I’ve had a few people recently ask how I keep all my craftwork projects organised so I thought I’d do a little post on my system, though system is probably too strong a word – it makes me sound organised!! I wouldn’t even go as far as saying they’re tips, it’s just how I try and keep afloat in my craft room and beyond…
I tend to keep things where they will be sewn, this does mean I have a very tolerant OH who doesn’t mind too much when my craftroom encroaches on the whole house, though he does mutter if he finds pins on the lounge carpet!! Having craft stuff where I’ll sew it means it’s much more likely to be sewn, if I’ve got 10 minutes to spare I don’t want to spend 5 minutes going upstairs to find everything.
Cross-stitch smalls are kept in my handbag, a couple of years ago I made myself a sewing wallet with slots for threads, ribbons for scissors, needle safe and a pocket for linen. I love it! Always having it in my bag means if I’m in a cafe, in the dentists waiting room, stuck on a train, at the hairdressers, anywhere really, I can get it out and do a little stitching.
Bigger cross-stitch projects are usually kept by my armchair downstairs. Each project has a plastic ziplock bag with all the threads in it. The downside of this is that if I have multiple projects and I’m sorting out threads for something else, I might think I haven’t got a certain DMC thread and buy more, hence I have 2 or 3 of some colours!
My usual cross-stitch time is before and after tea, probably somewhere between 5pm and 7pm with tea in the middle. I’ll often cross-stitch whilst I’m cooking – if I put the potatoes on for 10 minutes, I’ll sit and cross-stitch for 10 minutes – it does mean I have to set the bleeper as otherwise tea gets a bit singed!! When I sit down for a mid morning coffee, I’ll often pick up my cross-stitch, 20 minutes here and there add up.
My main cross-stitch at the moment is the Finery of Nature, so that is permanently downstairs. The two SAL’s take it in turns to come down, I usually concentrate on the Zoe SAL first as the pattern is released on a Monday, the Zen SAL doesn’t come out til the Friday. You can see the bags of threads on the windowsill
My big Down the Rabbit Hole quilt lives in a heap on my armchair on the landing, I’ve set up a little corner here with a light, a temporary table with threads and scissors on and my lap hoop. It’s quite cosy when I get down to it…
…I did say it was in a heap!
My sewing room is organised in theory – everything has a home, it just doesn’t always get there! I have all my drawers and boxes labelled so in theory I can find things! I bought a load of the pretty sets of boxes over the years from TK Max, they’re not all the same but they all have peacocks on, so I have a theme running through them! Any big or longterm project has a box of it’s own, so at the moment my Coming Home quilt has a box with all my fabrics in, when I was making the Splendid Sampler quilt, it had it’s own box. I also have a box with finished pieces and parts in, so quilt blocks can go in there, embroideries, anything that just needs keeping safe whilst I finish other sections.
The photo is of my Coming Home quilt box, I’m not sure how it is still so full when I’ve almost finished the quilt!!
I find the block book I made at the start of the coming home quilt useful, Sarah Fielke recommended it for keeping blocks safe in. Now that the quilt is too big to go in the book I’m using it for other projects too, such as my Harold the Hare embroidery and the Bethelehem embroidery, it keeps them nice and flat and their ziplock bags of threads are in my workbox.
Dressmaking projects usually get made in a few days, so they don’t need a box usually, however if they have lots of pieces, like shirt dresses or tailored jackets, I’ll put everything in a box as invariably otherwise I spend half my time looking for them.
I’m not that organised in having planners, I’m always very impressed when fabric shopping with someone and they have all their patterns on their phone so they know how much fabric to buy, I just guesstimate. Every so often I’ll make a little list of things on the go and projects with a deadline, that usually helps me to prioritise things. For example, at the moment I have three presents I want to make, not big ones,but they need starting, my son wants some curtains making too, so the Coming Home quilt has taken a bit of a back seat. I don’t beat myself up if I get a bit behind on stitch-a-long, though the three weekly blog SAL’s are a huge incentive!
Every so often I do try and reduce the number of projects I have on the go, get a few finishes under my belt, but invariably I get tempted by something else and off I go again. I always have a mixture of things which take months or years and ones which are easily ticked off a list after an afternoon. My stock answer when someone asks how I manage to do so much, is I don’t watch TV, the only time I do is to do ironing (I hate ironing!!) I also didn’t inherit the housework gene, so I do what I need to do and no more! I also only work 2 days a week – I joke that it keeps me in fabric!
Just to give you an idea, this is my list at the moment…
- Coming Home quilt – a fair bit of applique to do and then final border
- Down the Rabbit Hole quilt – I’m getting there!
- Care Leavers quilt – top done, waiting to be quilted.
- Finery of Nature – long term
- Zoe SAL – should be done by Christmas
- Enlightenment Zen SAL – 3 months to go
- Cross-stitch small
- Bethlehem embroidery from workshop to finish
- Harold the Hare embroidery to finish
- Stitchbook project – another months box waiting to be made
- Scrub hats – I’ve about 6 orders!
- Curtains, two sets for son
- 3 simple bags for presents.
- Bee cushion commission to start
Looking down the list, I’ll hopefully have eight finished by Christmas, so watch this space!