I am sure that you are just like me – too many ideas, too much fabric, and not enough time. I thought I would share with you a couple of the things that I do which helps me to be more focused, organise my stash and plan my quilts so I can
GET MORE DONE!!
Firstly, comes the quilt planning. I love collecting fabric, whether it’s layer cakes, jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles or just ones that I love to look at. I also love collecting quilting patterns and books, leafing through them when I feel the need for some inspiration or a bit of a colour pick-me-up. The question is, how do we gel the two? By using a spreadsheet of all things.
I sat down in front of my bookcase and went through 3 or so of my favourite books, looking for the patterns that immediately made it onto my “must make” list. I listed them all, then added in the fabric requirements…. but NOT only the listed yardage. Where the quilt was simple enough, I listed the cutting needs, so that I would easily see if a pattern could be adapted to a different yardage, use scraps or make it out of a different precut.
Then I added columns listing the background yardage and any other fabric requirements, eg border, feature solid etc. I included in my spreadsheet where the pattern was from (so I could quickly find it again), and I made notes if I already had plans for which fabric line I thought I could use.
This way, when I was looking to start my next project, or shopping for fabric, I would have an instant reference for background yardages, ideas to use up my scrap pieces etc.
I’m a digital girl, so I made this spreadsheet in Google Drive. This way I can access it at home on my computer, or on my phone when I’m out and about at my local quilt store. I am slowly starting to invest in the backgrounds I need for these quilts so that my beautiful fabric stash will finally get used, instead of stored forever.
Stage 2 of the organisational process starts with some plastic tubs. I found a size that I really love which stacks and works for my space.They hold a lot of fabric and a good size sewn block. Into my tub I put all the fabric I need, and as I cut, all the scraps and pieces go back in until the quilt is finished. I also add a copy of the pattern if it’s a pdf or leaflet/mini book. From the original pattern I will make up a cutting list on a scrap piece of paper, listing all the cutting sizes and quantities. This gets ticked off as I go through each part of the block cutting process. If there are a lot of pieces, each size will go into a plastic sandwich bag with a sticky note listing the dimensions and quantity. Using this system I can efficiently cut a lot of pieces out very fast, and I rarely have to go back and cut extra in case of a missed piece.
Doing it this way means that I can easily pull out any of my project tubs, and it’s quick and easy to get moving on any part of the quiltmaking, whether it’s cutting out or piecing blocks. They are portable for taking around the house, to the cutting table, pressing board or even to a sewing day with my group. At the end of any session, it all gets put away into the tub and stacked, ready for next time. It’s also a good habit to add notes listing where you are, keeping count of blocks made or what step is next. This makes picking up where you left off even quicker.
Here’s some delicious eye-candy in the form of some of my upcoming projects…. Either fabric that I am currently collecting, or in the case of the Joel Dewberry Heirloom, I have picked out a pattern and I’m ready to start cutting! Also included is the beautiful Elizabeth Hartman Lepidoptera kit….. who could resist those butterflies? But there’s a boatload of cutting in this quilt, I will be using every single one of my organisational tricks to keep track of it all.
So tell me – what organisational tips can you share with us? Do you have a list of
world domination projects that you are working through? How do you stay on track and keep productive?
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