Salvaged Stash: My Mother’s UFOs

Welcome to the next Salvaged Stash article!

My mother taught me how to cross-stitch. When she was in her teens up through her early twenties when I was born, she used to stitch quite frequently. She taught me when I was eight years old, but it wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realized just how many finished pieces adorned the walls of my childhood home. I suddenly realized the pictures I looked at every day for years were actually delicately worked with needle and thread, and I didn’t even notice.

When I was seventeen, I began to really get into cross-stitch on a more serious level. I built up my stash, bought more projects, designated a little craft area in my room… cross-stitch expanded beyond a hobby into a serious passion of mine. I talked to her about her stitching: did she still have anything left from back then? My mother went into her closet and pulled out an old bowling bag she hadn’t touched in years and gave it to me. That brown bowling bag and a flat tan box underneath it were all that remained from her years of stitching.

I expected to find needles, thread, old fabric, maybe a handful of old booklets and magazines that I knew she had. Imagine my surprise to find at least a dozen half-started projects! Some of them were only just started, some of them were half-finished, and one specifically was so close to being finished it must have only had around 50 stitches to go with all the backstitch already finished.

A handful of my mother's UFOs.

A handful of my mother’s UFOs.

Back then I was shocked to see them all, but now I can think on it and laugh. I’ve got a whole box full of projects I started and put down, way more than I found in Mom’s bowling bag. I do plan on finishing them all eventually, and I’m sure she had the same intention. She put the needle down to have kids and raise a family and the projects got lost in the whirlwind of life.

Unlike projects one may find in a thrift store or in a bundle of other things, my mother kept all her work mostly together. I’ve been able to find their charts in booklets or magazines, and have put the projects away in my binder for consideration. Maybe I’ll finish a few of the nearly completed ones and give them to her as gifts. There are a few charts she marked down as ones she would like to do but they were never started. Some projects had stains on the fabric that I could try to get out and clean up and finish for her.

I’ve completed one of those projects so far. The piece “Met My Dad?” was so close to being finished, I sat down one day and finished it for her. I washed it, got out the stains and the wrinkles as best I could, and then framed it for her. This is how it looked before the ironing and the framing:

Here it is, just completed!

Here it is, just completed!

I later wrote a Friday Finishes on it, which explains the piece in more detail: Friday Finishes #21: Met My Dad?

I sometimes wonder what would have happened had my mother not kept any of these things when she decided to give up cross-stitch. The half-started pieces probably would have been thrown away if their charts weren’t paired with them. I’m glad she kept them. These pieces in particular hold more sentimental value for the fact that they are my mother’s projects. Projects that have crossed more than twenty years to come to me to finish and hang them up on the wall. There’s something magical in that. Two generations worked on this project.

Much better than ending up in some landfill somewhere, don’t you think?


Salvaged Stash is a series focused on rescued finishes and the story of how I received them. A lot of people don’t realize what happens to a lot of the treasured finished pieces once their makers have passed or the gift is given away or forgotten. I want to share my stories of the stash I’ve rescued and how I’ve used them. A companion series to the article Save the Stash from the Trash!

Term of the Week: PIZL


This week’s Term of the Week made me laugh when I saw it. I had to cover it for today’s term. It applies to me so well!

So, what does a bunch of random looking letters like PIZL mean? Well, it’s actually an anagram for a bunch of different words.

PIZL stands for Projects In Zip Locks. What does it mean? What are Zip Locks?

Ziplock is a type of plastic bag for things like sandwiches that seal together using grooves like a zipper. They are resealable and come in all different sizes. So Projects In Zip Locks – PIZL – literally means cross-stitch projects you keep in resealable plastic bags as a means of storage.

This applies to me so well because I use the plastic bag storage almost exclusively for my projects. Once I open a kit or get all my supplies kitted up for a chart, I stick them all together in a plastic ziplock bag – usually a Ziploc brand, which is the company the word came from.

