Friday, April 13, 2012

I’m drowning in fabric!

This is what my studio looks like at the moment…organized chaos with bins everywhere!  Help!

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A couple of days ago I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to take the bull fabric by the horns selvage and to do something about the disorganization that existed in my fabric bins.

I’ve done a lot so far and this is what I accomplished yesterday.

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A sort while ago my friend Mary from Quilt Hollow gifted me with a wonderful collection of homespuns, both new yardage and some off cuts from her own stash.  At that time I just placed them as they were into a bin of their own and in no semblance of order. 

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After sorting and folding each and every piece, I can now see and appreciate all the gorgeous homespun fabric at a glance which will make my choices so much easier when it comes time to use them.

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Next up was an eclectic array of larger pieces of yardage.  It’s easy to see the two fabrics that are on top of the pile but what lies below remains a mystery.  Because there is an assortment of different fabrics stored in this bin, I would have to take everything out just to see what was in there.

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After folding and sorting, I can now see at a glance the treasures that can be found inside.

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Aaah!  Frankie’s favorite…Civil War and reproduction fabric…so naturally he had to be there to supervise.

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First the fat quarters that were just languishing at the bottom of the container, buried by the yardage on top.  I folded and sorted them by color…

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and found a new home for them as well as most of my other miscellaneous fat quarters.  The cart was gathering dust in the storage area under one of the dormer windows, just waiting to be put to good use.

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Then I folded and stacked the yardage…

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and labeled the bin appropriately.

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Just recently I made a granny squares quilt using 1930’s feedsack fabric from my stash that was stored in this bin.  This is how it looked after tearing it apart while looking for ‘just the right’ fabrics for the quilt.

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And here it is now with the yardage on the bottom and the fat quarters on top.  Because the bins that I use are clear, all the contents are clearly visible, especially now that everything is folded and organized.

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I had enough of folding and organizing and desperately needed a break.   I just couldn’t face the four remaining bins, so Mr. Painted Quilt and I headed up the road to a coin laundry to wash my Dresden plate quilt, simply because it’s too large to fit into our standard size washer.

I made this quilt in 2008 and had only been quilting for about a year and a half at the time.  I was so naiive when I decided that I wanted to make a large quilt and hand quilt it.

Well, at 108” x 108”, it is definitely large…

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and I did complete all the quilting by hand. 

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I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but now have all my large quilts machine quilted.  One was enough!

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It was such a beautiful day here in the Annapolis Valley so when we got home, I hung it outside on the line to dry.

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Moral of the story…

  • Stay organized…so I don’t have to do this again.
  • Shop entirely from my stash until at least the end of the year…unless I run out of something during a project in progress.
  • Donate fabric that I know I will never use in this lifetime.
  • Keep on having fun!

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57 comments:

Needled Mom said...

I need to sort my bins too. Mine definitely look like your before pictures. I just hate to use the valuable sewing time to organize. SIGH!

Lesley said...

Well haven'y you been a busy bee! You have tackled quite a job and have come out ahead of the game. You must be so pleased and it will certainly make it easier now to choose fabrics for your next project. Your folding is so perfect! Love your Dresden Plate. I bet it smells like fresh air!

WoolenSails said...

I organize, but then I disorganize, lol.
I started to clean, mostly I want my table cleared off so I can pin some quilts and get to work on the next one.

Debbie

Deb said...

Drowning in fabric is not a bad thing at all. Unless it's unorganized, right? I'm still trying to figure out a plan for all of mine. I still have tons in bins not organized in any way. One of these days. Yours looks great - everything at a glance.

Love your quilt and I can't believe you hand quilted it yourself! Beautiful!!

gracie said...

Well now... you will put the rest of us to shame with all this busy work! Looks great. I recently turned a small closet into a proper craft storage. Now I can find what I look for.

Cotton Blossom said...

What a great feeling to get organized. I have a smallish stash but it is growing. You have to feed and nurture it you know :) I like the way your fat quarters are arranged. As always, your an inspiration!

Keep Stitchin' said...

Good for you! It is such a wonderful feeling to get everything in an order that makes sense for us; sort of reminds me of how I had to 'rotate' my kids clothes when I put them in their drawers or they'd never bother to look at what was underneath!
I had to laugh at the comment about the Dresden quilt. I did the same thing with my very first bed-size quilt, it was huge and it was all diamonds, set in piecing! I did a couple of other 'ambitious' quilts after that, but now I stick to simpler stuff; sometimes I miss now naiive I was! Trudy

Janet-Olde Crow Primitives said...

Well now I'll have to get my fabric all sorted and organized. You have given me an incentive to do so.
I just love your Dresden Plate. You did a beautiful job hand quilting it.
Have a lovely weekend.
~Janet

Doniene said...

Or Kaaren, you are such an inspiration! And the Dresden plate quilt is gorgeous!! Lovely quilting, too! Have a blessed weekend!!

Quilt Hollow said...

