One of the great things about blogging is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world - people that you would otherwise never have the chance to meet. Jane isn't one of those people. From the ages of 12 to 18 I saw Jane nearly every day of my life. We were best friends at high school and while we don't see each other very often any more it's still lovely to be able to connect with her over all things creative. Thanks for visiting Jane!
Thank you so much for having me here Caroline and Maryanne, so I can talk about one of my favourite things, my fabric collection.
I have been quilting on and off for 17 years now, and it should be noted that it’s all Caroline’s fault, since she’s my high school best friend and I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find quilting if I hadn’t spent all those sleepovers tucked under one of her mother’s beautiful quilts. Her mum also took me under her wing when I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, fielding numerous phone calls that started with the words, “No, I don’t want to talk to Caroline, I have a quilting question...”
After many years of quilting, I have a sizeable fabric stash. I really do try and keep my fabric spending in check, but seriously, it’s fabric, peoples! Whilst I suppose, in theory, I could buy fabric as I needed it for a particular quilt, the reality is that’s not going to happen any time soon – and if I did it this way I probably wouldn’t be able to find what I want.
I LOVE having a big fabric stash, and I find it makes my quilting process so much easier. I don’t tend to make quilts using one particular range of fabric, I prefer to decide on a colour scheme and go from there. So when I decide I want to make a particular colour quilt, it helps that I already have quite a collection of that colour on my shelves. I might top it up with new purchases, but for the most part I don’t have to. This means I can start quilts on a whim, without having to wait for international parcel delivery or hoping I can find the right fabrics in the fairly paltry local offerings.
Since I quilt by colour, I stash by colour too. I am very fussy about my stash. I prewash and iron everything, then fold it just so. My scraps are also sorted by colour, pressed and waiting in their little boxes. (At this point, Caroline, who always laughed at my alphabetised CD collection in high school, is rolling her eyes.)
This may be a little more high maintenance than the bung-it-all-in-the-cupboard approach, but it works for me, for a few reasons. Because it’s on open shelving (not in direct light), I can see what I have at a glance. It makes it easy to pull fabrics for a new project and it serves as a reminder (sometimes) that I don’t need to buy anything. Sorting by colour is critical for me, both for when I need to pick fabrics and so I know what colours I need. For example, I could go a lifetime without buying pinks or blues, but purples, greys and yellows are in demand. So if I’m topping up an order (to make the most of flat rate postage), I’ll stash build those colours I don’t have much of.
When I’m stash building, I don’t tend to buy full ranges or busy, many-coloured prints – because my quilts tend to feature one or two colours, prints with lots of colours in them don’t work for me. But I am a sucker for blenders, big time. These useful prints are the foundation of a good stash, regardless of what you’re sewing. Spots, stripes, geometrics, squiggles, I love them all. And usually, I’ll buy every colourway in a range if I can. The simpler the print, the better it will work as a stash builder.
The advantage of stash building by colour is that you’re going to have much of what you need on hand when you start a new project. I recently started cutting a new quilt that required 100 different blue/aqua/green prints. I’m almost embarrassed to say I could do this without buying a single piece of fabric! But if I’d had to find 100 blues/aquas/greens locally, there is no way I could have done it at once and found prints I like. With fabric ranges changing so quickly, it is good to buy versatile, timeless prints when you can.
My inspiration for new quilts often starts with a fabric, and I build a colour scheme around that. The Sunshine and Shadows quilt started with a bundle of yellow/grey/black and white prints I purchased, and I built on it with more prints in the same colours from my stash, so it’s cohesive but not too matchy matchy. The Lattice Windows quilt started from the teal and lime lattice print my son took a liking too – we built the rest of his quilt around this colour scheme. The Diamonds in the Sky quilt grew from an interest in the high-contrast orange and blue colour scheme.
Whenever I’m working on a quilt, colour, and my colourful fabric stash, is my best friend.
If you’d like to hear more about my creative adventures, pop over to my little blog at http://wherejanecreates.blogspot.com.au/
When we first started blogging, I wrote this
post about my fantasy sewing space. I've also dabbled in a few organisational posts like this one
about embroidery threads and this one
about storing the little bitty - bits that are associated with sewing and craft.
