Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fabric Management Moves Outdoors

Hello!  It has been a fabulous spring day in Nebraska. The kind where I find myself itching to get outside. Luckily, this did not slow down my fabric management! Behind our house we have a shed. Most people keep gardening supplies, etc in their sheds. Ours happens to include bins of fabric. FIVE to be exact. So today, I tidied up the shed. Threw out broken pots, etc. Hung items vertically. Then pulled out those five bins. I hope to go through one bin each day next week and decide what to do with the fabric. So, because I was busy as a turtle all day, I didn't get any pictures taken. To make up for it,  I will just insert a few random quilt pictures to break up all those fidgety words.

When I sort through the bins of  fabric, my thought processes fall along these lines:

1)  Oooo....I still love it! Keep it!!  Those pieces will be folded up the way I described in Filing 101.
This quilt was a "I love it! Must have it!"

2)  It's really nice fabric, but I don't know if I will really use it. For example, I found several nice pieces of children's flannel. Those pieces I will be donating to my quilt guild. My guild is a quilt mission and makes quilts to give to sick and needy groups, including Linus Quilts. The guild puts out a lot of quilts every year for a small group , so I know the fabric will be put to good use.
A Close Up of My Quilt Find Of The Year

3) Umm...not so sure about this fabric. I will put this fabric in the garage sale I am having next month. Some other quilter may find it to be just what he/she is looking for to finish their quilt! I have been known to keep a small bit of this fabric...just in case...
Is that price right? $6.99? Yup...from Goodwill. 


4) UGH! What was I thinking? This is that thin, scratchy, starchy fabric we have all been suckered into buying on sale tables. Convinced that once it is washed it will somehow magically turn into soft, luxurious quilt fabric. I no longer fall for those matter how cute the print is or how cheap the price is. NOT WORTH IT!!  This alleged "fabric" I will cut into strips and add to the animal bed filling that my guild makes.

Do you have similar categories? Am I missing one?

The Cluttered Quilter who has been Busy As A Turtle

PS: Tomorrow I will share the WHOLE story of my Quilt of a Lifetime buy from Goodwill. It is an AMAZING story.

Until then, Elvis has left the sewing room.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April Showers Bring May Quilts?

My rainy, puddly back yard...with it's pond-in-progress
A quilter can only spend so much time organzing his/her stash...eventually it needs to be used. This week, the grey cloudy rainy days motivated me to take time from organzing and get to using!  Part of that motivation came from these blogs. The Q and The U , I'm A Ginger Monkey, and  Thomas Knauers Sews. I decided to respond to Thomas's plea for help and send him some 2 1/2 inch squares. And, since he wants all the squares in his "Vomit Quilt" to be different, I thought "hey, I have 20 years of different!!".  After emailing him, he assured me to go ahead and send them. So, I have been  cutting squares of my '90's fabric and some other playful novelties.

My Stack of Wild and Crazy Fabric for Thomas

Hmm...doesn't look like much once chopped into a 2.5" square!
 I have cut the remainder into strips to make the Random Rail  Fence block described in The Q and The U's tutorial.

The seeds to a Mighty Random Rail Fence quilt!

 Oh...and then the scraps which are too narrow for the Rail Fence? Why, they went into a pile to make string quilts like my big sister, Karen over at Hazel Dell Quilts. Check out her tutorial.

Future String Quilt Strips....patiently waiting their turn

Wait...what to do with those teeny weeny bits of strips too small even for a string quilt? I put it in a bag and use it to stuff pillows for pet beds! I bring the bag to my quilt guild, Quilts from The Bluffs, and add it to the scraps already there. No WASTE!! 

These beds, stuffed with fabric love,  will be donated to local humane societies for homeless animals.

But, those are not the only blogs I have been hanging around. I was at Eat Sleep Quilt and discovered that Linda is having a greaqt give away this weekend. Go...check her out. But even better is her tutorial on how she makes "crummy" or "crumby" backgrounds.  A GREAT way to use scraps and add great depth and texture to backgrounds on quilts. I really like her quilts and her tutorial. I must admit...I love her pig quilt. My Mother collected pigs...figurines, etc and so I have a soft spot for a cute piggie!!

Time for me to get back to stripping! My teenage sons hate it when I say that...but it's so fun to embarass them...and it's such an innocent activity in the quilt world!!

Happy Quilt Days are ahead...I just know it!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all my friends attempting to tame their clutter and/or just cheering me on in my efforts to tame my mountain of stash and quilt clutter. Easter is a time of renewal. And a time when I am taking a deep breath and attempting to renew my efforts to  have a REAL sewing space that is fun and organized.

 A place I can express my creativity. My creativity has been bustin' to get out...but has been stifled by all the stuff and disorganization.

I just have to remember the words of the Little Engine that Could:

Happy Uncluttering to You!

PS:  And I have to try to squash this fear:

Friday, April 22, 2011

On Pins and Needles and Other Prickly Subjects

As promised in my last blog...the method I used to keep my fabric files together. Yippee Skippee!!

After flipping and folding and flipping and folding, it is time to hold the fabric end together. I started by using my rust free safety basting pins. I soon ran out. I liked the idea of Pinmoor.

 However, when I have checked them out at internet sites, they exceeded my budget. They run about $22.00 for a packet of 50. I am not exactly sure what they are made of...but they look like a small piece of pliable plastic.