Frankie and I both love that civil war collection! You have wonderful reds. Now that they are organized you can easily see where you can fill in colors you haven't much of too! Your quilt on the line is so pretty....I get a bit nervous about using machines in launder mats only because of what the previous person may have tried to wash and left what residue behind....oh yes...heard some stories!!

Patty said...

I hear ya Kaaren. It's amazing how much we can collect!

Mimi said...

We all reach that point. You did a good job. I, too, recently went through all my fabrics and pulled three large boxes worth of fabric and gave two to a friend who makes scrap quilts for CASA kids (kids that are taken from their homes and put in foster care) and I donated another box to an assisted living place that had a huge craft room for their residents. It felt good to give some of that away knowing I would not use it in this lifetime AND my sewing room is much more organized now and more appealing to go in there to work and create. Kudos to you.

The computer Master said...

Wow... how can you have "Organized chaos" isn't that a contradiction of terms?

Karen said...

When I orgainize my sewing room it feels so good.
And clearly it is time again. How does that happen??
Oh well, I can turn on a movie and start working on it. And its not like I have to get it done by a certain time. If I want to stop I do, and close the door behind me.

Ter'e said...

First of all --- you are a naughty naughty girl! Look at all that fabric!!!!! (LOL, I'm glad you cannot see my wool).
Secondly...........oh my.........I love love love humespun. Oh LUST!
Thirdly --- your Dresden Plate quilt is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It's just breathtaking.
Fourth ----- I am so happy to hear the lilt in your talk ---- I can feel your happiness and your smiles again.
Thank the Lord!!!!!!! Our Kaaren is back.
xoxoxoxoxoxo

Hibiscus House said...

Well I sure did enjoy this post. It was to me a fellow sewer a trip to the candy store. I love the fabrics and how you organized them. Your quilt is so lovely! Lots of quilting went into that and that is a show piece I know your are proud.

Pat said...

Wow!! You are on a roll.

sunny said...

Wow - you have been busy! I'd love to help you with your dilema, so how about if I send you my address? LOL! Now that you've all organized, you'll be more inspired than ever.

Darlene said...

Wow, you've been a busy woman. I know it feels wonderful. I've been on a very tight budget so I've shopped my stash quite abit and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It's like getting reacquainted with old friends. :-)

Have loved your dresden plate quilt since you made it. It's beautiful, Kaaren.

iluvmybugs said...

Your Dresden Plate quilt is gorgeous!!
Love how you are organizing your fabric.
~Terry~

pinsandneedles said...

I feels so good to be organized although it is sometimes painful to get there. I used the same technique not too long ago to fold my fabric stash. It is so much easier to use it when you can see it.

pinsandneedles said...
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Janet O. said...

Oh, this was inspiring. I can see so much I can do to make my stash more visible, and that translates to more usable.
Your first quilt was amazing! It is a beauty still! I have a queen size waiting to be hand quilted for my youngest son. I keep putting it off, but I have done them for my three older children so I just need to do it! : )

Chookyblue...... said...

how funny the first quilt I made was a 108"x108" flannel quilt that I wanted to machine quilt myself.........put me right off quilting on the machine and killed my back and arms moving it around the machone........

marina said...

It can be so satisfying sorting everything out and tidying up!
Your quilt looks fabulous and the hand quilting is beautiful. What an achievement!

Allie said...

Wow do I need to do this...good for you, it looks great!~

Ulla said...

You have done a great job and inspired so many people! The Dresden quilt is beautiful and a lot of work. I love the smell of newly washed laundry dried outdoors on the line!

Donna K. from N. Texas said...

Could you come to my house in Texas and help me do the same with my fabric? I love pulling fabric out for projects but hate putting it back up when I'm finished. Like you, I've sworn to use only the fabric in my "resource center" unless there is something absolutely need for a project in progress that my stash can't fix.

Love your Dresden Plate quilt. It's amazing what we do to ourselves when we of ignorant of the true difficulty of a project!

Kathie said...

I knew there was a reason I loved Frankie :)
We have the same taste in fabric!!!!
your quilt is beautiful, I bet your so glad you hand quilted every time you look at it now...
good for you getting organized I am working on organizing my scraps again...always a work in progress
Kathie

rosa said...

Que organizado y que bonitas las telas bien dobladas,me encanta la colcha del jardín de la abuela,besos

Taryn said...

The fabric can become overwhelming. I liked how you showed us that a little folding can tame things a bit. I have a couple of bins that need that so I am off to the stash to clean up my act.

EllenaElizabeth said...

It's a great feeling to get it all ship shape, even though I can see you are a very tidy person. I'm the same and cannot stand when things are out of place. I have people giving me bags of fabric constantly and that means checking it all, folding and re-organising things in my sewing room to make room.One time I got a heap of bags of fabric, got straight onto organising it all and 2 days later the lady who gave it to me wanted some of it back...can you believe that?!!! First time that's ever happened to me.

onlymehere said...

Your quilting and piecing is so beautiful that I would have thought you'd done it longer than 2008. I started after my first daughter got married so I've been piecing for about six years. I have a desire to do a Dresden plate...someday. They look so darn hard!

