Tips for Stitching Away from Home.

Over the course of my stitching life  it seemed I have stitched almost as much away from home as at home.... in waiting rooms, meeting rooms, at ball games, on decks, banks of rivers, hospital rooms, airports, on planes, etc. etc. Being able to do this has helped to pass countless long boring hours...  A blog reader wrote and asks if I had tips for doing this.... I sure do.... start with being prepared.

This bag ALWAYS hangs on this chair ready to go packed with the most necessary tools  In 5 minutes I can add some additional threads, beads, or trims and be out the door.

Take a long hard look at your most indispensable tools and keep an extra set in your bag.  For me it is these four tools:  Do note: both hemostats and scissors are on retractable badge holders so if for some reason I do not have my chatelaine, I can clip them on my shirt and not be searching all over for them.

 (1) a tiny pair of hemostats 

(2) A  favorite scissors.

(3) An awl. Mostly for making holes for button shanks but also a very useful tool  for teasing ribbon work as well. 

(4) This threader intended for needlepoint... larger yarns and needles.  But I find it fabulous for threading Kreinik threads which separate like crazy and works for perle, etc. as well..  It is a MUST for me and I  have a special pocket for it on my chatelaines.

You will notice I do not have a thimble because I do not use one.  Your list of tools will be slightly different... but it is so nice to have the right tool when you need it.  But for me it is the rarest of occasions that I do not have a chatelaine I designed for my own needs. It is great not only for travel but for workshops and retreats where you are working amongst others.  The biggest plus is you can't mislay a tool if it is attached to your body..

This is an older chatelaine and you notice I had to put my name tag on separately but my newest chatelaine has my own name  on it.

This is an older one and does not have the tiny forceps which I now want with me. But I have gone through several   chatelaines until my latest one meets all my needs.  Every item has its own pocket and nothing is dangling about to catch on things.

I did make a pattern when I taught a class for it but need to update it and do printed directions and plan to offer it as an online class by late summer.

So I always have a chatelaine in my bag.  This one only looks like it is crazy quilted.  It is actually whole cloth embellished.. trompe l'oeil


Next I have a piece of a velour blanket approx. 12x15"  It is handy to keep a supply of various needles and pins on it so I don't need a needle book and if I have something special like the beads in the little bag, I attach it so it won't get lost.  It's fuzzy surface is great to keep beads from rolling about.

And an added bonus is if I am using it  with beads, I do not need to put the beads away when I have to leave.  I fold the cloth in thirds one way and in thirds the other way and pin it.  When I need it next I just unfold and all is ready to go.

Next at the last minute  I pop in a ziplock bag with my needlework, the valuor pad and just a few threads, ribbons, etc. and am out the door...

Now for the nice but not necessary... First is a work surface.   In the car I use a padded lap tray which are readily available in craft and thrift stores... But they are bulky and not always useable.

So I keep a folding TV tray in the trunk of my car.  I buy the cheapest, most lightweight one I can find at a thrift store.  The old vintage ones are the best because they are the lightest and have the lip around the edge. 

But they are harder to find and now I have one like this.  It does have a bit of a lip and is so light I can carry it and my bag in one hand... 

They are the most useful for places you are going to be for a while like a hospital room with someone sick and you need to be there... Also they are nice in hotel or motel rooms as you can easily set them where there is the best light.  They are also nice to set out on a balcony or deck. It takes up next to no room in the trunk of the car and that is where I always keep it.

And then there is the issue of light.  I cannot recommend a light more enthusiastically than this one.  It was actually designed  for a music stand. Each head had TWO LED bulbs so it is very adjustable and can be easily focused where you need the light.  If you don't have a table to clip it to, a book works just as well.

 It operates on both batteries or AC/DC.  Of course you get a brighter light on AC/DC which is usually how I use mine.. Much of the hospital time I have spent sitting in a semidark room.  This clips right onto my folding tray.  It is less than $20 and available at Amazon.

Recently we went to the hot springs... I like to wake about 5:30 and DH likes to sleep until seven.  Not much to do in a dark cabin,  I used this light clipped to my folding tray table and stitched until he woke up. 

If you have something that works for you when you stitch away from home, let me know and I will add it.


Lisa Boni said...

Great to see your away from home stitching tools! I'll have to take a photo of my travel stitching bag to share with you. Looking forward to the Chatelaine Class online!

Marilyn said...

Oh great, a tutorial. I made one from your instructions but I didn't get it quite right. I have a carrying case that I made for taking my cq with me. I'll take pictures tomorrow and send them to you.

Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

Great ideas, love the velour and light ideas, perfect for my camping trips this year!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I've seen pictures of those needle threaders but didn't know if they would work - now I'll keep an eye out for one. Love the idea of a traveling bag all ready to grab on the way out the door.

Mosaic Magpie said...

This puts my traveling bag to shame...a large ziploc bag! The chatelaine is really something that would be nice to have. The chair where I stitch has needles and pins stuck in one arm...not too safe for me or the dogs!

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