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A lucky day

Last week – I went into the LQS because I needed more ‘white’ fabric. Having not brought a swatch with me – I bought 2 different whites because I couldn’t remember if it was a moda or a kona – and I still don’t know because solids don’t have selvedges!

While I was there – a overheard this sentence ‘I will put it up on craigslist’….

My head immediately whips around and asks the owner -‘huh? what? something on craigslist from the LQS?’

She had just replaced her cabinetry! Lucky Day! I asked to see the old stuff and it was out back under a tarp and I said ‘I’ll take it! How much would you like for it?’ She said, if you just take it away, it’s yours!

And so yesterday – I had it picked up and delivered by Earl from ‘Early delivery’ (cute, no?) and you may be thinking that it went in the studio – but nope!  I needed it for the family room! Yeah!!!

Somewhere to keep the kids crap! I mean, toys. No I don’t, I really meant crap.

Isn’t it perfect there? It needs a little lovin’ but wow – I am so pleased with it!!!

See the blue sofa off to the right? That was in that little alcove before the delivery.

Am I wrong to be proud that this is all I found underneath it?

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The evolution of my stash… and how I organize it

When I first started quilting, I was not a new hobbyist. I had already been through another major craft cycle – scrap-booking – and all that is entails. That means I thought about scrap-booking, I shopped for it, I attended classes, and conferences and accumulated a stash like you wouldn’t believe.

I remember sitting at a common table, eating lunch, during a ‘sewing expo’ in San Mateo, CA, and having a nice lady ask me if I had a big fabric stash.

My response went something like this:

“Oh no, I only buy fabric for a particular project.  I have enough stuff from scrap-booking and I have learned my lesson – don’t buy unless you know what you are using it for!’

I know at least a half dozen people spitting coffee out of their nose right now because that is not exactly what happened…

It started quite innocently. I would buy several charm packs and think ‘such a good price, and they are small‘. Or the Fat Quarter sale at the LQS ‘ these are pretty small, too….’

And so to organize it in an already bulging craft room.

I had (and still have, because they are fantastic boxes) clear 12*12 boxes from the scrapbook store that I stored the fabric in by color and they fit neatly on some shelves. Need pink? Grab the pink box. {note: I will find out where to get the boxes if anyone requests!)

Need Black? Blue? Wow 2 boxes of browns!

Then I heard about Japanese Fabric. The adorable, cute (but not cutesy), and even nostalgic fabric that I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT. (I am currently resisting the urge to see if sonatine is still an ebay seller – so I will not provide a link – and if they are – I don’t need to know!)

So we need an additional organization system because they simply could not be ‘mixed in with the colors!’ and I had to SEE THEM. (this need of seeing will continue as the stash evolves…)

I heard about (read about) these fabulous mini bolts that you wrap your fabric around. Awesome! The answer!

And so I wrapped. I wrapped the Japanese Fabric. And the Denyse Schmidt Fabric. And the Joel Dewberry. And the Heather Bailey. And the Amy Butler.

I added the cutest little hang tags with each collection and designer labelled on them! So cute!

Do you see what is happening here? I already know designers names. And the names of their collections. I am in big trouble now. Well on my way to the stash.

Now I do like the idea of wrapping fabric (I really do) but the problem with this idea is that I always need the fabric IN THE MIDDLE of the mini bolt. I would have to unwrap the whole thing – pull out the fabric I needed. Re-wrap it. And then open it up again to put the fabric away.

When I was disciplined and cleaned up after myself – it was just time-consuming. When I was not disciplined – it was a mess – fast!

Then we moved!

Bye Bye tiny craft room in the Bay – Hello Studio in Ohio!

By now – you can see that I am no longer pretending that I do not stash fabric.  I am a certified stasher and I have some fuglies to prove it!

It a long time to get from this pile of fabric

To this.

I used a lot of kitchen ware to add extra shelving for the precisely folded, glorious piles a reds, blues, yellow, greens (who knew I had so many greens?), and all of their color-wheel friends.

I had smaller pieces, just as precisely folded, tucked inside drawers absconded from Ikea organizing bits and bobs.

