QoTD - 1/11/11

K8OrlandoJanuary 11, 2011

I think we've talked about this before but with so many new members of the forum it might be fun to bring it up again.

How do you organize your fabric? By color, by project, or just whatever fits in the bin?

I am a notoriously messy quilter (and cook!) and although I try to keep fabrics for specific projects together, I'm not very good at organizing the rest of my stash. I'm constantly in awe of the pictures I see in quilt magazines with everything neat and organized by color.

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I feel the same way and I just keep the door closed to my room lol.
I finally have my fabrics organized by color!!! The scraps are another story, they are in bags all tossed together. When I am working on a project my sewing room is a wreck and the kitchen is the same when I cook!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Most of my stash is organized by color; then there are separate piles for holiday, landscape, children/novelty, all over florals and sometimes the batiks are together, sometimes they're in with their color group. Oh, and plaids are in their own group. So....sort of "loosely" organized. Then there are the piles covering the cutting table....but we won't go there.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Rosa! We're sisters! LOL

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Usually by color. Except Batiks and flannel. When working on a project, or fabric is bought for a special project, that is kept separate (with the pattern, if there is one) because I will forget and use it for something else. But, all containers or bags have to be see-through...labels don't help me. Scraps are something else, literally! I have beautiful decorative jars (dill pickles come in them) of squares and strips......at least they're nice to look at. @:)


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:09AM
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All of the above. I have by colors, batiks, floral, civil war, novelties, homespun, hand dyed, flannel, 30s, and piles all over that are either in process or just thinking. I sometimes have a small group that are colors I want to use together whenever a project comes along. I do clean it up once or twice a year but it doesn't stay clean long. Then I also have pieces on the design wall for staring. I get lots of ideas by just staring.

Today is my monthly fix with my closest quilting friends. I always come home with new ideas. I think we might move it to twice a month since we solve so many of the world's problems while sewing. If there was a frame in the room you'd call it a quilting bee. We'd probably drink wine if we didn't have to drive home.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:19AM
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My stash is also arranged by color - on open shelves because I love how it looks! Love those fabrics!! But like several others have mentioned I keep flannels, batiks & holiday fabrics separate. My scraps are somewhat organized by size - fat qtrs & similar in one tub, smaller but not tiny in another, & the tiny ones (that most people would throw away!) I keep for applique projects. My tiny ones I try to keep together by color in zip bags within the tub, but it never lasts long! - I start pulling something out & it just doesn't get put back in! lol I love to DO the organizing just can't keep it up!!
Sharon, I really like the idea of scraps in jars - it does sound so pretty & would look great on the shelf among the button jars. I might have to 'steal' your system!


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:30AM
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We're supposed to ORGANIZE?????? LOL

Most fabric for a project is together in a individual plastic snap container - but I know that once it gets in there - that "out of sight - out of mind thing" takes over, and my brain just moves on to the next project in front of me. I do work on many things at one time - probably why I have a hard time completing projects in all aspects of my personal life. (My business life - I only get paid for successful completion - so money talks:) I am too organized in business for fear of losing something).

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:43PM
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I pretty much do similar to what others here do. Mainly I found that if I have my projects together in bags/hangers with pattern I do better. The other stuff is sorted by color family or seasonal fabric.

My small scraps have recently been sorted to having a tumbler template, 5x5 squares, 2x2 inch squares and similar things. My quilting buddies have recently decided to do this to get the scrap piles better orgnaized and to something with them. We brain-stormed and come up with ways to incorporate the small items into charity quilts, etc. Amazing when a group gets together what you come up with. One of theses days my stash will reduce a bit and I can really organize the piles better!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:44PM
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Oh, what a huge question!

I keep specific projects that are in process in a separate tray or basin (I like the wash basins I can get at the dollar store because they're usually big enough to also hold the book with the pattern I'm working from). For some of these, I also use the 12" square plastic 3 drawer stacks, mainly when I'm far enough along to have squares I'd like to keep stacked. And these drawers hold lotto and swap blocks while I'm trying to see how many I'm actually going to have time to make. One drawer holds narrow strips that are leftovers, rolled up.

Then I have one basket that is just seasonal prints.

Another basket has flannels.

And then there are a dozen or more other baskets (these are all square baskets so I can fold fabrics with the folded edge up) that are sorted by color. All of these baskets are for pieces less than a half yard.

Larger pieces are in the big plastic storage tubs. I try to always pin a slip of paper to multi-yard pieces with the name of the project and yardage I have in mind for it so I don't cut it up for something else and come up short.

Scraps (really small ones) are in zip lock bags by color in their own basket.