For anyone else who may use the same system of storage, this is the term to describe what you use!

Just some of my PIZL!

Just some of my PIZL!


“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

The Five-Minute Stitch! Mini Kit Rotation – INTRODUCTION


Hey guys! So today I am starting on a new Five-Minute Stitch project… the Mini Kit Rotation! This video introduces the concept and explains what I’m going to be doing. For the next several months there will be a video uploaded to this YouTube Channel every other day as I work through three different mini kit projects and complete them. This video is only the introduction, so keep an eye out throughout the week to see our Mini Kit Rotation started!

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We Are Back! :D


Well, after many more months than I anticipated, Little Thread Crafts is back up on its feet! All 170 of our articles have been copied over, re-formatted, re-pictured, and re-posted for your viewing pleasure.

We’ve undergone a complete and total overhaul both on the front end and the back end… we are now self-hosted by Blue Host, and I’ve got control of so much more than I had before. All to make the content better for myself and readers to come together and chat about our crafts and our community!

Now that we are finally caught up on two years’ worth of posts, new content will start up on the site. New Term of the Week, new videos, more tutorials… lots of good stuff coming! It took three months to deal with all the technical issues of the move, but rest assured they are now settled, and content will start up again! Woo! I’m so excited. 🙂

I will see you all next week when the new content starts!

The Rules of Cross-Stitch


Everyone has their own ‘rules’ when it comes to cross-stitch. It stems from the fact that more often than not, the community is almost wholly self-taught. When you first start out, the guides and the instructions only tell you the technique you need to learn: come up, come down, make an ‘x’. They don’t tell you how to do it, just that however you make an ‘x’ with needle and thread, that’s considered a cross-stitch.

For a beginner entering the cross-stitch community, the sudden amount of ‘rules’ can overwhelm. Backs must be neat, no carrying your thread, no waste knots, stitches must be consistent, work from the center, work from the corner, backstitch last, borders first, etc. etc.. The thing is, everyone will tell you a different set of rules based on what works for them.

The truth of the matter: cross-stitch HAS no rules. None. Despite what others may say about the craft, the ONLY rule of cross-stitch is that your threads must come together to make an ‘x’, because otherwise it’s not cross-stitch. That’s it. If you can make an ‘x’ on fabric, you can cross-stitch, and the personal method you use to create that ‘x’ can be whatever your heart desires.

I’m here to tell beginner stitchers that these so-called ‘rules’ are more like guidelines, created from thousands of years of stitchers figuring out what works best for them. (Yes, thousands of years – cross-stitch is considered one of the oldest forms of embroidery on the planet.) The personal guidelines for one stitcher may not work for another, who has developed their own methods and preferences when it comes to stitching.

As for me, my only ‘rule’ is this: all stitches must go in the same direction. If I start my piece with the bottom stitch / and the top stitch \, then all my stitches must go /\. To me, the finished piece looks cleaner and more uniform that way. This is an extremely common ‘rule’ that stitchers will tell others because it works and looks the best for the majority of the stitching community. Still, if you don’t like to have your stitches going the same way, you don’t have to do it.

I also railroad every cross-stitch, and I can tell you for a fact that that’s not a rule many others follow. Does it work for me? Yes. Does it work for others? Not always. (Don’t know what railroading is? See HERE.)

So don’t be overwhelmed when it comes to the ‘rules’ of the craft. There are no rules. You can pick and choose between thousands of years of work and pick whatever techniques and methods work best for you. Each finished piece is wholly unique to the individual who stitched it, and even if two stitchers followed the exact same guidelines their finished products wouldn’t look exactly the same. That is the beauty of the craft.


“Random Corner” is a place for all articles related to all manners of cross-stitchery and the cross-stitch community that don’t fall into the topics covered in the regular segments. There is no set schedule for Random Corner articles, they’re just random!

By the way – to keep up on Little Thread Crafts stitching news and get pictures, updates, and more that don’t appear on the blog until much later, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I would greatly appreciate it!

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