Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

The Great Wall of Quilt Tops

October 23, 2019

So the good news is I bought some nice batting on sale and decided to rough cut the batt for the four small quilts I need to finish. The bad news is I have more than four tops in the stack. This I did not know. I really thought there were only four in the stack, but there might be six. It’s hard to tell, because the tops get squeezed together. Looking at the layers is like touring a coal mine. I’m certain if I leave those tops unquilted much longer they’ll be compressed into diamonds. This is especially true if I continue to put the batting and tops together on top of the pile.


Here is the view from my sewing machine at the moment. I have a better understanding of what the soldiers who fought in the trenches of France during World War I must have felt. The good news is these quilts are small – and I have a deadline.


The better news is I cleared out the floor of the sewing room closet for the first time in years. I’m hoping I can keep it clear for a little longer, but just this week an item I thought was going away needs to be stored for a little longer. It is on the ironing board right now, but it can’t live there and I have no place else to put it but in the closet. On the floor. The once clean floor. Ah, well.

Luck and wisdom!

The Mystery of Emptying Shelves

October 9, 2019

I took advantage of a charity garage sale and donated some of my treasures that I told myself I could live without. I cleared out one complete shelf in my sewing room closet. I promptly filled that space with items from other shelves that I wanted to reach more easily.

You would think that I would have had an equal number of inches of clear space on the two shelves from which I moved items, but you would be wrong. Well, maybe you would be wrong. I didn’t actually measure the open areas, but they sure look tiny to me.

There is also the problem that these shelves aren’t convenient, so I need to choose what goes there carefully. That means moving around stuff, unearthing stuff, and evaluating stuff. I won’t even try to take a picture of the chaos in the sewing room now – it is just too depressing. So, for the moment, I have a bit of open space gathering dust until the things that should go there attract my attention. This could take some time.

Luck and wisdom!

Incremental Progress Is Better Than Nothing

June 26, 2019

I’m in the middle of projects just now. It’s great that I’m still working on the PIPs (Projects In Piles), but it doesn’t lead to stunning photographs. Still, I am making incremental progress and can prove it.

This is the first time in ages that I’ve done machine quilting without worrying that I’ll knock a thousand piles from the table to the floor. Now there are only a few hundred piles on the table. This is progress.

I no longer have to do the Sewing Room Shuffle to get from the door to the sewing machine. There is a clear path for my feet, despite the fact that I brought in a large plastic zippered bag of fabric that I had been storing in the garage for a lo-o-o-ng time (on floor, far left, top photo).

Best of all, I have maintained a clear space around the outlet. It’s not a lot of progress, but it’s better than nothing.

Luck and wisdom!

Scrap Happy(ish)

June 12, 2019

Perhaps because we’ve had three days in a row of triple digit heat, I feel like having a moan. When I heard my friend Jeanne Brophy needed some random 2 1/2” squares, I gladly volunteered to cut some from my overflowing scrap bin.

Save the gasps and tsk-tsking, this is what is left of the pile. Here is what I removed.

And this is the pile of cut squares:

On the one hand, I’m delighted that I could help a friend and get rid of some scraps. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the amount of scraps that remain. On yet another hand (or perhaps a foot), I’m dumbfounded at the tiny pile of cut squares in relation to the size of the pile of scraps! And yes, I do understand this is the fate of all quilters. Here ends the moan for the day.

Luck and wisdom!

Six Inches – As Wide As The Ocean

May 8, 2019

I was working on the quilt pictured above when I detected a burning smell. It wasn’t strong, just a hint of something metallic and unhappy. Since I didn’t hear a pop or see any change in the light, and I couldn’t really tell where the smell was coming from, I asked my husband to check out the sewing room. He couldn’t tell what was causing the smell, either, but the damage was done. “The only way this room could be more of a fire hazard would be if you stored cans of gasoline in here,” he said.

He’s right, of course. Everything in a sewing (or crafting) room is flammable. As stuffed as mine is, I’m surprised my sparks of imagination haven’t burned the place down. I’m working on reducing the clutter (oh, stop laughing), but his concern was more immediate. “You need six inches around that electrical outlet under the ironing board,” he said.

Lose six inches, was he kidding me? The space underneath the ironing board was – in my opinion – prime storage space. I use the past tense because there are no longer as many piles as there were. Although six inches seemed as wide as the ocean, I cleared out space.

