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Stitcher's Emergency Kit

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Kathy Bungard's beautiful Belfast pillow is a good project to take on vacation. You only need a single color of floss, which makes packing easy. You can find the chart in the August issue of Just CrossStitch.

I recently found myself in a cross stitcher's worst nightmare: I was sitting in a hospital waiting room with my linen, floss, chart, scissors, magnifying glasses -- but no needle.

I sat for hours weighing the pros and cons of either running to a store to buy a needle, or going home to get a needle, staying with my husband. Would my husband notice if I slipped away for an hour? What if he was discharged while I was gallivanting around the craft store?

Rather than abandon my husband, I sat and stewed over my terrible fate. Never again, I thought, would I leave home without a pack of needles in my car.

I had never considered keeping an emergency kit in my car until now. While others might keep a flashlight, bandages and antiseptic wipes, my must-haves include a tapestry needle, an embroidery needle and a beading needle.

While mulling over my predicament in the waiting room, I thought about whether this was indeed a cross stitcher's worst nightmare. Perhaps it would be worse to be on an airplane without my cross stitch and crash-land on a deserted island. Indefinite time with strangers and no cross stitch -- yes, that would be worse.

So now, in addition to my vehicle emergency needle stash, I have a lost-on-an-island stash. Actually, it is my vacation-stitching emergency kit.

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This handy Thread Cutterz ring was originally invented for fishermen who found it inconvenient to carry scissors to cut fishing line. Inside the thread-cutting version of the ring are a pair of sharp blades that are fine for cutting embroidery floss. You can carry this while traveling and not have to worry about airport security confiscating your scissors.

Here are some things I plan to have handy:

  1. An extra photocopy of my chart. You never know when a kid might belly flop into the pool, splashing water on your pattern.
  2. A metal board with magnets to hold my chart. Who needs to run after windblown paper at the beach?
  3. A lighted magnifier. The hotel room might not have a decent lamp.
  4. A Thread Cutterz ring. Heaven knows what I would do if airport security confiscated my nice embroidery scissors.
  5. A plastic bag for "snippets." I don't want to leave threads on my hostess's carpet.
  6. Extra needles.
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