I used the ‘tried and true’ ruler-folding method for all of this fabric. But with a twist. Instead of using just the 6.5″ width of the ruler, I made plastic templates for the smaller sizes, such as these drawers, so that everything would be uniform.

Not sure what the ruler method is? I have a tutorial post on it. {edited to add – the link works now}

And then…

We moved again. Bye Bye custom built studio in Ohio and hello 800 square foot basement in North Carolina.

I have a whole slew of the ‘before’ pictures if you care to see them.

And now the available storage has changed again.

I no longer have built ins. I have pre-fab shelves from ‘insert big box x’ store.

{{side note: the built-ins in Ohio, while custom built – were not the right size. I had them built thinking about the 12*12 inch clear boxes that I had been using in the Bay. That is – 12 inches deep and 25 inches wide – and tall enough to fit 5 boxes….

I didn’t think about how I would store the fabric ‘currently’ which is always a consideration. }}

Pre-fab shelves can be hacked, though. I will show you how I added many more shelves than came with the unit in a future post.

But now – instead of using a ruler, a template, and a lot of time spent getting it smooth, and fitting it to the ‘T’ – I am using the comic book board method instead.

Of course, I still have the lovely Japanese fabrics set aside.

And the solids, as seen above.

But mostly I am sorting my color. It’s how my mind works. I realized long ago that I don’t always want to use a collection all together. I am digging the color matching or mis-matching, if you will between designers, collections, and even manufacturers.

Lest you think I am all finished with the comic book board re-fold empire – take note of the pile below. This is a spit in the proverbial stash.

I have already used 1,800 comic book boards at the time this post is written.

I wonder how many I will need!

I will link you to the original post where I learned of this myself as well as a few other crafters that have taken the plunge!

Smashed Peas and Carrots

The Ornament Girl

Feathered Fibers

That Girl That Quilt.

But I will be back with the details on my latest organizing fabric frenzy. I have been working with what is already folded and so I have a little insight into the ‘working’ side of the organizing equation. I mean, pretty and organized is great, but can it stay that way if you actually sew?

I will also be back on what to do with the scraps…. This picture below is a bit anal,  even for me!

And so I say ‘go forth and fold’.

Get your fabric out where you can see it, if that’s possible. I will add that my shelves are on the far back wall of the room – as far from direct sunlight as possible.

And the boards are acid-free and archival so they won’t eat my fabric. (heaven forbid!).

You can find comic book boards on Amazon – but I highly recommend googling your own town for comic book stores. The prices are much better!

But everybody is doing it…

It seems that a lot of the blogs I follow/adore/need are doing a little look back/look ahead type of post this time of year.

I wondered – should I post something like that? What would I say? It’s been so long – would you even care? But then I thought (and no offense) that I really don’t care if you care – because I care and this is my blog. so there!

Looking back at 2011 is pretty easy, actually. Because one word (well, 2 is you want to get technical) sums it UP pretty well. Yes, you know where I am going with this one.

SeamedUP swallowed 2011.

Oh I was happy to feed it, of course.

What a wonderfully fun little project. And by little I mean all encompassing, huge, and over the top in terms of brain power required.

And by fun I mean awesome, life changing, and addictive.

Working with Brye has been a treasure and treat. She is fun, funny, seriously talented, and so smart she makes my brain hurt. She is also matter of fact, to the point, and on task.

Thank goodness because while I would like to think I possess some of those necessary traits, let’s fact it, I am much more of an ‘idea girl’ than a follow-through girl. SeamedUP is teaching me to be both though, and that is definitely life changing!

But enough about that.

2011 also included these little people who keep a me on my toes and my house a mess. (I figure I can use them as the excuse for a less than pristine home for at least another 20 or so years…)

Just a regular day

Max is so wonderfully child-like.

He still giggles at the most silly things like when I say ‘momma love Maxie yeah yeah yeah’ or when we play the ‘blech you’re kissing me’ game.

This year has seen him learn to jump with 2 feet, throw a ball ‘forwards’, ride a bike, and push HIMSELF on a swing (can we get a hallelujah?).

He talks to himself all the time. I love to listen to his conversations. He makes jokes to himself, and then laughs at them! It is also the only time he doesn’t stutter.  Oh how freeing that must be for him.

