Stitchqueries: Does Floss Ever Become Too Old?

This week’s stitchquery comes from Mary about some old stash she has waiting in the wings.

I’ve been away from doing cross-stitch for some time and am wondering how old is too old when it comes to the quality of floss. I’ve had some of my floss stash since the early ’80′s, kept clean and dry in a plastic covered bin.

Should I just toss it and buy new?

Good question, Mary. In this case it sounds like the floss was well stored so my advice is to just dig in and enjoy it! As long as the floss hasn’t been damaged in any way by moths, moisture, or other elements of storage you’re all set. Even if it had gathered some dust you could give it a wash in mild soapy water and dry it and I think it would be in great condition.

Cross stitch stash of fabric, floss, and charts can hold up for many years as long as it is stored well. Many stitchers inherit the stash of previous generations and find all sorts of great things hiding in that old stash. I recently received a bag of embroidery supplies that my mom came across in the basement of my grandparent’s house and most of it was in sealed packages and in great shape. Vintage tablecloths, linens, and threads all still in really good shape.

Of course, I would never deny one the opportunity to go shopping for new stash! So if you’re looking to start over while you revitalize your interest in stitching again then *new* stash buying is a great idea. You could keep the old and supplement it with new items or you could sell off the lot of old supplies on eBay and start fresh and new.

Additional note from reader Sharon about color batches:

Companies some times change their color formulas, or the color changes as it sits in the floss for several years. More than once, I have started stitching with a color, and the new skein has been a slightly different shade. (Then I hear a chorus of frogs: rip-it, rip-it.) Or, and this has happened several times, I go to put a little floss left at the end of a project back on a bobbin card, and the current floss is a different shade from the older floss that was on the card. My word of warning is to make sure you have enough floss to finish the project before starting.

And I agree with that absolutely. I’ve had that happen to me in the past, especially with batches of red and/or purple on large projects. Definitely a good tip from Sharon there and something to keep in mind if you’ll be stitching a large piece.

Happy Stitching!
Loretta

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About Loretta Oliver

I’ve been a cross stitcher since I was 8 years old. It was something I learned as a Girl Scout when we did a project for a badge related to crafts and the group choose to cross stitch a holiday design on a red sweatshirt using waste canvas. (Talk about hard first project, that was such a pain!) I was one of the first ones finished and I’ve had a needle in my hand almost every day since then.

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