Where Were We?

What do you see when you look around your studio? Are your tools and materials where you want them? Are your current projects easy to advance? Do you like a feeling of creative chaos, or do you work better with things neatly in place?

Some people like open shelving and pegboard tool racks, while others prefer things behind closed doors, or tucked into drawers.

My studio has rather gotten away from me this year. I prefer fabrics sorted by color, stowed in plastic boxes within the stash armoire. I like having my rolling drawer units organized by project, so I can quickly find all the components when I need them.

Alas, I can still find things fairly quickly, but as I search, I push through layers of things that aren’t quite where they belong. I don’t like that. 😦

But when you keep your space fairly neat most of the time, putting it back in order doesn’t take a huge amount of work. For me, spending a few minutes at a time, over several sessions, takes care of most of it.

The thing that will slow me down this time is the projects. Usually I have a small number of open projects. However, this year was different! I did what I could, and when motivation or energy failed me, I stopped. When I did feel like working on something, I worked on whatever pleased me at the moment, instead of pushing through something to completion before starting something new. (And in truth, maybe I’ll just keep with that process. I’m not obligated to finish anything for anyone else. I quilt for my own pleasure. If it makes me happy to move on, that’s exactly what I should do, yes? Of course, there is pleasure in finishing, too…)

Projects. So there are a number of projects in process, more than I usually have. To enumerate them all, I actually have to dig through those drawers. (And while digging, I will put things back where they belong. It’s procrastination on that task that has slowed my assessment of progress.)

In the last few weeks, I got my longarm up and running again. I started with a small child’s disappearing 9-patch, featuring some Thomas the Tank novelty fabric. I had a yard of it left, after making a pillowcase with the remainder a couple of years ago. I rarely use novelty fabric! But this simple quilt seemed like a good option. I could cut the feature fabric minimally, and make a donation quilt without breaking a sweat.

With a simple meander, I warmed up the quilting machine, reminding myself of the steps in the process. This afternoon I put the binding on it, taking this project off the unfinished list.

10 thoughts on “Where Were We?

  1. jmn

    Because I hate having UFOs around I do my best to work on a single project at a time, whether that’s a quilt, a wall art piece, an article of clothing. That way I have a sense of closure when I’m done a project and don’t have those others hanging over my head. Right now, however, I have four projects on the go and it’s making me feel pressured. Those two quilt tops are done but now I have to create backs for each – then set up the quilt sandwich, create a machine embroidery design so I can quilt each quilt in the hoop on my embroidery machine, and finally get the binding and label done. Project #3 is a skinny quilt/banner – I want to do quickly – I’ve got the fabric sitting out with the “fish” appliqué on hand – maybe next week I’ll get to that one, and one complicated wall art project that’s being held up because I can’t find the right fabrics to create a cold winter ocean water – I know I’m going to have to get out my acrylic paints and create some water on fabric in order to get that project done. Too much pressure, all of it. However, my sewing studio is organized and tidy and I’ve managed to get fabric and projects off the tops of surfaces so my working space feels approachable.

  2. TextileRanger

    Glad to see you back!
    We had some house renovations this year that kept me from really concentrating on projects, so I took that time to sort out my studio. I didn’t really get rid of much, but I did group all the yarns together, all the sketchbooks together, etc. It turns out that for me, out of sight is really out of mind. I had all kinds of quilt backing fabric hung up nicely in a closet, and forgot I had it! And I just spent several hours looking for my small collection of stencils — originally they were in a wall pocket, tacked to the wall in plain view. I had put them in a closet and couldn’t see them even though they were right in front of me. I think that whenever I straighten up, I need to leave myself copious notes as to the new and “better” places I have stashed stuff. 🙂

  3. piecefulwendy

    As I’ve assessed this past year, I’ve realized that much of my quilt projects were done with an eye toward being able to post about them. That didn’t make me happy, so now through the coming year I have committed to working on what delights me. If I need to stop a project and finish it at a later point. I will do that and feel no guilt. So I resonate with your thoughts in this post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tammy Hutchinson

    Very happy to read you are getting your mojo back! I missed the Shadow Play post somehow, but am caught up now. So glad that you are pulling things together. After fighting my own battle with the Evil C (McL) this past year, I’m in CR and happy to be back in my sewing room. I’m thinking of giving away a couple ‘projects in the works’ to give me more time to play with what motivates me now. And I’ll look forward to seeing whatever others create from them. Be well!

  5. snarkyquilter

    I use the humdrum finishing work to give my brain time to work out creative challenges. It sounds like you’re on a creative streak, so that should definitely take precedence over finishing. And sorting scraps is good creative therapy, plus it soothes the need for tidiness.

  6. Kerry

    It’s good to potter on different projects. Sometimes you have to go where the enthusiasm is! Although with all the rain we’ve had this year, I stood back in my room and thought yeuch! This has got to be sorted! Ever since we’ve moved I’ve been in a muddle. So when you can’t go outside, inside work gets done. When inside chores are done, it’s playtime. Playtime I’ve had plenty of! The rule was no sewing until all was tidy. I even sorted scraps and cut them into usable pieces ready to sew and they are in drawer tidies. So now I can get back to sewing. It feels good and that does help the motivation side of it.
    So I’m really pleased to see you have completed another quilt and that the longarm is up and running again. Good to see your mojo is getting back steadily.

  7. katechiconi

    Good to hear you are warming up your quilting muscles again. I shall look forward to see what you feel like working on and sharing with us. I’ve missed your ‘voice’.


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