Anyway, I'm kind of a nut when it comes to organizing my fabric. It has to be just so and I drive my kids nuts with all my labeling etc. in my sewing room! It's the one room of the house that stays "my way"!

Heather said...

Having your fabric organized is such a delight. I need to go through mine now and then just so I can remember what I have!

Stephanie said...

Good goals! I spied green and white polka dots. :o) Right now I'm in a big disarray but it's a somewhat organized mess -- an oxymoron, I know. LOVE your dresden quilt. One of my first quilts was 107" square. Why oh why?

Dianne in the country said...

Hi Kaaren,

Love your Dresden Plate.

You inspire me to get organizing more too.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Dianne

sarapatch said...

Your Dresden Plate is beautiful,and
your organization is excellent!!!
Hi Sara

Betty said...

Your Dresden Plate is beautiful. Nothing like that fresh smell from drying in the outdoors.
I so badly need to organize. Want to come do mine when your are finised?

taylorsoutback said...

How logical to fold and place fabric on end - you have given me the push I need!

Have to ask - don't you find that just having fabric in your hands is soothing and calming...and you can are reminded why you fell in love with the pieces in the first place?

Have fun in your freshly organized sewing studio!

Lori said...

You are the organization queen now! Looks great!
I've just started hand quilting beyond the cherry tree- all 108" square of it! lol

Marie said...

Looks like you did a great job of sorting and organizing - wanna do mine?

Sandi said...

How inspriational your efforts are Kaaren.

I have to do this in a huge way along with some other purging.

My intent was to start this morning but have some errands to do first and then delve in.

Thanks!

Beverley said...

It all looks lovely Kaaren. I wish I had a sewing room/studio. My stuff id all round the house in various hiding places.

Kathryn said...

Karen, thanks for giving me hope that an unorganized fabric stash can be put under control! With all your lovely plaids, you should check out this month's block at Blocklotto.com. Your Dresden Plate looks so nice hanging on the line. You must be having a wonderful spring like we are. Best wishes, Kathie L in Allentown

GerryART said...

Excellent.
Excellent.
Excellent.
hugs to you, you neatnik.

Merilyn said...

It does take a bit of time to get things sorted in the sewing room, you have done well!!! I have fabric I haven't seen in years, ho-hum!!!! You actually feel better when things are in order, that day hasn't arrived for me yet LOL!!
Your Dresden Plate quilt looks wonderful hanging on the line, such a classic style!

Deb said...

I think I need to hire you to come and straighten up my stash. I have three cabinets full of material, plus probably 7 or 8 plastic containers, loose fabric and kits. I'm sure I'll never get it all done in my life time. Hopefully either my daughter or DIL will pick-up quilting a little later so I'll have someone to pass my stuff to...would love to have mine looking as neatly placed as yours does, so I could actually find something!

Sue said...

Oooo your Dresdan Plate is a beauty! Bleck on the organization...I need to do that too but am not looking forward to it. Yours looks nice and organized!

Nancy said...

I'm inspired. Good luck with keeping it organized. Then you can come to my house and organize my stash too!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

What a great moral to the story Kaaren. I need to follow in your footsteps.

Meredith said...

Don't you love the P-touch. My fabric is in no way as organized as your post. I am glad the for all the fabric I have. I just looked online to purchase fabric and it was $11.oo a yard. Glad I have as much as I do.

I enjoy having a lot of fabric so that I have plenty choices. Thanks for the inspiration. Hopefully i will get organized like you.

Crafts4others said...

love your organizing. I did to do some of that soon, or at least that is what I tell myself. somehow I never manager to get motivated to start though.

JCnNC said...

Organizing usually creates inspiration - like finding a piece of fabric that you really do like, but forgot you had. With every re-folding, I find that I create wonderful projects to do. Wish I could say I had hand quilted one quilt in my lifetime - I started making quilts after the arthritis set in my hands. Your Dresden is beautiful and a real treasure. Judy C sending warm wishes

sandi s said...

I love your ideas for sorting and storing your fabric. Mine looks like your before pictures. I have several of the clear bins so I think I will try that. Your quilt is lovely,

DebbieM said...

Thanks for the sorting tutorial!! I needed to see that. I can't see what I have either from time to time, I need to organize too. Thanks for showing pictures, that makes it much easier to see the fabric. I too have some clear bins, so thanks for the ideas on how to put the fabric into the bins, I usually just stack it too. Your quilt is beautiful. Hope you are doing well!! Take care, Kaaren.

Karen said...

Wow, you really have made great progress! Good for you! Such yummy fabrics. I have folded some of mine like you have too, but I need to get back at it and also purge what I won't use. Thank you for the inspiration!

Candace said...

I went through the same thing recently, Kaaren! I can't tell you how liberating it was to finally know exactly what I have and be able to see it at first glance! I envy you the line outside to hang your gorgeous Dresden quilt!
Cheers!