Ok... true confession time. I now have my own purpose built sewing room but my potentially beautiful sewing space is a disaster!
Want to see the evidence? Here are a few snapshots from my sewing room today...
and they're just the beginning. Check out my shelves!
I want an organised space, but I really, really need your help! Please
hit me with your hints for sewing room organisation. I really want to reclaim my space!
How do you store your
- Big pieces of fabric?
- Little scrappy pieces?
- Thread and bobbins?
- Patterns, books and magazines?
- Bits and pieces?
I'm looking forward to hearing from you - bring on the organisation tips!
Well, I have now had a taste of what it is to be blog famous! It was fantastic to get such a wonderful response to our giveaway. It was even better to get all that amazing organisation advice
. Now, if I could only fly like the flylady, remember the milk like that app, and have married a tidier husband I would be right!The comments
on our giveaway post are an amazing resource for anyone trying to get their act together. I am planning to collate them into a useful post but you may just have to wait for me to get a bit more organised! (What I really mean is - in the New Year when I have caught up on some sleep after the pre-Christmas sewing and cooking frenzy.)I want to share a few comments that made me laugh.Kathy told us:"
I play "Super McCleaning" with my 5 year old (he made up the game)... he changes his name to Max and I'm Roberta and we have a grand time cleaning together."I can see then racing around the house in extra clean capes, whipping up a cleaning frenzy
.Meghan suggested I marry someone who is organised. Well, anyone who knows him, is aware that organisation is not one of Rob's strengths, but there is too much else I like about him to trade him in.Cate was concerned that I might think she was a little crazy with this advice
I continually talk to myself, telling myself to do it properly, put it in it's right spot, pick it up now- not later" Interestingly, this is one piece of advice I have already put into action and it seems to be working. So Cate, if you are bonkers, so am I.Reassuringly I am not alone
- it seems lots of people struggle with organisation. Check back in 2012 for that summary post.And so to the winner. I was thrilled to find that
random.org chose this comment from Kim T
"Oooh, so sorry, organization is not my forte! You'd think it would being a homeschooling mama to 5 littles, but no. In reality, it's discipline I need, not organization. Discipline being doing that which needs to be done, yet no one wants to do it. :)"As I read through all the comments as they arrived, this is the one that stood out to me. I know all the apps, websites, storage tips, calenders, lists and books that you have encouraged me to try
are going to be really helpful, but ultimately I just have to do it.
Thanks Kim T for the reality check! I am not sure when you are going to find the time to sew a dress when you home school 5 little ones, but I hope you enjoy it when you do.Well, so much for all the words! It's been ages since I have shared a picture of my 3 little ones - so here they are:
Come on, it's time to confess. Do your embroidery threads look like this?
Well, with the addition of this...
They can look like this!
The idea of me writing about sewing room organisation is hilarious. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am the most disorganised person ever. I know a lot of people say this about themselves, but it's really true about me. No really, it is.
My sewing room has finally come to fruition - it's gorgeous and light and sunny (and there will lots of pictures to come, I'm sure). It has lots of built in shelving, perfect for the big stuff- fabric, wool, pieces of felt, patterns and books.
It's the little things that do my head in, though, and sewing certainly has a lot of bits and pieces associated with it! Sewing machine needles and hand sewing needles, safety pins, bobbins, straight pins, bodkins, bits of bias and ric rac, sewing machine feet, buttons - the list goes on and on.
Take a look at the contents of my 'bits and pieces' box....
There had to be a better system!
Searching in the spare room (Lizzy calls it the 'messy room' for obvious reasons!) for Martin's shoes, I came across 24 metal tins that were the perfect size for all my tiny sewing bits. I spent the afternoon sorting and loved the fact that all of my things were neat and organised. But then, how to organise the tins?
I found my solution at Ikea. (is there anything you can't find at Ikea?) A magnetic metal board and some tiny magnets. Add some spray glue and some grey spotted fabric from my stash...
and voila - a magnetic bits and pieces wall storage solution!
I love it and it's inspired me to keep the whole sewing room under control. Does anyone have any tips and hints for a girl who needs a bit of organisation remediation?