It’s Time…

Sorry guys.  No real blog post for you.  Last week I was busy machine binding a quilt and looked out over my sewing room.  My only thought…it’s time.

The mess was too much.  I was tired of looking for stuff and not being about to find it.  It’s time to just take a day off and find my sewing room back.


So rather than take the day completely off and leave you with no blog post, I thought I would just snap some pictures and give you an honest look at how bad things have gotten.

Piles of stuff… everywhere…cabinets that won’t close because there is stuff in the way.


Stuff that I need to sort…

Stuff that needs dusting and vacuuming and moving.  It’s shameful that I have such a nice sewing space and I’ve left it to get out of hand.


I bought the metal shelf about a year ago with the intention to just put it there until I found the right place for it.  One year later, it hasn’t moved.  Blah.

The floor is covered in threads and tiny clippings of fabric.  When I walk out the door the stuff clings to my shoes and deposits on the carpet just outside the door.


Not only is it time…it’s way past time for me to find this room back.  I know I’ll feel so much better just doing it.  If I stop now, I can likely give it one good day and have things the way I want them.  If I don’t stop and do it now, it’s going to take more than a day to do it and then I’ll just put it off and put it off.  I don’t want that.  It’s time.  Plus I’m in a mood to pass things on and throw things out so when that mood hits, I really know it’s time.

So, no real blog post for you today…Just an honest look at the life of this quilter.  Is it time for your sewing space too or are you one of those people who can maintain and keep things looking good?  I long to be one of those but try as I might, I get busy, and keeping my sewing room tidy is always the first thing that goes.

60 thoughts on “It’s Time…

  1. Polly

    Looks like a “real” post to me. Hope I don’t hurt your feelings when I say I’m glad it’s not just me. But for real, think your sewing room is in better shape than mine already. So, maybe I’ll feed off your determination and work on mine this week….but August in Iowa and thankfully my garden is offering me lots. So reality is probably October cleaning and organizing at this house. Enjoy your day.

    Reply
      1. Polly Brickhouse

        Good for you Jo! Apple tree…..mmmmm imagining some wonderful things. So enjoy everything you share. Have a wonderful day.

        Reply
      1. Melanie Brooks

        Me, too! But I had already decided to continue passing on to others fabric I’ll most likely not use, to organize it all, and get it ALL in just one room. Some had taken up residence in the guest room next to it. This encourages me.

        Reply
  2. shirley Theresa Kleve

    You made me feel so much better. I just completed cleaning up my out of control sewing room. I had family coming for the weekend and decided it was good incentive to get it looking good. Just about a year ago, I lost my 42 year old daughter to covid. Obviously, my life flipped. Having left a husband and 4 teenagers behind has had my life repurposed in a way I never imagined. Plus they moved to an acreage. Have you ever tried to move a guy and 4 teenagers with guidance from their matriarch. I love them and miss my daughter, and was in the middle making quilts for the grandkids including a wedding quilt for my nephew and graduation tshirt quilt for my grandson. Needless to say, I tried to get things squeezed in.They needed me more than my house did. I did get most done, but my sewing room tends to end in disaster without a disaster, so You can imagine the mess I had. You have been my incentive, because I thought you were always seemingly organized. So last week I spent the week getting my house/sewing room back in order. Trust me, it was much worse than yours. Long story to say I appreciate your blog of ups and downs and keeping it together. I am even happier you are not perfectly organized. I finally have my house and sewing room mostly in order, and like you said, I now feel so much better and feel like I can actually take on some new projects. My daughter was very organized. She didn’t get it from and she did not pass it on to her family, mostly because it was her way. I fully believe she did give me the push to get my life on track, so I am ready to be here for those teenagers as a new school and school year begins. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Becky

      I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your grandkids are lucky to have you in their corner. Mess can wait,people can’t. You put the right things first.

      Reply
    2. Kate

      So sorry you lost your daughter. Losing a child no matter what his or age, is hard for a parent. You sound like you accomplished so much in spite of it all, so just keep doing what you’re doing,

      Reply
    3. Anita Barra

      God bless you and your grandkids. They will always remember you being there for them , not whether your sewing room was organized. I have to remind myself of that occasionally when I become obsessive about toys, etc. all around. It’s the love we have for our family that counts.

      Reply
    4. Jo Post author

      Shirley- It sounds like you have stepped in and did so much for your daughter’s family which I am sure was so appreciated and needed but I’m glad you took some time for yourself too. It’s a hard road to balance everyone else’s needs and personal needs. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    5. Jackie

      Bless you as you navigate uncharted waters.. which IS what we do each time we start a never before used QUILT pattern. I have faith you will put all THESE pieces in the correct order also. My Sympathies to you and yours.

