Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

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!

Beginning the Year with Clutter

January 2, 2019

At least I can see a bit of carpet!

This is my quilting studio. In fairness, some of the piles are the result of the Christmas clutter, and will be sorted out quickly. The other piles, not so much. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that I can get things under control because several of my projects have firm deadlines and will be leaving the house. That is largely due to the Unfinished Quilt Challenge, where I was once again shown how pathetic I am without deadlines, and accountability. So, I’m telling everyone who will listen and many who won’t that my goal is to get half of the unfinished projects that I can reach finished by the end of 2019. Anyone care to join my challenge?

Luck and wisdom!

Waiting for the House Elf

August 22, 2018

This is why I would really love to have a house elf.

Yes, I’m getting lots of work done in the sewing room. Okay, I’m getting some work done in the sewing room. Better yet, every so often a project leaves the house, meaning I don’t have to find a place to store it. I do the happy dance, then realize I need to get busy with clean-up. I suck at clean-up.

If you ever find the spell for summoning a house elf, send me the link.

Luck and wisdom!