Studio

A New Way to Organize My Fabric

As I mentioned in the Postscript section of my previous post, The Tale of Three Tulas, Part III, I’ve been working on a new fabric organization system.

For years in my the studio in my previous residence as well as my current residence, I’ve stored my fabric flat like this:

2019-08-14_06-48-54_662

However for years I’ve been inspired by people who store their fabric like this:

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 2.50.47 PM.png
My quilting sister Dana’s studio

Or like this (from the post Feb 2019 post Quilter’s Studio and House Tour):

2019-01-26_12-22-52_1172019-01-26_12-37-46_483

In the first of the above images, my friend Dana used empty fabric bolts she got from quilt shops that had extras, which she cut in half.

In the second and third images, another quilter used recycled cardboard that she cut to size.

I loved the idea of vertical fabric yardage storage but did not want to go through the effort to collect empty bolts from fabric stores and cut them in half; nor did I want to cut recycled cardboard to uniform size.

I knew there must be another option (one I could buy) so I did a bit a googling and first I found what I would consider overpriced options such as “mini bolt board” on online fabric stores. etc. That was not going to work, at those prices, I would just keep my fabric yardage stored flat.

A bit more googling revealed less expensive options such as using comic backing boards for fabric storage!

Then I found this YouTube video on how to do it:

Brilliant!

I ordered a couple hundred of these boards and got to folding! (I got them from Amazon.com and you can find them by searching “Comic Book Boards”. I ordered the Size 6 3/4 X 10 1/2 size because it fit well in my cubbies) 

2019-09-26_13-30-09_096.jpeg

I decided to repurpose my IKEA cubby bookshelves in my home office to be a combination of books and fabric, and arranged my fabric yardage by color:
2019-09-26_13-48-15_433

I am quite pleased, it is like having my own fabric shop – ha!

In case you are wondering, I was able to organize onto the comic backing boards fabric cuts from a quarter yard to five (5) yards!

Here are more photos with close ups of many of the cubbies filled with fabrics:

2019-09-26_13-29-13_3362019-09-26_13-29-17_7732019-09-26_13-29-08_5812019-09-26_13-29-28_9742019-09-26_13-29-33_4782019-09-26_13-29-23_7702019-09-26_13-29-37_6402019-09-26_13-29-43_3712019-09-26_13-29-50_7602019-09-26_13-30-02_5832019-09-26_13-30-14_1672019-09-26_13-30-17_9372019-09-26_13-30-28_2462019-09-26_13-30-30_8492019-09-26_13-30-34_6522019-09-25_17-11-05_4532019-09-25_17-10-55_788

You will notice that many of the cubbies have stacks of fat quarters in front of the vertically arranged fabrics. Inspired by the YouTube video I shared earlier in the post, I’ve begun uniformly refolding some of my favorite fat quarters to place with yardage of the same color.

(Fat Quarter – a quarter yard of fabric cut into a rectangle that measures 18″ x 21″, commonly packaged with other fat quarters into a themed fat quarter pack.)

Mike the Miniature Schnauzer was very patient during my fabric reorganization project. He napped with various piles of fabric waiting to be folded as in the photo I shared in my previous post:

2019-09-18_10-22-59_299

So here’s a question for the crafters reading this post: Do any of you store your fabric vertically like this; or do you store you fabric in flat folds?


Postscript

So what became of the hanging shelves in the closet in my studio where I was storing my fabric?

Well I repurposed them to hold batting and interfacing:

2019-09-25_17-26-49_764.jpeg

A Crafter's Life, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

Scrap Party!

It’s no secret, especially if you’ve followed my blog for a while, that I am obsessed with fabric scraps. I won’t try to link any of my numerous previous posts on fabric scraps. If you are new to my blog, you will have to just trust me 🙂

Well one of my quilting friends, actually the one who got me into appreciating the value and opportunity for unlimited creativity provided by using fabric scraps, is coming over tomorrow for a SCRAP PARTY!

She had a birthday a couple of weeks ago and we are going to do a belated celebration by going to out to lunch and then coming back to my house and spending the afternoon playing in my fabric scrap pile:

2018-03-25_16-26-20_225

I did not post about it (as those of you who’ve followed me for a while may have grown weary of my constantly talking about fabric scraps) but last weekend I thinned out my scrap pile. I pulled out any remaining old lower quality fabric and donated more to a local charity thrift shop.