For him I wish that 2012 brings him the ability to write his name (which he desperately wants to do), more fluent speech because I know he has so much to say, and the ability to build real friendships. It’s hard being Max. and also so terrifically easy. No real worries for him. child-like, right?

Totally talking to himself!

And Sarah.

Oy.

Sarah is a little girl through and through.

She wants everything and she wants it now. But then she doesn’t. She laughs until she decides it is time to cry (for real) and then she says things like ‘I’m not looking at you anymore!’ Gotta love her!

She is also the most cuddly little kid in the whole world – I wrap her warm little body into mine and feel genuine peace. And then she says ‘I always wanted a momma like you…’ and all of the5 year old drama is forgotten.

She is a wonderfully talented artist. Seriously. She stays IN THE LINES! She can write her name, all of our names, the names of her friends, and random words like ‘princess, love, and cute-pie’.

She writes!

She constantly asks how to spell words, does her best to READ new ones, and is serious when it comes to homework

{pre-school homework which is so stinkin’ cute and frustrating at the same time because they are twins and have the same homework and one struggles so much and then throws a major fit and the other one wants me to ‘watch her get it right!’ so homework has become a divide and conquer affair and they are only FIVE how many more years of this??}

Sarah does not like to stay in bed at night. She will come back downstairs at least 10 times. And who can argue when it’s because ‘she just wants a little more love?’ She plays me people, she really does!

For Sarah I wish that 2012 helps her bring those terrifically volatile emotions a little more under her OWN control. Oh, yes, I know that fits of frenzied ‘what the???’ will only continue and grow right up through her teenage years – but I wish that SHE can understand them. I also wish that the quest for knowledge continues to flourish and that she sits on my lap at the sewing machine. (ok fine, the last wish is more for me than for her…)

2012 also brought a new little person into my life! Baby Jack.

My sister’s little boy who is so delicious and almost a year old! I must finish his baby gift before he turns one because I am a seriously bad quilting aunt and did I mention that SeamedUP swallowed 2011???

Now that I have started writing this post – it is kind of hard to stop – but I will.

FOR NOW.

ONTO 2012 NEWS…..

I have a little plan for 2012 that includes making this total disaster area of studio

into something a little more like this…

Source: scrapbook.com via Allison on Pinterest

Won’t you join me?

The 2012 Studi-O-rganization CHALLENGE is on like donkey-kong to the break of dawn my friends!

Grab a button and hop on the studi-o-rganzation band wagon.

<a href=https://withinaquarterinch.wordpress.com/studi-o-rganization><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-pRk0AHoX56A/Tv4kFt9wmnI/AAAAAAAAAQI/buZLyJDL2T8/s240/studio1.JPG” width=”200″ height=”175″ alt=”studi-o-rganization” /></a>

(thanks to my newest partner Jenny for fixing the ‘grad a button’ code for me!!)

Details to follow – but aren’t you totally digging the New Year tradition of organizing? I know I am!

There will be specific homework tasks, (like inventory, another new year tradition, let’s not forget that I am an accountant after all!), and fun projects (windows need curtains, right), and of course, a ton of ideas for keeping all of your delightful delights where YOU need them!

{and my wish for me??? let’s wait and see!}

How to make cute shelves …

So I had a little ‘dry wall stuff?’ leftover from the reno last year and some cute fabric and a couple of shelf brackets and of course, the requisite need for some new shelves…

Step 1:

wrap fabric tightly around yucky bit of ‘dry wall suff’ and use you staple gun.

Step 2: Use some gel medium to glue fabric bits (scraps, it you will) to hide those unsightly staples.

Step3: fear not – because it will dry clear.

Step 4: Hang as desired. (kind of like Quilt as desired).  I did it myself with my own power drill and wall plugs and screws and even managed to find the studs in the wall.  Only the middle shelf is a little, um, let’s say, rickety.Yes, it’s the one with a chair on it.

Come in for my close up, please.

Does isn’t look just SO cute!! Well, I thought so, so I took some pictures – and I realized what a colossal waste of space this delicious display was and ended up doing this:

Still cute(ish) but those Neutrals had to go somewhere!

Studio Shots!

