Tag Archives: Catbird Quilt Studio

State of My Messy Studio

It’s gotten away from me.

And while this isn’t terrible and wouldn’t bother a lot of people, I don’t like stepping over piles of fabric or digging through paperwork. I don’t like having scraps take over the end of my cutting table. Mostly I don’t like the feeling of being a bit out of control. It is a bit out of control.

In truth, I’ve started cleaning up already. It’s pretty easy to put fabric away since I store it (mostly) by color. Some of that is done. And the books are reshelved; because they are usually on the shelf by subject, they are easy to put away.

The papers always baffle me, but soon they’ll be sorted, too. I hope. ūüôā How do you deal with your paperwork? I have a few different sets right now: the class I’m teaching; guild presentations I’m scheduled to do; my guild’s program committee; my guild’s president stuff; my guild’s bylaws stuff; and random stuff… I know how to deal with them once I’m done with them, but it’s confusing when they’re still being used… And none of that includes the old laptop and three flash drives that need to be cleared, nor the digital photos that need to be sorted and filed. Aargh…

What is your biggest storage or organization challenge in your studio? What is easiest for you to control? Do you have some tips to share? 






Jim found this lovely catbird for me. If you look at the logo in the upper left, it says “SINGER MANFG. CO.¬†” Beneath the words is a needle and thread design. So especially appropriate!

Click the picture to open it in another tab. 


The artist was John L. Ridgway, a scientific illustrator best known for his illustrations of birds and other wildlife, as well as his drawings for the U.S. Geological Service. The copyright date at the bottom left is hard to read, but looks like 1892. (The library notes say it was issued in 1899, so perhaps I’m reading it wrong.)

The American Singer Series was a set of 16 trading cards that also served as advertisements. The catbird card shown above was 4.5″ x 6″. I don’t know if they were all the same size.¬†Other cards featured birds including the brown thrasher, orchard oriole, and rose-breasted grosbeak. On the back of the catbird card is an ad for the Singer No. 101-2, ¬†an electric machine.

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Notice also the easy payments and liberal exchange allowance!

Jim found this (and 679,149 more items!) in the New York Public Library’s digital collections. Thanks Jim!

Studio and Stash Tour

I’m a member of the Stashbusters yahoo group, and one of the traditions is to give a “state of the stash” report during one’s birthday month.¬†October is my month!

Since my last report, I’ve lamented my stash both privately and out loud. Having “too much” makes me a little uneasy. Fabric is intended to be used, not hoarded, as I wrote (and reposted recently.) And at various times over the past year, especially, I’ve felt like my inventory got a little away from me.¬†However, after less buying for several months and some good work putting things in their right places, it all feels more under control now.

What you see below is the vast majority of my stash. The upper two shelves have 5 plastic bins each. I think they’re considered shoe box size. I separate most of my fabrics by color. On the top shelf, for instance, is black, brown, purple, and two kinds of pinks. Most of the bins are pretty full. In the lower part of the armoire are two cabinets. The right one has some pieces that are bigger and maybe useful as backing or background. In the left cabinet are odds and ends of flannel (hardly any,) some chunks of muslin, and some decorator fabric. There’s also a skein of yarn (why??) and a little embroidery stuff in there.


Besides the armoire, I have plastic roller bins under my cutting table. The three drawers on the right have “projects,” somewhat loosely defined. The middle drawer unit¬†has bags, basic scraps, and¬†remnants of bindings and odd blocks or parts. You can see none of the drawers is stuffed full.

All this is in a spare bedroom. In the closet I keep a roll of batting and some packaged batting. My extra machine and roller case, and some other odds and ends also live in the closet.

Also in the bedroom is my cutting table, my long-arm, and my book shelf.


Above the window is a long LED light bar. It adds a huge amount of light when I am quilting.

The last item in that room is an old shelf that has my long-arm accessories and threads.

As you can tell, nothing is very fancy but I have plenty and especially plenty of space! In fact, besides that room, I also have space in the adjacent family room. It includes a long desk area where I use my domestic machine and sometimes use my computer. My ironing board is here, as well as a currently blank design wall.


The design wall is empty because my current project is almost done. Its size now is a little too big and heavy to stick on the craft felt wall.

So, my friends, the state of my stash is healthy, and my studio is spacious and easy to use. I am so very blessed. Thanks for reading.