During a previous donation, a volunteer at one of our local charity thrift shops (for our local Humane Society shelter), told me that fabric scraps sell very well at the thrift shop. They cannot keep fabric scrap bags in stock, they sell out immediately! (See there are more weird obsessed people like myself in Central Oregon).

So what are we going to do at a so called “Scrap Party”? Well I am going to dump the whole box onto a plastic tarp on the floor of my master bedroom (as not to take up precious space in my tiny studio space that we will be sharing) and let my friend go wild playing with my fabric scrap collection. She is really into improvisational piecing (she is the one who helped me move from traditional quilting to art/improvisational quilting) so fabric scraps are one of her favorite textile mediums!

I’ve set up my travel sewing machine for her in my studio so we can sew together. I have two design walls (a small one on the closet door in my studio and then the big one in the hall way) so we won’t have to battle for design wall space!

I’m not sure what she is going to work on, but I plan to work on some paper piecing. I’m trying to spend more time with my extensive (ridiculous) craft book collection and rediscovered in my craft book collection – 50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks by Carol Doak. Playing with fabric scraps seems like a great time to work on my paper-piecing skills.

2018-03-30_17-30-22_480

My friend is bringing over her miniature schnauzer so Mike will have a furry friend visiting.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) made us chocolate chip cookies (to keep our sugar fueled energy level high for crafting!!!):

2018-03-30_17-03-02_876

Of course I will share the outcomes of our Scrap Party!

A Crafter's Life, Studio

Ultimate Studio Fabric Organization

Welcome to the “Quilt Shop” in My House

This past weekend I witnessed the ultimate in “home studio fabric organization”!

I visited the home of a quilter friend of mine for the first time and she showed me her quilting studio. As I turned the corner to enter her studio, my jaw dropped when I saw her extremely well organized fabric stash: It looked like I had stepped into a quilt shop!

How She Did It

My friend collected empty cardboard fabric bolts from quilt shops and cut them in half. She wrapped her fabric stash fabrics around the half bolts and then organized the fabrics by theme/category in a large wide bookcase.

If she had more than a certain yardage of fabric (I forgot her threshold), she would organize the fabric on a full size cardboard bolt (bottom left of the bookcase).

IMG_1456IMG_1458IMG_1460IMG_1462

Advantages 

I think the advantages of this type of fabric stash organization are as follows:

  • Her fabric organization and display feels like she is shopping directly from a quilt shop every time she goes to select a fabric in her stash – AMAZING!
  • She can clearly see what is in her stash.
  • This may reduce her need to actually go to a quilt shop, and spend money on fabric that she does not actually need.

(I know, I know, right now all quilters reading this are rolling their eyes. Buying fabric is not about needing it – it is about wanting it!)

A Crafter's Life

It’s a Keeper!

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musings on the Schnauzer Snips page; and check out the latest updates on the Textile Adventures page. 

UPDATE

A little update to the post What’s on the Design Wall: “Log Jamming”:

Terry, the “Quilting Husband” really got into making “log jam” style free form log cabin blocks. He ended up making over 100+ 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch blocks. We set them in 10 x 10 rows to create a quilt top. Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs professionally quilted the top.

Log Jam by Terry (2015). Quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
Log Jam by Terry (2015). Quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

The plan was to list it on the tierneycreates Etsy Shop but I fell in love with it and decided – IT’S A KEEPER!  So now it is displayed on our dining room wall.

I have pieced many 6.5 inch by 6.5 inch log jam blocks myself (they are a fun and meditative way to use up fabric scraps) and I am thinking of making a Queen size (yikes) quilt with them for sale at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  First I will have to see how many I have done and then do some math (yikes, again) to figure out how many I will need (hint: 100 blocks only made a lap size quilt…).

POSTSCRIPT

I am not sure how it happened, but my previous post Because Nice Matters, was my 100th blog post! I remember when I started the tierneycreates blog in October 2013, I did not imagine getting to my 100th post (I was just happy to be at 5 posts!). It has been so fun so far connecting with other bloggers and I so appreciate my readers and followers! 

Quality of Life, Studio

Invite Creativity In by Kicking Clutter Out!

I have been working for a while on downsizing my stuff and reducing clutter in my life (see recent post The Space in Which We Live).

As part of this process I have been working through my craft magazine collection (as a prequel to some day conquering my craft book collection – see post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!?!).

Since 2008 I have been reading and collecting Interweaves’s Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine (who’s tagline is “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space).

In order to let go a a magazine, I feel like I have to read it again or at least skim it and see if there is anything interesting in the issue that I want to reference or stick in the back of my mind. So I stacked all my old issues of Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine and started going through them.

