March Studio Organizing Challenge

Posted on March 20, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Studio Organizing Challenge

A few days late, but it’s all because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to work on this month!

Last month, our challenge was to clean off our design walls (or set one up if you needed one and wanted to). Mine had way too many projects just being stored on it, and I wasn’t actually working on most of them.

So . . . I took them all down and organized them into places they need to be instead. And I actually finished one of them!

The wall was bare . . .for a few brief moments.

And now, a little side story . . .

Last fall, I adopted a new cat and her companion, that I believe must be her sister — they had been dumped — I’m still, five months later, struggling to understand how someone could have dumped these sweet girls (already spayed and housebroken, mind you!). I first tried to leave them in the barn, but in three days, they never once emerged from behind the feed storage box in the feed room, and every time I checked on them, they were shaking in fear of our myriad of other barn cats. So even tho I didn’t need any more indoor cats, I took pity on them and brought them inside. They are such sweethearts — I named them Thelma and Louise!

Louise is in love with My Cowboy, and Thelma wants to be permanently attached to my chest. While Thelma was acclimating, I let her into the sewing room a few times because she was having separation anxiety if I left her out. She evidently didn’t come from a house with a sewing room, I guess (or maybe she’s just a tad demented), and she took a flying leap at the design wall one day (seriously?), and stretched my batting cover out of shape (grrr!).

So while the design wall was empty, I tightened up the cover so it’s not sagging any more. And Thelma is no longer allowed in the studio!! (She’s a little TOO helpful, and also likes to remove needles and pins from my pincushions and steal my pencils, so now she’s only allowed to assist downstairs, much to her annoyance.) Here she is, helping with binding, which I do in my chair downstairs of an evening:

And here’s Louise, having a nap with me in my chair:

See? Total sweethearts. I hope they love it here with us, after having been so cruelly abandoned. I’m completely in love with them (and every other animal on this farm — big surprise!)

Back to the task at hand . . . I ran the lint roller over the design wall, to get as many loose threads off as I could, and now . . . only 2 projects are up there! It’s so refreshingly clean!

The set of blocks laid out are from a guild challenge I offered up (last September, I believe) — if you want the block pattern, you can find it HERE for free — it’s called Royal Star. I’m turning these into a Comfort Quilt for our guild’s stash to hand out to folks in need.

So I feel really good about my fresh, clean design wall — how about you? Were you using yours for storage, too?

And now it’s time for another Studio Organizing Challenge, and I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to tackle. I finally landed on:

Processing the Scrap Piles

I’ve had scrap processing on my trackers all year, and it’s really helping me, so I’d like to keep the momentum going. In February, I had a goal of processing scraps for 30 minutes a day, and I made it 23 days. I backed off to 15 minutes a day for March, and I’m still chipping away at it. I’ve gotten rid of one large basket, and several small bags of scraps. As I’m going through them, I’m cutting pieces for all my scrap quilts in progress, and also processing them into my pre-cut boxes for future scrap quilts. Time spent now will save me lots of time later.

So I’m going to continue, and will hopefully be done with all the odds and ends bags and baskets of scraps by the end of the month. All that will be left after that is one HUGE box, and a big rubbermaid tub to go through. My goal is to get ALL my fabric reorganized by the end of the year, and this is a great start so far.

I’ve been using lots of larger pieces from my stash for borders, backings, bindings, and pillowcases. It’s actually making a dent, and I’d like to make an even larger dent going forward.

How about you? Do you have scraps that get out of control? Or do you keep them processed up regularly? My goal is to get them under control once and for all, and then keep them processed up regularly, so that they aren’t a big mess in the future.

I also read this article HERE about how Jolene deals with her scraps, sort of on a yearly basis. Genius! And so many beautiful quilts! I aspire . . .

So that’s probably enough from me today — I got a little long-winded, much like my Uncle Lester used to do — bless his heart!

I hope you all go forth into your sewing areas and have fun playing in your scraps! Happy Spring!

14 responses to “March Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Angie in SoCal says:

    Some how I missed the February challenge and one of my design walls still have things on hold on it. That has got to change. But all of March I’ve been working on scraps, so I’ll cut back on the scrap use and pick up on getting that design wall decluttered. Those kitties are cute, and just love those Royal Stars!

  2. Johnna Clarke says:

    Thelma and Louise are STUNNING!! You couldn’t find better helpers. I’m in love with them! (What “exactly” do you mean processing your scraps? Cutting them up more? Pressing them? Organizing by color??)

  3. Aileen Kline says:

    Hi Shelley,
    I made two pillows for the cats to use in the window in my sewing room. I filled them with 20+ year old scraps. It was two dog biscuit barrels full. The cats, MOMO and CLEO love the window in there.
    When they were a few years old they also scaled my design wall. I lock them out when I am not sewing. I even hang fabric up if there being stinkers.

