for small beads. For a good few years now I have used them for larger beads and charms. I am quite happy with them and they will stay in service.

For small beads I have been keeping them sorted to colour in small zip lock plastic bags in a large storage containers that I purchased in a hardware store.

I have found that this system is good but you still need to scrumage about to find things. I work so time management is important to me. I do things like put a load of washing through while cooking dinner. If things are simmering on the stove while I wait I sweep floor or do some small task. All this constant activity is so in the evening I can have a couple of hours to stitch. When you only have maybe an hour and half or two hours in the evenings to do what you love. Spending half an hour looking for something when you have little time becomes annoying.

Having to search for something – for me – means it does not get used. I have found if I see it, I use it. I also keep everything sorted to colour because usually I am looking to use a particular colour to use.

This system has been serving me faithfully for a long time but along the way I tried odd storage containers thinking that I might find an ideal size and shape box. There is this constant quest involved in looking for storage solutions and I am sure I am not the only crafter who has the same goal.

Another lesson I have learnt that odd shaped containers never quite stack in the corner the way you need them too. Along the way I have tried those round stackable containers that screw one on top of another. I found they simply use space awkwardly as they are round. Square containers take up less space and uniform square containers take up less space still.

Since I was decluttering Jerry has claimed them all for use in his shed as he likes keeping all the various size bits such as screws etc in small boxes.

This purchase of Krafters Korner containers is the thing that prompted my re-organization. I first spotted them in a cheapie shop – Homebase for Aussies. Since they were $2.50 for a pack of 12 I bought one packet because I was suspicious of the lids. I wanted to see if they stayed on. I would like to report the lids are tight. These little containers are an inch high, economical, have a tightly secured lid, hold just over a teaspoon of seed beads and are ideal for me. So I went out and purchased a couple of hundred.

Two weeks ago I mentioned that Jerry was building me some trays for my beads so here is an update. The trays are about an inch and half high and they house these small plastic containers as you can see. At the moment they are trays which stack on top of each other but they will eventually sit is a set of drawers which will match this.

This is the sewing cabinet Jerry made me a few years ago. I just love it. Each drawer (apart from the two at the base) is designed to take the commercial thread cards and holds 250 or so. This is a very me item. Check out the drawer knob that is a miniature teapot, another that is a mug and others are small cotton reels.

This is it with the draws open. The bead trays that Jerry has built to hold the beads will eventually become drawers in another cabinet. In the meanwhile I will stack them on a shelf. This is what a bit of bargain shopping can do!

For all that I still have bead soup – colour sorted bead soup, but bead soup nevertheless. Bead soup is great for quick little projects as you can select one container and away you go. You will notice that there are some empty ones as these are new purchased from the same cheapie shop. I have learnt to factor in stash expansion because just like waistlines, stashes grow as we grow older and it’s no good having the perfect system that cannot expand. Guess what these particular containers are about half the depth of food takeaway containers. I guess I have gone in some sort of a circle!


May Postcard for 6×4 Lives

6 x 4 lives postcard for May

This month for the 6 x 4 lives postcard challenge I decided to pull out my sewing machine and so some machine embroidery instead of hand stitching. I don’t often do machine embroidery as I take my main pleasure is quietly sitting with needle, thread and fabric. It is just my personality type but I took it into my head that this month I would so some machine sewing

I found a piece that I had dyed a while back now which had an imprint of a paper doyley on it. The colours are in browns and eucalypt green and a little richer than they appear on screen. I simply free stitched a number of colours on one side to bring out the imprint of the doyley. I treated it like paint, layering the thread and squiggling everywhere. It was fun!

As usual click on the card to be taken to a larger view and go to all sizes to see details of my squiggles. Two days running featuring completed projects. This must be a record!

Scrumbled throw on thing

We don’t know quite what to call this. Is it a shawl or a cardigan? Under the arms are attached by a few stitches but its more like a throw on thing. Jerry jokingly described it as something that was thrown and not quite missed.

I am feeling quite satisfied as I am able to report that this novice free form crochet/knitter has finished my first project. It did start out to be a smaller project but as I did more scrumbles it grew and Eve loved it so it grew some more.

The other night we decided that it was time to stop. I had planned to add buttons and beads but Eve wanted as it was. So I tidied the edges a little and put a couple of stitches under the arms and that was that!

Freeform crochet and the process of scrumbling that has me fascinated. I warn you if you try it you will be hooked as you never know quite what direction it is going to take you in.

Here is the front of the shawl.

What I have learned
You really need quite a few textured yarns to make scrumbling interesting. I don’t have enough to really set up contrasts of texture. The other way to go is to explore the textured stitches a lot more. I plan to include more in my next project. I have fallen in love with bullions but I am sure there is more textured stitches to be discovered.

Also some of my scrumbles are possibly a little too large. I think my next piece will have smaller bits in it and perhaps not quite so many colours. I will see how scrumble size effects the process and finished design.

I think I could have been more creative with the edges having a few interesting dingle dangle bits and even perhaps some braiding and tassel like things included. I still want to include beading in a project so that is on my to do list as well!

It is flatter than it looks in the photograph and Eve likes wearing it a bit crooked! All up I am quite happy with it and think its an addictive form of working. So I am going back to browse through squidoo list of free form crochet sites which is maintained by Connie of Catana’s Needleworks