Lately I've started saving triangles & squares made from them. So many times it seems that a pattern has you make nice triangles from 2 squares, but you end up wasting almost half the fabric. So now I just run a seam back along the diagonal and when I cut between them, I have one square made from the 2 triangles for the pattern, and a smaller square. Also, when strip piecing I sometimes end up with a small 4 or 9 square piece left over. I'm tossing all of these into a drawer. Not sure what I'll do with them, but playing with the idea of a jigsaw puzzle when I'm done. It would be a quilt that would have little bits of almost every lotto, swap or pattern block I've made in it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 2:27PM
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I love the idea of separating scraps by color. I've never even tried to separate them but I'm going to give it a shot. Using big jars is a great plan and I'll be looking for some of those in second-hand stores, but I have a few plastic bins that will work for now. Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:01PM
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I have most of my fabric in the same room, folded on open shelves. I put my solids mostly together. I'm terrible to shuffle through looking for something and leave things tumbled around. My kitties also slip in occasionally, and knock over a stack or two investigating sleeping spots.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 5:15PM
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I keep most of my fabric in large sweater boxes sorted by color, batiks, period,novelty,Christmas, holiday, strip,plaid,hand dyed, marble, metalic, 30's, dots, different. I try and keep them folded in fat 1/4 shape but not always possible. Projects I am working on are on
trays or tubs. Then there are the stacks that are waiting-----------for an idea. Others are folded over a tall drying rack. I have a large plastic box with solids and another with flannels that I keep on top of my selves with batts. Scraps that tossed into a waste basket for crumbs, or a basket with 2.5" sq.s. another crate has strips which are probably never going to be used but who knows. It is poorly organized but I have fun making the search when I need something and a slight idea where to go.
Too much stash for the little time I have left.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 7:35PM
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I have my yardage fabric neatly folded, placed on open shelves in a walk in closet, arranged by color. It looks really good. I have my fat quarters neatly arranged in plastic bins, my battings are also on shelves, my tools are organized and easily accessible....:):)You are probably saying "how wonderful of you" don't be so hasty, there is more. My big problem is all those pieces left over of varying sizes when you cut a project. I have some in boxes, some in bags, some just piled in a drawer, some piled on top of the cutting table, and just stashed everywhere. It is on my to do list to do something with this mess but I am at a loss as to what. I started cutting everything into wedges for a specific project, (i forget what the project was, and haven't added to it in a while) so some of those are in a little bin with the special ruler I used to cut. I haven't been quilting long enough to know what is the best size to cut these pieces so they will be useful later, but I have been at it long enough to have a mess of jumbled fabric here there and everywhere.....In fact I was just looking at this mess yesterday, Snow day #2 in the deep south.
thanks so much for this QTD, I needed a reminder of this mess and now maybe I will just do something!! LOL
After all, this is snow day #3 with no going out anywhere so maybe today is the day....I am inspired.
Thanks again....to all of you

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 8:13AM
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Sometimes it takes an act of God for me to get motivated too, Murphy!! LOL I say take a snow day as an act of God & use it to do things you normally don't have time for. Maybe someone's system here will work out for you as well. Good luck w/your organizing:)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Inspired by Sharon's idea of sorting scraps by color in jars, I took a quick look at Goodwill this morning and discovered 6 matching glass vases - the typical florist ones with the rounded bottom and narrower neck - they were the large size about 12" tall. They'll fit on the shelf by the sewing table so I can easily reach over and drop scraps in the right vase.

Each was $.99 so I'm going back after work, hoping they'll still be there!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:12AM
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Kate, I never thought of using vases thinking a lid was needed at my house, but that's a great idea! Not only within easy reach for you, but eye-candy to make you smile.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:20AM
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Sharon-do you cut the scraps into a particular size before you add it to the vase/jar? I am accumulating useful strips and scraps and they are burying me. Good idea to put them in pretty jars.
Kate-those vases are perfect - I think we all have them sitting around (if we haven't donated them).

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:36AM
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I keep mine together by color - or at least it starts out that way, or at least that's the goal :) I keep holiday fabrics together and any special project/pattern fabrics together. Wicker baskets hold leftover scraps.

Underneath a long plastic work table clear bins, and wicker baskets hold my fabric. I made a curtain to go around the table so you can't see the fabric underneath.

QoTD what a great idea of using a vase for your fabrics! I have a vase of my Grandmother's sitting in a closet - thanks for helping me to find a great way to use it :)


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 1:46PM
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I don't separate by color but keep the same size squares and the same size strips together.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 6:14PM
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I need every hint I can get on this topic. I have a smorgasbord! Some in a bin by color but very disorganized because it's ONE bin so when I start digging things get to looking like an explosion in the microwave. LOL Specifics for projects for the most part are together in clear bags. Scraps are in one of those white grocery bags and have to dig. Then some holiday fabs are in another white grocery bag. I know I need help!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:38PM
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Yahoo! Snow days rock! I got all my scraps sorted by color into neatish little piles on my cutting table. Didn't have as many as I thought, they were just scattered in to many places. Unless some are hiding somewhere in the sewing room. LOL I can not believe I actually kept some bits of fabric that are completely useless for anything but stuffing something..think dog beds, toys, etc. But I digress. Now what do I do with them? I am thinking plastic bags for the smaller piles, put into larger clear bins with the colors that aren't in bags. This is my project for today.
Thank you Thank you, K8orlando, for this QOTD. It got me going with an "act of God" as quiltpartner stated. I am feeling pretty pleased with my little bad self. :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 5:43AM
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Ditto on sorting by colors on shelves. My main cutting table is an old church table 36x76. I have clean 5 gallon pails underneath that table and labeled with the size piece that should go in each. (4" squares, triangles, 2-1/2" strips.) When I'm in between projects, I will dump out the pail and cut them into the correct size piece, bag them up, and put the bag back into the pail so the like sizes are always together. It doesn't work for me to put them on a shelf or a box once they're cut because I'll forget that I even had them.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 3:46PM
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