These are extras but could be deemed necessities. Each project is contributing to helping me stay neat and organised while stitching. I have been down the rabbit hole of flosstube videos on YouTube and decided to make a thread catcher mat and also try making a 'grime guard' for my new 11" Q-Snap frame. My 2021 cross stitch project needed a project bag to house the larger frame too (it would also be perfect for storing quilt blocks) so that's where it started. The slippery slope of making things to prepare to make things!

I searched through a lot of online tutorials and videos and am sharing today which ones I used to make my projects and explain why these makes are all so useful.

Perhaps, like me, you have a sofa/armchair/floor covered in bits of thread. I like to hand sew sitting on the sofa and the armrest is where most of my snipped threads end up. Occasionally (most of the time!) I forget to move them and they can end up in little nests all over the place. I've seen a whole load of different styles of thread catchers and I actually have a really cute little book thread catcher kindly made for me by Archie the Wonder Dog a while ago. That one lives with my sewing kit that I take out and about (not right now!) - to prevent trains/classrooms/cafes having to deal with my thread nests! Ultimately I decided to make these thread catcher mats, which again there are different variants of, but what I like about this version is you can easily replace the square of wadding when it gets worn out. Also it a good size and as it's flat it can easily fit into a project bag. 

The pattern is 'no sew' but I really wasn't happy with how my corners looked so I did ladder stitch the mitred corners together. Even though I added some sewing, I still used the fusible web to hold the corners when making the next ones because that made the stitching easier and added a little stability. The mats are so handy for sticking cut off threads on that I ended making three, to keep in the bags with my different stitching projects. That way I can just grab a bag and start stitching without making a mess. I'm sure I will make more of these thread catchers, there are bound to be more project starts!

Lace in Marmalade, Passionflower, Anna Maria
Confetti in powder by Rico Design
Fried Eggs in bright blue, Welsummer by Kimberly Kight

Tutorial I used:


This project bag was really fun to make. I knew straight away it would be great to use this adorable print from my stash. I have so many prints that I LOVE but bought just because they are cute and I've never used them for anything. Usually it's only a FQ or 1/2 metre of these prints too, so perfect to use for bags or smaller makes.

Main fabric: Pincushions in pink, Thimbles and Threads by Louise Cunningham
Lining fabric: Confetti in powder by Rico Design
Binding: Cross Square, Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt
Vinyl: gold glitter tablecloth vinyl from ebay 

Tutorial I used:

How to make an easy WIP Project Bag with Vinyl and a Zipper | Fat Quarter Shop 

I did change the dimensions because I didn't want such a large bag. I cut my main fabric for the back and lining at 15.5" square, the vinyl at 10.25" square and the other pieces the same as in the video tutorial (cutting them to the width of my pieces).

Crosshatching is undoubtedly my favourite go to quilting pattern, the texture is so lovely! The bag was sewn and quilted with Aurifil 40wt thread in #2205 Apricot.

The motifs on this fabric are just so sweet, the faces are adorable and the vintage sewing theme is fab.

I added a small tassel and a thread charm to the zipper, it's nice adding those little touches to a project.

Just a note, this vinyl is just as good as more expensive stuff I've bought - it's worth searching wipeable/pvc/vinyl table coverings to see if you can find something similar. Plus the glitter is cute!

Finally those flosstube videos influenced me to make a 'grime guard'. Now this is one of those things I didn't think I needed until I used it. 

It looks like a headband or useless shower cap but it's function is to protect the work and also to be able to tuck the edges of the excess fabric into. I'm working on a larger cross stitch project and I did the same last year - I only wish I'd made one sooner! Not having the extra fabric flapping about makes it much easier to stitch.

I had hoped to make a grime guard and a thread catcher from this print but I didn't have enough fabric, I think I pieced three strips to be able to make the guard. It works brilliantly none the less.

Tutorial I used, which has measurements for making a grime guard to fit an 11 x 11" or 8 x 8" Q-Snap:

 How I make my Grime Guards! by Jenn Crafts

She also links a post with information on how to work out sizing if you have a different size Q-Snap frame.

If you're wondering what I'm stitching this year, it is The Fruits of Plenty design by Modern Folk Embroidery - which is his 2021 Stitch Along. This is the third SAL of his that I am doing and I LOVE it.  

I use printable project planners inserts in my pocket planner to keep track of what I'm working on - for my stitching projects I decided to print them out on card and use them in my project bags for keeping notes such as thread colours to easily refer to. It's an 8LOTUS project printable and it comes in a whole range of planner sizes.
Talking of planners I also recommend Salty Twenty Two for planner inserts, I'm using the Inbox system and it's brilliant.

I hope you liked reading about my new additions and let me know if you use any of these tutorials to make your own extras!

Have an enjoyable weekend :)