The other day, I was at the drug store buying ear plugs for my oldest son...and had a light bulb moment.  The ear plugs looked like the pictures I had seen of  Pinmoors. And considerably less expensive. I bought a packet of Walgreens brand ear plugs and they worked great! I have since bought a "large economy size"  of ear plugs from Walmart. 40 pair (80 plugs) for $7.99

.And they work great!! I do wonder what the cashier thought about  buying 80 pair of ear plugs.  I just smiled to myself.

Have you come up with inexpensive substitutions? I would love to know! My sister, Karen, at Hazel Dell Quilts uses old dryer sheets as foundations when making her string blocks. Check them out!

Happy Decluttering!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fabric Filing 101

Hello!  The Cluttered Quilter has actually been working on her sewing room. Yeah! I am an avid reader of quilt blogs. And along the way I have stored multiple ideas and they have merged in my brain and now are making their way into my sewing storage space. 

My first idea I like to think of as Fabric Filing. I love looking at designers rooms with their stacks of fabric neatly stacked by color...but I couldn't see that working for me. Plus, I have a kitty who loves to snuggle on fabric. Then, I saw the cool idea of wrapping larger pieces (1 yard or more) onto the plastic pieces and storing them upright like fabric stores do. Then I looked at the cost of those cool little plastic...multiplied the number I would need. Okay, if I win the lottery I could afford those. Then, my wandering fingers found this really, really cool idea on a blog who I can't remember and did not put on my favorites. So, my apologies to whomever I got this idea from for not giving you proper credit. 

Step 1:  Go to your local comic book store. Purchase a comic book "Size Board."  At my store, it was $9.99 for a package containing 100 boards. 

Step 2:  Fold fabric. I usually fold it selvage to selvage, then in half again. Making the fabric about 10 inches wide by what ever length you have. 

Step 3:  Place one board onto the fabric, leaving about 3-4 inches on one side. 

Step 4:  Fold the 3-4 inch side onto the board. Then, proceed to flip the board on the fabric. Flipping and folding until you reach the end of the fabric. 

Step 5:  When you reach the end, fold the last few ends under so it is neat and tidy. 

Step 6:  Pin end to rest of folds. You may choose to use a non rusting safety pins or what I came up with.  But I will save that for tomorrow. Meanwhile: after you have multiple pieces of folded fabric, they fit neatly into a plastic storage bin. 

Taa Daa!
Right now, I am just "filing" each box by color, when I have completed my boxes, I will then re-file so all the colors are filed together. But, I've miles of fabric before I reach that point!! 

Until then--
Pieceful quilting!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Still Too Many Magazines!!

So, what is a Cluttered Quilter to do? I don't have a  Niecy Nash from Clean House to "get me to gettin'" with all my quilt magazines. I know I have waaay too many of them. But, I am having trouble thinning their ranks to a reasonable amount. I have been going through them. Any that have patterns I really like, I save the pattern. If one has many patterns, I save the whole magazine. If I don't like any patterns, etc I put it in the garage sale pile. But, the stacks of magazine is not getting much smaller.

And I will be honest. I love looking through old quilt magazines. I find it relaxing to look at my magazines. Re-read articles. Relook at patterns...maybe figure out a better way to put a pattern together than the magazine described. However, I have about 3 or 4 shelves full of magazines.

So, I am torn at how best to make my stacks smaller. I know I don't NEED all these magazines. But, I LIKE having them.

Do others have this problem? What criteria do you use to send your old magazines out into the world?
If anyone has ideas--this is one Cluttered Quilter who would like to know!!

Still Busy as a Turtle!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Fever

In springtime, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. But what of a middle aged quilting mama? It should be turning to thoughts of fabulous floral quilts--fresh and blooming. But instead, I have been hit by:

So, my decluttering has been limited to going through my old quilting magazines and determining if either I keep the entire magazine, save only the designs/pages I like or if there is nothing I want in the magazine then I put it in the garage sale pile. Unfortunately, doing this only serves to make my creative juices flow and adds to the thousands of ideas I already have crammed into my puny brain. 

Happy sewing to you!! 
Still Busy As A Turtle (just a bit snottier) 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

She's Baaaack!

Yes, I'm back!

I's been months. So much has happened, but I haven't stopped decluttering. I just got lazy and haven't been blogging.

Since I last blogged, I have now become jobless. 

I have moved all my fabric from my small sewing room into the larger room. Put up shelves in the larger room and am now going through each box and determining who deserves to stay and who must move on to another home.

In a future blog, I will show you my nifty system for "filing" my fabric. I love it!! For a visual person like me, it's WONDERFUL!!

If you go over to Hazeldell Quilts, you will see the fun little pin cushion I made for my sister, Karen. I now am eyeing all my small planter/pots. would make a really cute pincushion also!!

My decluttering, now that I am in the ranks of the unemployed, is spreading to my whole house. My middle son (AKA "Big Boy") and I decided to clean and make money and have a giant garage sale. I started on my closet last weekend. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I decluttered 16 purses!! As a disclaimer, I love purses, but I don't love spending money on them. I have discovered a few local Goodwills where I can find some lovely used...but practically new...designer bags for under $5.00.

I hope your own decluttering efforts are progressing faster than mine. My youngest son (AKA "Boy") recently coined a phrase that I have adopted as my new mantra. "Busy as a turtle."  You see, turtles are always busy, they are just really slow, so it takes them longer!"

Happy sewing,

Who is Busy As A Turtle