April 11, 2020

Spring Cleaning My Studio

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Spring Clean Your Studio blog hop, hosted by Cheryl of Muppin Inc. Before we get to my 'before and after,' a couple of things:

  • my Pinwheel Garden pattern has just been released and is available at its introductory price through April 14th. It's a fun, scrappy pattern that includes baby, throw and queen size options. You can get it in my Etsy shop here.
  • I'm teaching a free Introduction to English Paper Piecing workshop tomorrow, the 12th, at 3 pm EST. You can register for the workshop here. I'd love to share my EPP tips and techniques with you.

Okay, on to the studio spring cleaning 😊 I don't actually have a studio, which is both better and worse in terms of mess. Better because I can't let things get truly out of hand, but worse because my sewing stuff is stored all over the house, crammed in here and there, wherever there is space. Some of that 'crammed in' definitely needed work.

I've been storing all my fabric in an old dresser in our spare room, with the colours separated into different drawers. This works okay, except the drawers were all a mess and they were jam packed to the point I could hardly open some of them. Finding a particular fabric could be a frustrating process.
blue fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
green fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
Then there was my Island Batik fabric, which was stored on a set of shelves. While I was an ambassador for Island Batik, I kept those fabrics separate so I could be certain to only use IB fabrics in the ambassador challenges. Now that I'm not an ambassador anymore (oh, why can't there be more hours in the day?), I wanted to integrate those fabrics with the rest of my stash. There was plenty of other mess on the shelves, too. The white drawer unit was supposed to be for Nathan's Lego, though it has been mostly empty the past while and the Lego are all over the place. The batting situation was getting out of hand and the scraps (fabric and batting) are multiplying every time I turn my back.
messy shelves | DevotedQuilter.com
When I started my inventory quilt, I took the blues drawer down to the kitchen and started cutting one piece from each fabric. Then I folded each fabric neatly and stacked it up. I considered trying to fold them uniformly, but they're completely random sizes and I didn't want to bother trying to figure out how to make them all the same. I don't have much patience when it comes to cleaning or organizing, lol.

Around the same time, a friend messaged asking if I have any scrap fabrics she could use for an EPP project and for a crazy quilt project. So, while I was cutting, I also weeded out anything that could go to her. Then everything went back into the drawer, stood on end rather than stacked on top of each other. I added my blue Island Batik fabrics and to be honest, I was amazed how much I could fit into the drawer this way! As a bonus, I can see everything without needing to rummage around.
blue fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
Once that drawer was done, I moved on to the other three. When I emptied the green drawer, I discovered it had been so jammed full that the bottom had slipped out of place, but we were able to glue it back in.
drawer repair | DevotedQuilter.com
Now, there are probably people who look at these and cringe because the fabrics are not arranged in any kind of order. I did consider doing that - very, very briefly. This was definitely a case of "finished is better than perfect" and also of knowing myself well enough to know that I would never maintain that kind of system so there's no point in doing it to begin with.
green and orange fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
neutrals fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
warm colours fabric drawer | DevotedQuilter.com
 I love this new system! I've pulled fabrics for bee blocks since I got these drawers finished and it was so easy to find what I needed! Unfortunately, I couldn't quite fit everything into the drawers, though it was close. Only my browns wouldn't fit anywhere, so they're now on the shelves where the Island Batiks used to be. Neatly, though, so it looks better than it did. There's not much room for more fabric in the drawers, so depending on how my sewing and stash accumulation are balanced, I may need to make some adjustments in the future.

Then it was time to tackle the shelves. By moving the Island Batik fabrics into the drawers, I had freed up quite a bit of space. I also gave my crazy-quilting friend all my flannel scraps and quite a bit of old polycotton that I had been given and knew I'd never use. She's quite happy to mix anything and everything into her crazy quilt and I'm quite happy to see it get used rather than taking up space on my shelf. We also moved Nathan's Lego unit into his room (we've done some organizing in there, too).