      Reply
  3. Sherry Bobak

    It’s time! I don’t have a whole room, just a wall and a half in my bedroom. I have to move stuff off my cutting table, ironing station & chair to do anything. Then, I have to put all back to go to bed. Lucky you to have a whole room.

    Reply
  4. Kathy

    I feel your pain. Last time I sorted, put away and cleaned I started a box of duplicates and things I no longer wanted or needed. A year later it’s time to to start again – and that box is still here – never did pass that stuff on to others!

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    My main sewing area is also the dining room space. Our kids are grown & we don’t use the table often for eating but since the dining “room” & living “room” are actually just one large open area, I can’t escape it. Basically, I end up keeping it fairly neat just because it is always in my face, my honey’s & that of any visitors.

    Reply
  6. Kathy Shelton

    I think it gets that way for all of us sometimes.
    I’ve been trying to go through stuff all summer.
    Some of it is 20 to 40 Years I’ve had it and it’s time to let it go but hard to make the decision. Good luck with your sewing room.

    Reply
  7. Gail in Ohio

    Yep – it’s past time here too. Unfortunately, there are some deadlines that have to be met before it happens! BUT – it will happen soon since our family quilt retreat will be here in a couple of months….

    Reply
  8. Donna Graham

    It’s nice to have your sewing space neat and clean but when you have several projects in the works plus life in general, it’s really hard to keep it that way all the time. Good for you, Jo! Every sewist/quilter needs a clean up and put away day from time to time!

    Reply
  9. JanetB

    I spent a couple hours in my quilt studio yesterday cleaning up. My husband died six weeks ago and when I was straightening up the house for company for the funeral, I just put stuff in the studio without rhyme or reason. Now, getting on with life as best I can, it’s time to put some order to the chaos.

    Reply
    1. shirley

      I understand and feel for you. I have been there. It is a great outlet to have something to focus on to get through the tough days. My thoughts are with you.

      Reply
    2. Cheryl in Dallas

      JanetB,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I am hoping you will have many lovely memories of your husband in the days and months ahead to comfort your heart.

      Reply
    3. Jo Post author

      OH Janet. I am sorry for your loss. When Kramer was sick and passed the same thing happened to my sewing room. I admire you. It took be about three months to really claim my room back.

      Reply
  10. Kathy Barry

    I have a very small sewing room, my youngest daughter’s old bedroom. It’s very small, but it’s my space, which I love. I drool over your sewing room, but I hear you too, and see what you mean. I also have some things to sort too, mostly my fabrics, which although they are contained in zip bags, are in a terrible mish-mash. I need to sort them so I’m not just hit with a confusion of patterns and colours. Having a small room kind of forces you to be tidy, but sometimes there is just “stuff” everywhere and then I have to do a tidy. Good luck with your tidy-up, will we see the end result?

    Reply
  11. Robin

    I love this post, as well as the related post I just read dated May 8, 2020. You might not think of todays post as interesting but it motivates me to get a handle on things as well. I just inherited a van load of fabric, notions, machines, etc. from the husband of a good friend who passed away suddenly from covid. It took me a year to go to his house to get it, I just couldn’t handle it. In the past two weeks I’ve sold much of it and given her husband the money. I’ve donated the fabric I know I will never use. I’ve found storage in my basement for the yards and yards of baby flannel. I felt guilty for getting rid of her fabric but I just had to let it go. There are many in my community who shop the thrift stores, they are going to be thrilled. I can just see my friend looking down on me from heaven telling me to just let it go. My room is almost back to normal with a few unfinished projects I’m finishing for her. By the weekend I’m going to be back to normal.

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      Good for you Robin. I’m a thrift store fabric shopped and I love when people donate fabric!! I’m sure your friend would give you a stamp of approval.

      Reply
  12. Angie

    I don’t have a sewing room per say, it’s part of a bedroom. I have two chest drawers and a converted gun cabinet that holds some of my fabric and notions plus several totes. I am a little on the ocd side so I straighten and put my sewing projects up after I finish working on them. But I do tend to stack stuff neatly or save triangles or 4 patches( which I had enough to make 25 Jacob’s Ladder block and make a quilt). Then it’s time for me to go through a make something with it or donate, and that’s where I am.

