April is Spring Cleaning Month!

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We at Quilter’s Compass have a problem. We’re sure many of you have the same problem. It’s confession time.

We love scraps. It is impossible for us to throw anything away because we might use it someday!

Much like your craft or sewing room at home, our classroom/workroom is full of leftovers and scraps from store samples. Our shop operates much in the same way your personal sewing room does. The biggest difference is that everything we make goes on display in our shop and eventually gets retired and sold to clients. This means we have leftover fabric and batting. We have patterns and books that we’ve pulled from the shelves and marked for store use.

What it really means is that we need to get organized.

We got a new book in a month or so ago called Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter by Carolyn Woods. For a variety of reasons, we’ve decided that we need to dedicate the month of April to spring cleaning and organizing our classroom to make it more functional. With the economy still on the mend, we’ve heard just about every quilter who walks into our shop say “I’m working from my stash.” Good! We’re happy to hear that even though times are tough for a lot of folks right now, you’re still quilting. Maybe there isn’t as much money to spend on quilting as you wish there was, but the fact that you’re finishing projects you have in your closet (have you heard of our Finishers Club?) or starting new projects using fabric from your stash means you still get to sew and be creative!

Let us help you continue to sew and create through the recovering economy. Through the month of April, we will be holding a variety of classes geared toward stash-busting and using scraps. We’re still working on the schedule, but we will have classes for everything from small projects like purses and pin cushions all the way up to large quilts and everything in-between, including tablerunners and baby quilts.

We will also be blogging about our experiences of getting organized. We’re starting now so we can have samples ready for the classes in April, but you can do these things whenever you get time.

So let’s get to organizing!

Organizing Scraps & Left-Over Fabric

We’ve been following the suggestions inOrganizing Solutions for Every Quilter by Carolyn Woods to help guide us to a neat and tidy workroom. Today we’re just going to talk about the first chapter of the book where Carolyn really has you evaluate your space, what you like about it, what needs to change in it, and what it is that is causing the clutter.

Per Carolyn’s instructions, we made a few short lists. One list is of the characteristics of our space that we like: lots of open space, easy to clean wood flooring, ample lighting, lots of wall space, and plenty of outlets. Another list was of room characteristics to change: not enough shelving, not enough project storage.

These two lists were supposed to focus on fixed things in the room. Lucky for us, our landlord customized the space to suit our needs when he was remodeling the building, so we don’t really have a whole lot to complain about.

Next, we made our list of “organizational changes”. In other words, things that we need to organize and find permanent homes for. We came up with: sort scraps by color & size, find storage solution for store samples in-the-works, find storage solution for books & patterns, hang our thread rack, oranize notions & tools.

These are things we’re going to work on over time, but we wanted to start with the fabric.

Our scraps, pre-sort

First, we took all of our scraps that we have accumulated from store samples and dragged them out of their hiding place in the bottom of our storage cabinet. We created a staging area where we piled the scraps on the table (and floor… oops!) and came up with a hodge-podge of containers so we could do the actual sorting.

Staging area
Assortment of containers for sorting fabric

We decided to sort the fabric into the following: reds & pinks, oranges, yellows & golds, greens, blues, purples, blacks & greys, whites & lights, browns & tans, “prints” (in other words, it doesn’t have a predominant color, or it does, but it’s a rather specific pattern – seasonal, childrens, etc), flannels, and left-over blocks (everybody has some extra blocks from projects, right?)

Making progress! Nothing on the floor now!
Making progress - scraps are finding their new homes!

Eventually, all of the scraps got sorted and then combined (but still separate!) to save space in the classroom until we get a chance to find a more permanent storage solution for our scraps.

Here, the scraps are re-combined, yet kept separate, to save space until we get a more permanent home for them.
Reds/Pinks, Oranges, Yellows/Golds, and Greens!

We hope you find some inspiration in this post to get organized yourself. Leave us a comment about the areas of your sewing room you want to focus on regarding organization. Or, if you’re already an organization pro, let us in on your secrets!

To keep the juices flowing, here are some sneak peaks at one of the projects we’ll be offering as a class in April. The pattern calls for 1 red fabric and 1 white fabric, but we went through our stash and made it scrappy! Barb is longarming it now, so we’ll post more when it’s finished, but this will be perfect for summer!

Watermelon tablerunner
Watermelon tablerunner awaiting longarm quilting!

Carolyn gives more than a few suggestions on organization and storage. We’re not going to rehash her entire book, but rather show you the process we are going through as we use the book as a guide. We suggest that if you’re serious about getting organized and creating an efficient workspace, you pick up her book and get to work! There is a lot of information and we’re enjoying it as we go through this process.

Stay tuned as we continue to organize and create projects using our store stash. We’ll be releasing our April class schedule soon, so keep an eye out for that, too!

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