I managed to fit a lot of the batting into the boxes. One box is full of unopened packs, while another box is stuffed full of scraps. I have so many batting scraps that they wouldn't all fit, so some of the larger ones are stacked on the shelf and in bags on top of the boxes. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than it was.
shelf | DevotedQuilter.com
One shelf has a bunch of UFOs, mostly tops in need of quilting, and a few small finished quilts. Then there are the scraps. I had high hopes of getting 'something' done with them in time for this post, but that just didn't happen. The big box on top of the shelving unit, the two red shoeboxes, the clear bin and an overflowing grocery bag at the bottom are all full of scraps. I finally have a plan, though! Sandra, at MMMQuilts, has been making scrap baskets off and on for a while and I'm going to follow her lead. Thanks, Sandra! The tutorial for the scrap baskets is here. The baskets will use up scraps (both fabric and batting) and then they'll be pretty scrap storage 😊

The last bit of organization I did was to separate my 2 ½" strips into lights, mediums and darks. I don't have any fancy storage solutions for them, so into an Amazon box, a grocery bag and a ziptop bag they went. I wasn't looking to spend any money on this organization project. Maybe these will end up in the shoeboxes once the scraps are in their pretty new baskets. In the meantime, having them separated like this will make them easier to use next time I need strips.
fabric strips | DevotedQuilter.com
There are still plenty of organizing projects I could tackle, but I'm pleased just to have my fabric done. Now it's time to sew up some scrap storage baskets...organizing by sewing, that's one kind of organizing I can get behind!

If you're in need of more organizing/cleaning inspiration, check out the rest of the blog hop participants. I've found a few tips I plan to put to use the next time I feel a surge of organizing energy (it might be a while, though, lol). The hop is going all through the month of April, so there's plenty of inspiration still to come, too. Here's the full schedule:

April 1 - Sam Hunter - http://www.huntersdesignstudio.com
April 2 - Marian Pena - http://www.seamstobesew.com
April 3 - Jennifer Fulton - http://www.inquiringquilter.com/questions
April 4 - Martha Wolf - http://Www.pinwheelprodns.com
April 5 - Jennifer Strauser - http://www.dizzyquilter.com
April 6 - Steph Carton - http://www.theelimonster.com/blog
April 7 - Simone Fisher - http://www.simonequilts.com/blog
April 8 - Kate Colleran - http://www.seamslikeadream.com
April 9 - Carlina Moore - http://www.alwaysexpectmoore.com
April 10 - Jen Frost - http://www.faithandfabricdesign.com/blog
April 11 - Leanne Parsons - http://www.devotedquilter.com
April 12 - Becca Fenstermaker - http://www.prettypiney.com/blog
April 13 - Sarah Myers - http://www.quilted-diary.com
April 14 - Mitzi Redd - http://www.reddhomestead.com
April 15 - Jeanette Larson - http://www.Jenonthefarm.com
April 16 - Camille Ainsworth - http://www.stitchinthenw.com
April 17 - Becky Philips Jorgenson - http://www.patchworkposse.com
April 18 - Bobbie Gentili - http://www.geekybobbin.com/category/blog
April 19 - Janellea Macbeth - http://www.janelleamacbeth.com/blog/
April 20 - Lisa Ruble - http://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com
April 21 - Debra Davis - http://www.tuning-my-heart.com/blog
April 22 - Rona Herman - http://www.Ronatheribbiter.com
April 23 - Sue Griffiths - http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
April 24 - Sarah Ruiz- http://www.saroy.net/
April 25 - Jessica Caldwell - http://www.desertbloomquilting.com/
April 26 - Tammy Silvers - http://tamarinis.typepad.com
April 27 - Ebony Love - http://www.lovebugstudios.com/blog
April 28 - Cheryl Sleboda - http://blog.muppin.com

Thanks for stopping by!


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  2. Every little bit helps I find. I love the look of your fabrics in drawers! They look neat to me and organized by color is how I like to do it. So easy to find what I need.


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