    Reply
  13. Kate

    Why is it that our sewing rooms are the last to get cleaned!? I had my room looking good and then hubby is sure I have something of his, something I made for his car and planned t o make another one. Well, I had to get out all my boxes of stash and scraps, no find. Bt now I have things on my cutting table that I’m not sure what I want to do with them. Jo, you accomplish so much and so important to put the family first like you do. You do a great job.

    Reply
  14. Marsha from Kansas

    Yes, it is past time. Your room actually looks quite nice compared to my path to my machine and a path to the family computer. I keep saying, I’ll clean when I’m through with this project, but it doesn’t happen. But I have found several three one-yard combinations to make some Fabric Cafe three yard quilts for charity. I sew the tops and pass them on to a couple of guilds in my area to finish and find places that need them. You have kept me going on the charity quilts. My goal is six a year, usually baby quilts and now the Fabric Cafe patterns. Enjoy your blog so much.

    Reply
  15. Hedy

    My quilting room is just fabrics and my sewing machine, I have another room for more fabrics and my long arm. Both were just horrendous and I decided to start cleaning them up last Friday. I only was able to clean one room but it feels wonderful to me to walk inside and see a somewhat neat room. My long arm room is filled with things to pass on and I’m hopeful that they will be mailed out this week. It’s very difficult to sew, cook, clean, do laundry etc and still keep the sewing room neat. I have projects sitting on my cutting table and it looks messy, I keep thinking I’ll get to them tomorrow. And tomorrow is taking a long time arriving.

    Reply
  16. Elle

    It is good to carve out the time to devote to your studio. Make it welcoming again :-)

    I am one of those highly organized people. Everything has it’s place and goes back when I’m done using it (regardless of which room in my home) and/or when I’m done for the day. It may have something to do with being an Operating Room RN? My surgical tables were always just so-no surgeon wants to wait for staff to search for a needed item. And in emergencies it is life/death!

    Enjoy your time in there. You’ll love the result-but you already know that :-)

    Reply
    1. Judith Fairchild

      I like your discription of the scraps. I have had that problem. Then I moved and all my scraps sitting around got boxed up. 8 months later the box hasn’t been touched.

      Reply
  17. Jill Klop

    Now I feel guilty about the way that my room looks! I had Covid last week and I’m behind in so many things. I’m a leader for Days for Girls and we have a meeting this week. Next week I will work in my sewing room!

    Reply
  18. Jody Randall

    I said “It’s Time!” the beginning of July. I have a very small room for my sewing and it was totally out of control. Nothing would fit in my closet, 2 bookcases, small chest and 4 plastic drawer organizer drawer type things. I had stuff on the floor and just enough room to walk around my cutting table (which sat in middle of room). I went through all of my fabric and sold what I didn’t want any longer. Fabric I didn’t sell and notions I didn’t want I donated to Salvation Army so someone else could have. You get the idea…. when all was said and done I was able to remove one of the bookcases from the room and the plastic drawer organizers, plus a small sewing table. Redid the closet with shelving, rearranged my tables and now I have twice the room and its actually a joy to go in there. It took my the entire month of July but was so worth it.

    Reply
    1. Christina

      Oh how I understand you, I HAD a small room, which I outgrew , no matter how I rearranged things it was too small. So took over a guest room, but its such a mess I need to clear the messes and sit down with pen and plan it out using graph paper. Then I will know I will know what needs doing. Mind you it will help getting 2 sets of interlined curtains off the floor out to their new places, 3m wide by 3 1/2 m width for each individual curtain! Then I can get to my set of drawers YAY. I have spent so much time in our new garden getting it to just where I planned to read to sit in and admire. So my house is now a conservation area!! Dust is my old furniture protector from the sun, hehe. and my sewing room looks like someone threw a grenade in and walked by. Family arrived yesterday after 10 hours notice AAAh, major clean up of the ground floor, prayed they would have no need to go upstairs .Jo has made me want to start the clean up and then I plan to sit this evening and put my linen on a rolling frame ready to start my huge sampler in September. Good luck to everyone in keeping their sewing space in a reasonable tidy state.

      Reply
  19. Spring

    I finished one of my dirty dozens and put most everything away so that I could make a new top for myself as a reward. Well I couldn’t find the pattern. I cleaned out my pattern drawer and set aside some items for my sister to look through and pass along. Stuffed among the patterns was an envelope with my grandmother’s name labeled misc. Inside was a bill from the hospital for her EKG done in 1947, total due $26.50, included overnight stay.

    Reply
    1. RuthW in MD

      Oh how interesting! So smart to check through all those patterns for any other possibly important family history items! Amazing!