    As for scraps, I found a shoe box of 2 in rectangles and did a short strip jelly roll race. It came out good. Still have to iron it. Last night I trimmed and sewed up a bunch of green 2 in squares into a 16 patch. I figure I can do that with other colors and have a donation quilt with out much fuss. Today I will do the blue pieces as leaders and enders while I pick a UFO to complete. There is a Turkey on my design wall since before Thanksgiving that needs a few pumpkins and a border to finish the top. I think I will start with that just to get my mojo flying!
    BTW thank you for the Royal Star pattern. Thinking I may cut some scraps for that as well!
    Have wonderful week.
    I will send you a picture of JRR in an email.

  4. Randy Menninghaus says:

    oh my. cats can be cute. I have be dealing with scraps left and right. I am trying “Just get it done quilts” after quilt. idea. Well duh! I was three days in when I realized I was creating another quilt top… Still her idea of sort by size and using the smallest first has be still hooked. The end is little or not scraps left to haunt me

  5. Cathy Wilson says:

    You have such a good heart. Thanks for the sweet story of your kitties and for the free pattern.

  6. Marcia in TX says:

    I really enjoy your blog. Those royal blocks are so pretty on your design wall, a great quilt. I’m so proud of you that you got it cleaned off. I thought mine was clean… and the one in the hall is. While reading your blog, it brought to mind that small one about 3 ft. Wide in my bedroom, behind the door. It has several blocks done for different projects so I am going to clear that off and work some more on making most of my scraps into usable sizes.
    This last month I actually got out my go cutter, electric, and cut out 2.5″scraps into squares and hsts for a project and got carried away cutting that pile af scraps. Waaay more than I needed but they take up so much less room now that they are cut up.
    Thank you for sharing your clean up/organizing plans. It really helps.

  7. Mary Howland says:

    On the uncleared design wall I saw a red and white block. Would you share that with us? Thanks. I loved the photos of the kitties – precious.

    • prairiemoonquilts says:

      That block is called “Patrise”, and it’s from the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine, either issue #8 or #9, I forget which (but I think #8). I have the big book that has all 1000 patterns in it, and it’s number 260 in there. It’s foundation pieced.

  8. Rose Marie Smith says:

    I did most of my work on scraps in February. I am now working on UFO’s. I have pulled two out of their special little bins and am recalling what in the world I was doing 10, 15, 20 years ago. I am working on them sorta and intend to do more the rest of this month now that I am supposed to be staying in the house most of the time. God bless all who are staying in a sane mind in a world that could make us crazy!!

  9. Mary Gillette says:

    I donated over 300 yds of fabric to our local Salvation Army for their annual sale next month (which now probably will be postponed). In the process I pulled all fabrics with less than 1/2 yd. Today I used my Go cutter to cut them into various size strips. I have a quilt on the design wall, but the thread in my machine kept breaking and the machine had to go to the shop last week. Hopefully I’ll get it back next Mon, but I can only sew, but can’t quilt my quilts with my Featherweight.

  10. PAULA M MORGAN says:

    I have a tub of scraps, figured someday I will find the right fit to store and use….it pretty much is full, this might be the month to figure it out!

  11. Paula Hedges says:

    I cleaned up my scraps the end of February and have decided to do it monthly by cutting squares as small as 1″ to 12″, 2 1/2 ” strips, smaller strips go in my fabric bowl and string quilt tub. This month I am working on cutting the many kits – purchased or ones I have made myself- so they will be ready to stitch together. I cut one yesterday that has been on the shelf 3 years partially cut. Today I was able to get one more cut, found 2 that were cut (obviously when I had another period of just wanting to cut) and ready to start cutting to build a quilt around 4 house embroidery blocks that have been done at least 2 years. As for my design wall, it holds 3 tops pressed and ready for the long arm frame soon I finish the one that is on it. Now, maybe people will understand why quilters must have a well stocked stash! You never know when a pandemic will strike and you are told to stay home for who knows how long. What do we do best to deal with the stress? We sew! If we ran out of fabric and stores were closed, soon there would be crazy women running on the streets with scissors! We all know what we were told by our mother about running with scissors. But, I’m not worried! I have enough of a stash to stay busy for probably 8 years +.

  12. Darlene says:

    Hi Shelly, Thelma & Louise are beautiful, I had a cat growing up looked like that her name was Tiger we even dressed her in doll clothes & pushed her in doll stroller! Thank you for challenge I did just tackle my cutting table w/ one little corner left to clear off, my little 6×8 scrap basket is heaped.
    Hope you have a wonderful day on the ranch w/ new babies!

  13. Candice says:

    I tried to use as much of my stash as possible in making my Hazel’s Diary quilt. So I wound up with a lot of smallish scraps. So while I’m self-quarantine I think I’m going to try my hand at crumb quilting. I’ve never done it before, but I think it might be fun!

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