Digging a Little Deeper

I’m still working away in my sewing room.  See this pile of picnic baskets.  They are better known as the hoarding station of all unfinished units….When I first started using picnic baskets to store things I thought it was cute.  Now it’s overwhelming.  I have eight baskets and none are labeled so I have no clue what is in any of them.  NO CLUE.

So…it’s time to give up cuteness and go for functionality and better use of my space.  I have been buying these ugly three drawer units.  I don’t love them at all but sometimes ease of use if more important than cuteness.

I tried to be better at labeling things as I sorted through the baskets.  Taking time to make notes like this will save me later.
I found things I had forgotten about like this….

I had played with these one day and sewed up four blocks….My idea was some wonky log cabins.  Hmm.  This might happen someday.  I still think it’s cute.  These I saved.
Here’s a bag of 1 1/2″ cut squares.  I have no idea what they are doing in the basket.  These moved to the 1 1/2″ scrap bin.

I opened this to find these…no wonder I’ve left these languish….who knows what’s in them and who wants to dig to find out??  Apparently, not me.

Here’s one of the boxes.  Want a good laugh?  At one point someone had gifted me some batik scraps.  I had no other batiks….not a single one.  I stored them in here thinking someday I’d get some batiks.  Bahahaha….this was from about 9 years ago.  I have batiks now…gifty friends and a wicked going out of business sale changed that!!  I’ve made three batik quilts now!!  These scraps went with my other batiks.

I ended up filling the three drawers and throwing out some stuff.  The bottom drawer is bonus triangles.  I swear this needs to be the year of the bonus triangle!!  They are overflowing badly.

The bottom drawer is all bonus triangles…the middle is odd units and the top is all 9 patch or 4 patches….I can’t part with them…that’s okay but I do have to find a way to use some then.

Several years ago I did a quilt along and we did a “From my Heart to Your Hands” quilt along…making these…

Quilt Squares #1
Then I would grab these bonus triangles and get right at the small quilts.

I loved having them for that…now, they are getting a little overwhelming.

In the mess I did find six quilt blocks that I started with bonus triangles…Hmmm…they’d make an awesome quilt.  Maybe, just maybe that will happen and I’ll submit it for publishing.  We’ll see.  The quilt would definitely put a dent in my stash of bonus triangles.  Each one takes 16 half square triangles!!

I found these.  I believe they are from my Zuckerwatte quilts.  



Well I got thinking that there was another Bonnie Hunter quilt that used pink half square triangles so I looked and yes, Twirl Around has them.  It’s in her Addicted to Scraps book.  I checked the sizes and YES, these will work for that.  So rather than put this back in the drawer of half square triangles, I decided to label these and put them in the UFO cabinet.  Makes more sense to me!!

I’ll be in need of a graduation or childcare quilt and these could easily work for that!

So that took awhile to clean and sort.  You can see why it’s taking me so long to go through EVERYTHING!!  It’s worth it though.  I’m loving how it’s coming along!!

17 thoughts on “Digging a Little Deeper”

  1. I have an entire 5 drawer chest of drawers with bags like yours. Some are marked others aren’t Most are leaders and ender sewing. They do come in handy. I really liked your color post. So many don’t understand that concept. Thansk for explaining it. Chris

  2. To take the organizing a step further I started a notebook and inventoried all my quilting stuff. I have separate pages for my rulers, finished orphan blocks, Accuquilt dies, precuts, etc. I have pages with notes of ideas of how I want to use patterns or fabrics. I am finding the older I get the more I forget my intentions, lol.
    Good luck!

  3. You are definitely giving me incentive to go through my stuff. Quick question, is neighbor girl still around. You haven’t mentioned her. Love the blog.

    Sharon in Colorado.

    1. Hi Sharon…
      She still lives near me. She doesn’t come much anymore. I’d love to write more about it but I can’t as I need to respect her and her family’s privacy.

