Monday, August 20, 2012

Quilt Along With Leah Day - Week 27

Leah ran into a technical glitch this week which meant that she was unable to film and blog about her latest assignment for her followers. Instead she shared the method she uses to store her show quilts. It is very similar to the method I use to ship my quilts. The basic premise is to roll the quilt around a pool noodle. My tip is that if you are new to using pool noodles, but plan to add them to your supplies for storage and shipping, buy them during the summer. These are seasonal items. The price can triple over the winter, that is if and it is a big IF you are lucky enough to find them somewhere.

Here are few items all quilters accumulate that require organization to have them easily accessible and how I have chosen to deal with them.

Ruler Peg Board

There is nothing like a peg board purchased from a hardware store for organizing tools and rulers. Each ruler can be hang from its on "L" shaped hook. When the ruler supply grows multiple rulers of similar shapes can be hung from a single hook with the largest ruler in the back. I hang my rotary cutter and shears here when they are not in use.

My Most Frequently Used Thread Collection
Note that the caption reads my mostly frequently used thread collection. I have a second supply of threads that are predominately manufactured by Sulky and are their smallest spools. I store them in a plastic box that opens either from the front or back and has many compartments. This was I tip I picked up years ago. The box's purpose is to store matchbox cars. It works great for Sulky spools since you can load three full spools to a compartment. It is not the best system for moderate or large spools. For these I use June Tailor thread racks. Mine sit on a chest of drawers. However these racks can also be hung on the wall if you are short of horizontal space.

A Closer Look At My Active Thread Supply
I gritted my teeth and had my husband take the photographs for this blog without me being present. I didn't want to be tempted to clean up my work space. So, what you are seeing is what the studio looks like on any given day. My Bernina sits to the left and catty corner to the thread supply, facing out the window. I have a desk chair on casters as my sewing chair. Any thing on the chest of drawers is accessible just by pushing back and turning. There is a coaster for my drink, feet for the Bernina, tissues, a telephone and although I rarely use it now, my radio complete with tape and CD player.

Note how my threads are divided by type with a collection of Superior's King Tut series running across the top two rows on the left with a few interlopers. Then there is a small but serviceable collection of Bottomline thread, also by Superior. I like to sort my collections of thread by hue (color) and then value. Most of the neutral threads on the far right are the ones I use for piecing.

The Stash
I had simple shelves built into a small closet in my studio. Normally the door is closed so that my fabric stays unexposed to light. I like to arrange my fabric, just like my threads, by type and then by hue and value. The top two shelves are commercial prints in primary and secondary hues. The next shelf down contains neutrals and a few prints where black is a significant player. That blue bin has scraps of fabric left over from fusible projects as well as non cottons that have come my way. The lowest shelf contains a collection of solids I picked up very, very early in my career when Jo-Ann's had a sale. I bought half a yard of every one of their colors. Thanks to Leah, I have put this collection to good use. It features in a many a practice piece. I did invest in a bolt of muslin, that I washed and rolled back up to use as backings on future Leah assignments. Inside the clear bin and to the left of it are fabrics I have hand painted, dyed or marbled. Yes, this really is nearly my complete fabric stash. I have just two more stacks of similar height to the stacks in the closet, of black and white fabric that I store separately. This is the collection I turn to and replenish whenever I make a piece in my Shifting Value series.

Entwined is an original Gwyned Trefethen design
64" H x 48" W


  1. You should see mine on any given day! My 'next' project is to clean up the sewing room!!!! Yours is neat as a pin :)

    1. I do clean the studio between major projects. Sometimes more frequently if I run out of space on my work table or the fabric needing to be returned to the closet is spilling over.

  2. I agree with Danielle, you sewing room is wonderfully organized and amazingly neat. Mine, not so much!

    1. What can I say? I think and work best in an uncluttered environment. Even my college dorm room was nearly always picked up, the bed made and I vacuumed every Sunday. My studio has more spillage and creative chaos than other areas of my home.

  3. That is your studio on a regular day? Wow. It must be immaculate when cleaned...

    I love my thread racks. My husband made them for me to hold over 200 spools, which is shockingly close to being filled. It is so much better to have everything on hand, and not have to dig through drawers.

    1. When I first started quilting my fabric stash grew at an alarming rate, next it was supplies for painting and dying fabric, then the thread came. I've never counted my spools, but invariably I get hooked on thread preference and then need that thread in a variety of color ways. Two hundred spools seems quite reasonable to me.

      Don't you just love husbands who create just what you need for the studio?