      Reply
  20. Christina

    Hi Jo,
    just a quick question, where did you get your very comfy looking chair for sewing? I need to find one soon, back too bad to sit for any length of time now. Thank you

    Reply
  21. Samantha M

    After reading all the comments Jo, I think it’s safe to say this was definitely a good blog post! I’ve only recently taken over a corner in the living room and set it up with all things sewing, so it’s still neat and tidy – so far! Ask me again in a few months

    Reply
  22. LaNan

    I too have difficulty keeping my sewing room in order. I believe it’s a part of creativity! I did organize it several weeks ago and feel so much better….

    Reply
  23. Joy

    I don’t have a dedicated sewing room and currently sew and craft on a utility cart as I needed my dining room table back. So I’m envious that you have a space to keep it in and the mess to go along with it. I pass my messes off as creativity in progress but I do try to put one project away when I switch to another, unless it’s a leader-ender. I’ve learned the hard way that less gets misplaced and mixed up that way and it only takes a few minutes versus a whole day to clean up when it gets out of hand.

    Reply
  24. Brenda King

    Hi Jo. If I was as productive as you, I wouldn’t worry about neatness! My studio is usually clean and tidy, but I don’t get much made! I tend to be organized and clean, (another RN in the sewing room!) But my creative juices and ability can’t hold a candle to yours! I guess it’s one way or the other! I’d much rather have a stack of quilts to show off than a spotless studio! I think you’ve got your priorities right! : ) Brenda King, Bend, Or.

    Reply
  25. Bridget

    If it wasn’t that I didn’t recognize the furniture I would think you had taken a picture in my sewing room! lol It is time to clean it up when I feel the weight of the mess on my psyche. Like you I am ready to part with stuff and it goes…other times not so much. One thing I have done was assess HOW I sew. I don’t use many notions so cleaned out the rulers etc. I will never use. Eliminated fabrics I didn’t love. Organized my scraps. I still build up a messy room over time but keeping in mind what works for me helps keep my room the way I want it. Not super clean but lived in and loved without being overwhelming. Now I am off to clean my room…after my coffee! :)

    Reply
  26. Ellie

    I share my sewing space with my bedroom and it’s not a large room to begin with so it can quickly get out of control ! In fact that seems to be the normal state of things if there is a project in progress. Then it’s on to the next one before really cleaning up the end of the last one ! Creativity is a messy process!

    Reply
  27. Joy in NW Iowa

    I must say that I am on my third binding plus a pillowcase for each quilt I bind…..so that’s the plus side. When I get my bindings finished then I can get the left over fabrics in a color bin for scrappy things….so I am on a roll….woohoo. Four to go! Happy cleaning!

    Reply
  28. Suzanne

    I am at this stage too. The worst is when I pull out all my scraps! And I like string quilts but but they certainly create a mess! But it all works out!

    Reply
  29. BL

    I just purchased my first brand new sewing machine (Singer 4452) and wish I could go shopping for accessories in some of these sewing rooms and nooks. Not fabric, though, because it multiplies on its own!

    Reply
  30. RuthW in MD

    Oh how interesting! So smart to check through all those patterns for any other possibly important family history items! Amazing!

    Reply
  31. Nanette

    I always feel better when things are in their place, especially the house. My Studio stays organized, unless I am working on a quilt, then it can get messy, but as soon as the quilt is finished I am cleaning and straightening. As you can tell I am a perfectionist. Every now and then I clean out fabric that I will never use or if I start a project and realize that it is not what I want, I gift it away. Enjoy the cleaning project, you will feel much better. I do not like clutter, but mostly dust. I try to clean my machine each evening and vacuum the threads up. I wonder if I am OCD! LOL. Enjoy and take care great post!

    Reply
  32. June

    I can’t see if I know I should sweep the floor first. Having said that. I just got moved into a house with my huge sewing room. Only problem has been the house has issues. The air conditioner had to be changed out. New vents, insulation blown in. Etc…Long story short…it’s hard to find people who after you pay them- return to finish the job. I’m trying to put the room together but know donated quilts and fabric need to be kept clean- allergies from dust etc. This has been such a hard move that should have been great. The first day here I put a roofing nail thru my foot. Yesterday we finally got rain and the roof that was replaced in May was becoming a waterfall on the living room. And all I want to do is sew but hubby forbids me to do it at the dining room table. I got a huge bookshelf for the sewing room from the Icecream shop in town- a throwaway- and praying no more problems come my way so I can start the production line again. Covid hit at my job and toilets backed up too. It’s been an adventure but atleast the chickens are happy .

    Reply

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