Here it is, the 2nd of February 2017–which makes it abundantly clear just how slow my start to 2017 has been.
Last year I finished up the last of the year’s donation projects and sent them on their way just after Thanksgiving. Having all of the bins empty left me feeling a bit bereft…a feeling that really hasn’t entirely lifted…though I am gradually getting back in the groove. I do have new projects under way which I will blog about shortly.
One of the things I did in early January to clear the decks and get ready was to do a reshuffle–reorganization of my sewing storage space.
I finished up several quilts in 2016 – including the bright swirls quilt, the blue butterfly quilt, bright scrappy stars quilt, black scrappy stars quilt, Addie’s quilt, and Lyvi’s quilt. Because I finished these things up one after the other in pretty quick succession and I don’t usually clean out a project’s bin until the project is completely finished, I finished the year with a lot of bins still occupied with tidbits from projects that were finished. I also had some bins dedicated to small pieces of fabric which I’d set aside for small projects…crayon rolls, doll clothes, pillowcases, for example and I decided it’d make more sense to have those smaller pieces of fabric grouped together (taking up fewer bins so that I could pull fabric for the small projects from central bins rather than having a separate bin for pot holder fabric, crayon roll fabric, pillow case fabric, and doll clothes fabric since all those projects use similar sizes and types of fabric.) These decisions necessitated going through the bins from the finished projects and cleaning them out. It also meant doing a broader organization with the smaller pieces of fabric that weren’t already grouped together to make a quilt or to make children’s outfits.
You’ve heard me mention bins…bins…bins. You may be wondering what’s up with that.
I live in a house with eighteen house cats – most of whom are formerly feral. Having so many cats leads to having lots of cat fur and other cat messes around and impacts quite a bit on how I store my sewing and quilting supplies. Here’s a picture of a few of our kitties sleeping. Pictured from left to right…closest to furthest are Callie Cat, Harry, Mama Kat, Picasso, and Ozzie (in the window).
I’m lucky to have a large sewing area in one corner of our great room. Our great room really is a great room. It holds our office, the living room with TV and seating, as well as my sewing area. Because of the cats I’ve opted to store everything in plastic bins on shelving which gives me lots of storage without taking up a lot of floor space. I have six large shelving units plus a smaller shelving unit. I don’t store everything in these bins…there’s a storage room built into one corner of the great room and I do have a big tub of yarn, some batting, a big tub of larger scraps, a tub of layered quilts that are ready to be quilted, a kitchen sized trash can filled with tiny snips of fabric, yarn, thread and batting that will be used to stuff cat beds at some point. There’s also a big tub of orphan blocks in there.
You may have heard the saying that sometimes things get worse before they get better — and that was the case with the organization project. The first thing that I did was to unload all the bins that contained stray bits left from finished quilts…and all the pieces of fabric that didn’t go with a specific group pulled to make a quilt. All those ungrouped fabric bins….
It got fairly messy before it got better.
Once I got started on the reorganizing project I realized I needed to cut some more labels for the bins…because I was out.
When I first set up this organization scheme I used black chalkboard contact paper and white chalk markers to create labels but I found that over the time the chalk marker chipped off. When I wiped down bins with a damp cloth as I do periodically the white chalk markers sometimes smeared. So I went back to the drawing board and started using plain white contact and a permanent marker to label my bins. This has worked very well.
I use the rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut strips of contact paper 2 inches wide. Then I cut those in sections that are about 4 inches long for the smaller bins and about 8 inches long for the larger bins.
The contact paper makes big labels that adhere well to my bins but which also come off easily when it is time for that annual clean up.
I was happy to empty several bins that I can now fill with new fabric purchases and more quilting projects. I have made a few recent purchases which I’ll have to show you in an upcoming post.
Getting the organizing done did clear physical space but it also cleared emotional space and made me feel like I was ready to jump back into the quilting.
I’ve been working on several projects most of which are still in work in progress stage…and which are not much to show…yet.
I did finish cutting the pieces for Alex’s quilt which I blogged about when I bought the fabric…back in the summer I think. I’m working on the red, black, and white quilt which is a UFO from about 10 years ago. There are several other projects in the works too…Shoe Quilt, Gold Floral Quilt, Bright Quilt, Black and Bright Quilt, Bright Geese Quilt, Balloon Quilt, Duck Quilt, Soft Floral Quilt and Butterfly Quilt to name just a few of what’s currently in progress. There is fabric pulled and grouped for another ten or fifteen quilts…so I can really let it rip around here if I get into the right frame.
I’m also working on some new ideas for using up the crumb blocks/mile a minute/scrap blocks that I’m addicted to making. I’ve got two ideas brewing with those. Both of these ideas use the embroidery machine and a machine applique design to make blocks. Hopefully I’ll have some of these blocks to show soon.
I’ve also been making more of The Frugal Blocks from Quilter’s Cache.
I seem to be as addicted to making these blocks as I am to making the crumb blocks/mile a minute/scrap blocks. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 of them…Enough to make a king size quilt plus several smaller quilts. I just need to get to sewing them together but I’ve been putting that off because I have been toying with the idea of using some of them to make furniture covers for the couch. We have a bunch of covers similar to these
that we use on the furniture now but I think it’d be nifty to have some patchwork ones…and I think I’d prefer cotton batting to the polyester batting that are used in the purchased ones we currently own.
Though I’ve been quietly in the background puttering and haven’t posted much…and it seems…even to me…like a slow start to 2017 there is a lot that is percolating. Lots of new quilt and sewing projects and I’m even embracing some new to me crafts which I think will be fun.
Check out the darling Purrfectly Pieced Quilt Kit From Keepsake Quilting.