Wednesday, January 21, 2015

15 Minute Studio Spiff Up Week #3

I've been hearing from folks making some progress on their studio space.  How did you do with the cutting table?  I'm happy to see I left it cleaned up when we went to the beach last week.  Hum, did it stay clean today after I was using it in the afternoon?  I'll have to check that when I head back up there. 

Because we were gone most of the week I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next on the studio.  It had to be something I could get done in a short time because I was going to have to do all of it yesterday and I wanted to do some sewing too.  

So here's what I worked on and your assignment for the week:  

Straighten up that fat quarter collection. 

I am lucky to have a whole hallway of bookshelves as I come into my studio. On top of my bookcases I have boxes and baskets full of fat quarters.  I tend to pull fabric from there if I am making opportunity blocks or blocks for the FCQ Equilter gang or other limited blocks.  It means I don't have to mess up the yardage nor take a small hunk out of the yardage. (Ha!  That doesn't mean I don't do that on occasion.) But, I've also been acquiring fat quarters over the last year as well as using it.  Fat quarters were on the top of the boxes and in a pile on the side of the basket.  Some colors had been put away in the wrong place.  They were a mess. 

I started with the purple because it was one of the worst.  I don't have all that many purple pieces.  I actually took the time to put the dark purples together, lights with other lights and the magentas together.  I had a new basket that a Christmas present came in so I moved the purples into it.  Here it is all cleaned up and put in the smaller basket. 

Although I call these fat quarters some are bigger pieces and most have pieces cut out of them.  But, I do have a specific way I fold them, even if they are a bit like swiss cheese.  Here's a whole fat quarter. (I didn't iron it flat before refolding... I was on a mission to get this done!) 

I've folded the cut edge back to the selvedge edge.  (Not smart of me to turn it sideways in the first picture... but it fit the frame better that way.) 

I fold it in half again so it is long and skinny.  (Well, kind of skinny!) 

Next I fold it in half the other direction. 

And then, I fold it again which gives me a nice little sized fat quarter. I used to work at a quilt store in Maryland and I folded lots and lots of fat quarters this way.  They fit pretty well in my boxes and baskets.  

Mostly I use boxtops from cartons of reams of paper to hold the fat quarters and three rows of this size fat quarter will fit in each box.  Unfortunately, I have some fabric that I just haven't folded neatly enough and those are harder to get into the boxes and baskets. 

I didn't get all of the colors organized from light to dark but these purple and the pink/red basket sure look nice. 

I got all of my boxes neatened up and all of the loose fat quarters were put back where they belonged.  I added the basket for the purples but was able to get rid of the basket with the blacks shown in the first picture on the far right. It is in the closet while I decide whether I need to use it or let it take a break for a while. 

If you don't have a special place to store your fat quarters spend this week thinking about whether your organization of fabrics works for you.  I love being able to grab a fat quarter without plowing through my yardage.  (Of course, my yardage piles are looking pretty darn bad now cause I keep grabbing fabric thinking I'm going to make a smaller quilt ... but then have piles of fabrics all over and no quilt to show for it.)  While I was working I kept grabbing pieces of fabric I thought I could use on a little quilt I actually am making blocks for.  I decided I really only needed enough for two blocks right now and the rest got put away.  And, I did cut the two blocks and one is already sewn together. I was using them as leader/enders while sewing the borders on the Mystery of Powhatan.  

It was a lot of fun to visit old fabric friends.  I still have some red apples on blue background that I bought at least 20 years ago.  My friend Sharon teases me about still having some of it left every time she sees some.  I must have bought 5 yards because I know we made a quilt together used it as the backing plus a piece of it has been in every scrap quilt I've made over those 20 years. (Well, I think it is...)  Needless to say I was surprised to see any of it left. 

I also found this piece of calico that I think I used in a dress for Jenny when she was a toddler.  I still like the color and the design.  It's burgundy with cream and green (or is it teal?)  And, that is all I have of it left. So, it'll will be cut up for some scrap quilt one of these days. 

Let me know how you are doing with the Studio Spiff Up. How do you store your fat quarters? Does it work for you? If not do you have some ideas of what will work for you?   We'll have another area to tackle next week.  And remember, you don't have to spend a whole day straightening up a section unless you want to.  I do much better with just spiffing up for a short time each day.  Thanks for joining me. 

Happy Quilting All! 


  1. I don't have many fat quarters, as I usually purchase yardage.

    Love your Longaberger baskets - I have several in my sewing room, too.

  2. I don't really need to straighten up my fat quarters right now as they were in pretty good shape, but I did do some tidying up around the first of the year. (I'm actually trying to get my quilt room in good enough shape to blog about, so things are somewhat tidyer than normal right now.) Fat quarters do tend to get shoved back into place, though, don't they? I love all your baskets on your bookshelves. I store mine in Trofast, an Ikea toy storage bin system. I got 2 of them a year ago and love it. I got a third one for my new quilt room.

  3. I do need to straighten up my fat quarters. I have mine stored in two sets of plastic drawers. I purchased a lot of new ones last year so I had colors to play with during the Rainbow scrap challenge and need t rearrange them so they are segregated by color.

  4. Hello: I am just loving this thread. I promised myself as a New Year's resolution that I must do something to clean up my act and straighten my sewing /quilting items and supplies. I live in a condominium and have two levels. My studio is on the first floor and although adequate it is small or maybe my sewing cabinets are large. LOL I had sewing things everywhere so I started on the first floor and emptied all drawers, closets, cabinets, whatever had sewing projects hidden. Then I started sorting into UFO's, non-started projects, supplies, patterns, buttons, etc. etc. I have a lower level and one room is built in with open front cabinets and this is where the majority of my things were headed. I started New Year's night and did just an hour or so each day. I listed my UFO;s on a spread sheet and they are boxed individually and stored in a nice closet in the lower level. After everything I wanted stored in the lower level was sorted in groups and recorded on my spreadsheet, it was stored in its designated place in the lower level.
    I had located a person who advertised that she specialized in helping people organize their homes, with special treatment to people who quilt and sew. She was located two hours from me and charged $40/hr including travel time. That seemed a little steep for me so I decided to try this myself first. I currently have every room sorted thru and am on the last room in the lower level. Then I can put all the boxes, baskets, etc. into the designated storage room and mark each shelf. I forgot to mention that I am a sewing/quilting teacher so my supplies and ufo"s are voluminous but not as large as some I have read about. I intend to list all of this on my computer and make note of where it is stored so I can locate whatever in a moments notice. Wish me luck.
    I have so enjoyed this blog as it is so timely in my life. I especially like the idea this week of organizing fat quarters in the Longenberger baskets. I have several and will display them in my sewing studios. Keep the tips coming. I luv it.

  5. My fabric is in bookshelves and I have small pieces in clear shoe boxes so the FQ's aren't too bad!

  6. I don't really have a FQ collection, so I'm going to clean up an area that is bothering me. This is how it looks now.
    Check back to see how much progress I made.


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