IMG_2625

I came across this great article in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue by Lesley Riley: “Clutter Out Creativity In: 10 Steps to a More Artful Studio”, and I wanted to share a listing of her steps to deal with studio clutter. I think they are fairly self-explanatory but I have added a couple comments based on the article or my own experience.

  1. Hoarding is a primitive instinct (but having a more limited selection may force you to be more creative!)
  2. Know thyself (think about what colors and fabrics you now enjoy working with and consider ditching the rest)
  3. Treat your stash like your clothes (in your closet if you have not worn something in a long time or it no longer fits you, maybe it is time to get rid of it – the same applies to using fabric)
  4. It’s not “all or nothing” (you don’t have to get rid of things all at once, you can whittle it down over time)
  5. Take your time (relax and find time to slow sort your stash)
  6. Share your favorites (shared a little of your favorite fabrics with others)
  7. Spread the wealth (I personally enjoy donating fabric I no longer need to the local Humane Society Thrift Shop as I know it can be a treasure to a fellow crafter who stumbles upon it and the proceeds help support the animal shelter)
  8. Create coordinated bundles
  9. The artist, not the fabric, makes the art
  10. You control the fabric (it does not control you!)

After I finishing letting go of my already read (twice) Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine, I can’t promise I will never buy an issue again. This is truly a wonderful magazine with glimpses into artists’ studios and their inspiration.

Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Studio

The Fabric Purge!

Before I talk about my FABRIC PURGE, I wanted to give a little follow up on my Addicted to Audiobooks post:

I had mentioned in the post that one of the disadvantages of free audiobooks from your local library is a short loan period (14 days for example). Recently I discovered that my library allows up to a 21 day audiobook loan period but you have to set up your account that way! I guess when I first set up my digital book account with my library originally I accidentally selected the 14 day hold as my default. I wish I knew this earlier as recently I was in the middle of enjoying Beyond Willpower by Alexander Loyd and my loan expired! The audiobook has other library patron holds on it so I have to wait patiently until my turn comes around again. Ultimately it is my fault for alternating between three audiobooks at once time – 21 day loans will make it even easier (maybe I can alternate between four or five audiobooks…just kidding!)

FABRIC PURGE!

Sometimes you have to let go of clutter to make space for your creativity. I had collected an unwieldy amount of fabric in my 15+ years of being a quilter. My fabric collection (aka “Stash”) includes purchased new fabric, purchased (from thrift shops and garage sales) used fabric, recycled fabrics (old jeans, manufacturing remnants), and fabric given to my by quilting friends.  When I say “fabric” I mean anything from a 1/4 yard to several yards of fabric, not scraps. We won’t talk about my scrap collection at this point…

I had organized all my quilting cotton, non flannel fabrics either by color, by type (Batiks) or by collection in an old IKEA bookcase cabinet. This cabinet was REALLY STUFFED. It was so stuffed that I could not find smaller pieces that have somehow “melted” into the larger pieces. It was time to reevaluate what I really loved and needed in my collection and to let go of that which I do not really love or really need. I had taken Monday and Tuesday off from work for a little “staycation” so I had no excuse not to begin the PURGE!

The purge was kind of painful and tedious. I do not want to discourage anyone from evaluating their clutter and purging, I just want to be honest. I removed all the fabric from the bookcase cabinet and it transformed into a scary mess on the floor. In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure – I did at one point sit on the floor crying and exclaim: “Why do I have this much fabric? I do not need all this!” I had to keep self-coaching to get through the project, reminding myself how wonderful it will be to quickly find the fabric I am looking for and to get rid of what I will never use.

It took two days of sorting through fabric and refolding fabric to complete the project (by the way, I did take many breaks of course and did other things on my “staycation”). I found on Pinterest this wonderful link to instructions on how to uniformly fold your fabric using a ruler so that your fabric will stack easily together: How to Tuesday: Ruler Folding  (from a lovely blog – Create Kids Couture). I organized most of the fabric by color (this time I integrated the Batiks) and some by special collection (one shelf). I purged a giant bag of fabric to give my local quilting friends (oh no I am just adding to their stash so they have to purge someday!)

The fabric purge was worth it, despite some brief emotional distress. I feel like I have made room for my creativity by eliminating clutter!

BEFORE THE PURGE

IMG_0324.2015-04-26_195115

AFTER THE PURGE

IMG_0328.2015-04-27_194415