  4. ii like the flat clear boxes from Costco or Walmart to store unfinished projects. they are see through and nest together. i agree that the picnic baskets are cute but not very functional/

  5. You are doing great work in your sewing room! The sorting gets things to where you can use them now and also puts forgotten things back in mind. I love that part. Kind of like cleaning the freezer–lol–but more fun!

  6. Jo, about that 3 drawer set of clear drawers…be careful not to load it up heavily because then the drawers sag into each other and you can’t open them easily. I’ve started putting all my fabrics into clear boxes too so that I can tell at a glance where everything is. I used to have all of one type of fabric together. Then I noticed that every time I went looking for fabric I started with looking for a certain color. So I put them all in color families. It’s easier for me that way. Congratulations on clearing out the sewing room!! It has to be done now and then.

    1. RUTH…the plastic three drawer things have worked really well for me. I’ve had both these and totes. I’ve learned that I HATE TOTES. I don’t readily grab them. I stack them on top of each other and whatever I want is in the bottom tote (always in the bottom tote). So I find myself being lazy and not gravitating to projects that need totes. With the drawers I’ve learned I like them better for easy of use. I’t MUCH smoother and easier for me. I’ve learned in trade, I can’t put heavy things on top. For me, it works!!

  7. Thanks Jo for your very entertaining blog posts. I am just starting to sort through boxes and bins (we moved in October from a 3600 sq. Ft. Home to a 560 sq. Ft apapartment) and now I have 4 sq. Ft. Of space for my sewing area. I am purging and will make a sizeable donation to my Guild for the annual Yard n Yardage sale. In return I will be organized and will know exactly what is in each box or bin when we move again in March. I use clear bins or pizza boxes. The pizza boxes are labelled with contents (5” squares, 1 1/2” half square triangles, etc.) and the bins are labelled flannel or cotton. Inside the bins I have stacks of fabric and the odd plastic bag of blocks or pieces; all labelled. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. I moved in 2016 and I threw some really lame fabric, orphan blocks, & some scraps out. Gave away some fabric to thrift stores, donated a couple of quilt tops I didn’t love. It was liberating!! Bye bye, no regrets. I could actually stand to do a bit more purging… but til then, at least I’ve mostly been on a fabric purchasing moratorium for the past 8 months. Making quilts with what I have has been really satisfying. I’m going to continue with this in 2018!

  9. I don’t have a sewing room – more like part of a closet that I kept my scraps in. Finding that my totes made my fabric smell, I know have all my fabric sitting in piles on the bed in our spare bedroom. Dh is retiring in June and we’ll full time rv again so now I not only have get on these scraps and MAKE something but find a way to store them in an rv, What to do… What to do…
    I have enjoyed reading on how you are storing your fabric and getting ideas!

  10. This is my year of finishing all UFO’s. Over the holidays I pulled everything in zip lock bags, shoe boxes and other container types out of my sewing area; opened each one, determined the time it will take to finish that project and what fabric I might need to complete it , took advantage of end of season clearance to purchase it and returned them to my shelves in order. I decided I would allow myself only the first week of January to purchase the fabric needed and after that I will be following Jo’s rule of only purchasing thrift or donated fabrics. My rule for this year is I will pull from my shelves ONE project and only work on that until it is completed. Hopefully there will be no special family events coming up that will require another project to be started.

  11. Being a New Hampton girl, I love the note written on The Quilter’s Window notepad. Thanks for the blogs you write. I am always looking for inspiration and motivation!

  12. Wow, I like the way you think and sort. I need to purge my scrap drawers and gift the scraps I know I won’t ever use. I also have a gazillion bonus triangles and would love a little sew-along to motivate me to use them! My sewing room has gotten a little overwhelming lately so I need to take the time to reorganize. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Virginia Grenier

    When you mention bonus triangles, are you talking about extra half square triangle square units or are they just loose triangles – not stitched into units of any sort. If it were just loose triangles you could use them as the final pieces on the corners of a string blocks. That’s what I thought you were talking about until I saw the pictures.

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