OK – not the best pictures; but the best I’ve got for now…I have finally folded all of my fabric in the same way – making for a colorful and fun display.  Very pleasing to my eye. I prefer to sort by color and not by style or line or manufacturer because that is the way I quilt – mixing old and new, cotton and linen.. There is one more shelf above and below than are shown in this view. They have the plastic boxes filled with BOM’S! Oh, and I have hung that clock on the wall.

You can see the method I used to fold the fabrics over here.

The fabric wall - folded and delightful!

The fabric wall - folded and delightful!

This is a view from the corner of my room (where design wall meets fabric display). The large table is a hollow wooden door covered with cheapo muslin and supported by custom built shelving. (not shown) The white box on the table is a ‘trash diving’ find that I painted up and use to keep some notions at hand. I have so many notions, that I can’t possible keep them all at hand!  The chest of drawers (below the rulers) has many more notions like templates, (you know how I love my Marti Michelle!) as well as more pins, button makers, and doo-dads.

The rulers (oh – my lovely rulers) are being displayed in an office mail rack (cascading) as well as a traditional wooden ruler rack, or two.

My computer desk is below the window and is a mess as is the rest of the room!

View from the design wall towards the window

View from the design wall towards the window

In this picture get a better sense of the space.  (which is really only about half of the space, if you can believe it!).  The muslin that I stapled to the ceiling has yet to be completed, it’s get hard around the lights! You can see (barely) the little shelf I made for my iron on the right side of the design wall. Lots of plugs abound in this room – yet I still manage to blow the breakers…

View from the window towards the design wall

View from the window towards the design wall

And finally – (for today) – the completed top of the Fraktur Quilt… Thankfully, after all of the applique, cutting, piecing, sewing, ripping, sewing, ripping, sewing again, ripping again! and sewing again, I am still in love with it!

The finished (top only) Fraktur on the design wall...

The finished (top only) Fraktur on the design wall...

I promise many more shots of the studio to come (sooner rather than later) as well as more detailed pictures.

FABRIC FOLDING PHOTOS AND TUTORIAL – AT LONG, LONG LAST…

Oh my – I am SUCH a bad hostess, making you wait this long just to see a gal fold some fabric…

Gee Whiz – just when you think you have it straight. I linked to this post recently and it was pointed out to me that photos have up and gone! Imagine!

I am re-doing the old post because that is just not right.

Folding Fabric with Rulers:

I chose to fold my fabrics with varying rulers widths so that the size of the pile would indicate the size of each fabric.

Here we go. This is an example with a Fat Quarter.

Lay out your fabric with the selvedge along one side (the left, in this case) and fold in half, selvedge to selvedge.

Place your ruler across your blurry (sorry about these pictures!) fabric as shown below.

Start rolling up your fabric. I like to do a little bit to start so I can grasp it and roll it at the same time in order to keep it taut.

OK – all rolled up – nice and tight. It’s worth mentioning that I have the edge of fabric on the bottom of the roll AND that the edge is towards the back of it.

This way – when it is on the shelf – I have a ‘finished side’ to thumb through. You can also remove them a lot easier if they don’t unfold as you take them out.

Remove the ruler.

By sliding it out the side.

Here you can see which rulers were used for the different sizes in my stash.

4 inch = 1/8 yard or less

6 inch = fat quarter

8 inch = 1/2 yard

9.5 inch = yard or more

This way – I know how much I have just by the size of the folded stack.

And here they are – sitting in the shelf! Pretty edges. I can see everything – and removal is pretty easy!

Do you use a ruler to fold your fabric? How do you like it?

The make do can do garage set up….

Sorry for the blurry photos, but sometimes I just grab my cel phone instead of the camera, and well, this is what I get…

Oh and can I say it’s HOT and HUMID in here??  And that’s because it’s really ‘out there’ where there is no A/C.  At least there are windows, and of course, the garage door I can open!

So this is the temp cutting, pressing and sewing stations.

sewing and cutting
 cutting and pressing - oooohhh - is that a brooklyn revolver I see??

Sewing, and if the mood strikes, biking!

And because of the less than ideal conditions, I don’t want much fabric to be in here.  So I decided it’s a perfect time to start on one of the MANY kits I have. I have always loved this one, and I’m glad I have a chance to work on it.

The Sonnet Quilt kit - before!