You don’t want to see where I put the stuff that once lived there. Some of it got sorted into other bags, some of it went away, but most of it is in another pile in the aisle. And I’m really hoping my husband has forgotten about the other outlet in the room until I can figure out how to clear six inches around it.

Luck and wisdom!

Picking (Up) The Low-hanging Fruit

March 27, 2019

My plan to sort through the piles is working, and I think I’ve hit on the “organizational” scheme that will see me through. I’m working on the piles on the floor near my sewing machine. I can see them, reach them, and I’ll have instant feedback of success because there won’t be as much to leap over. This week I am working on two class projects that I determined from the beginning would become donation quilts. This is what the basket class project became:t

I found a cute flannel for the back, and decided to machine applique some of the animals in and around the baskets.

The binding is a stripe I had thought would make a good handle fabric. It didn’t, but I still wanted to use it, so binding it is. The top is busy enough that I did an overall loopedy-loop quilting design. The quilt is labeled and ready to donate, I’ve put away all the leftover fabrics, and I’m ready to start the next project. Is this what progress feels like?

Luck and wisdom!

The New Challenge Begins

February 27, 2019

I finally decided how to approach my new challenge to finish half of the projects I can reach. Since most of my projects are in random stacks I’m calling this the PIPs Challenge – Projects in Piles. Many of those stacks are on the floor, so that’s where I’m starting. Rather than trying to catalog the projects ahead of time, I’ll see what I find when I peel off the next layer. The top you see began with four demonstration blocks and a collection of fabric that had a watery theme. The main border fabric reminds me of a swimming pool.

I’m hoping that a side-effect of working through the piles on the floor first will be that I can reach the projects at the bottom of my shelves. Those of you who have seen my studio know this is not a trivial task. Some of those projects have been waiting there so long they may have evolved into something else, perhaps with language skills and a higher devotion to tidiness than I have achieved. I’ll keep you posted.

Luck and wisdom!

The Surprise Instinct and Cleaning My Sewing Room

February 6, 2019

I may have acquired a new means of tricking myself into clearing up the piles in my sewing room. Steven Johnson (in Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World) writes about the surprise instinct, a neural mechanism that kicks in you when you learn something unusual. Surprise “rewards you for breaking out of your usual habits, for stumbling across something that confounds your expectations.” I was looking for a quilt that I made a couple of years ago – which I haven’t yet found – and I ran across a little Valentine’s Day piece.

This quilt hasn’t seen the light of day in years. The pleasure I experienced finding it almost cancels out the disappointment of not finding the quilt I was looking for, and might be sufficient to make me put what I do run across in its proper place so I can find it again.

Luck and wisdom!

Queuing

January 16, 2019

My sewing machine is in the shop for some well-deserved cleaning. While I usually take this time to sort, now I am tidying with purpose. I am queuing up a series of projects, like a river of creativity. The first two in line will be the last ones on my list for the guild challenge. Then I get to do this one.

The start of this project came from a workshop by Sandy Corbin. I told myself going in that if the blocks turned out they would become a charity quilt. I also told myself if they were ugly they would be tossed in the bin (I used remnants from other projects, just so I wouldn’t get too angsty over $1.37 worth of fabric). Well, turns out I love the project. It will still go to our guild’s quilt give-away, but I’m going to put it first on my list of new challenge projects as an incentive to keep going.

Luck and wisdom!

What to Name My UFOs

January 9, 2019

I have a support group for my 2019 challenge to finish projects. They came to the meeting with tidy lists of unfinished objects (UFOs). I came with a vision of stacks. Now I am trying to catch up by creating my own list, but what do you call something like this?

This is a stack on my ironing board that I believe I will turn into the Progressive Party star project. I suppose I could name it “star project” and hope for the best.

This is a little trickier. Most of the elements in this box are meant for a crazy quilt, but there are a few things that snuck in when I wasn’t looking. Okay, I tossed them in the box when I was too lazy to put them where they belonged. Still, how to name the collection? I might call it “project in box” as I believe it is the only one in a box in my sewing room.

This is the hardest one. Most of the fabrics come from a row-by-row project. They didn’t play well with the other fabrics, but I think they are destined to live together in another quilt. However, I suspect there are a few surprises in the pile. I see some magazines, and I don’t recall saving other patterns for the row-by-row project. This one can’t be called “project on floor” because there are too many stacks on the floor. I’m not even sure I could number them based on the compactness of the pile.

And this is why I challenged myself to finish half of the projects I could reach, not name.

Luck and wisdom!