I recently wrote about my current fabric stash. In truth, every quilter’s stash includes more than fabric. We have equipment and gadgets and notions. We have patterns and books and thread. There are rolls or packages or garbage bags of batting — sometimes all three! We store, on every possible surface, UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in process), and projects we can’t even categorize. And we have photos. Oh, my, the photos!
If you’ve seen my studio pix, you know I like my space pretty neat. I put things back when I’m done with them; I vacuum and wipe surfaces between projects. My biggest mess has been with my quilt photos. Oh, sure, that mess didn’t take up countertops or my cutting table. It didn’t spill out of drawers or off shelves. But it did include hundreds of photos taken over 13 years, which lived on two computers, three flash drives, and at least three internet-y “cloud” spaces. They were in folders of a wide range of names, nested one in another until I had no idea what I had. There were duplicates of duplicates, same photos in different sizes, and same photos but cropped and adjusted or not. But now duplicates have been deleted, best sizes and adjustments chosen, and filing names consistently applied. The quilts I’ve made are filed by year, except the donation quilts. Those are in a folder called “Donation quilts.” It’s still a work in process, and it’s not necessarily a perfect system, but it certainly is better than before.
As I sorted, I found pictures of quilts I’d forgotten. For instance, here is the top of one made as a donation through my guild, probably about ten years ago. I’d seen accounts of quilts just made from 2.5″ strips. They likely were jelly roll “race” quilts. I didn’t want to make that style with the width-of-fabric strips. Instead I joined short segments of purples and created 12″ finish blocks. I like the way the segments join into each other in unexpected places, blurring the edges of the blocks. This idea is worth trying again.
(And remember the cool thing is I can FIND this photo again if I want to!)
Here’s one from 2011. My friend Lisa and I were band parents together, and volunteering together was always more fun. We tease each other about the messes we used to get into together: I call her “Lucy” and she calls me “Ethel.” When I found some fabric with Lucy’s famous chocolate drops, I had to use it for Lucy/Lisa’s quilt.
And in 2013, I made the first special quilt I intended to keep, rather than give away. I call it “My Medallion.”
While I still have a few more items to sort, and I need to create a good back-up, I can find what I want, when I want it. I LOVE having this photo mess cleaned up. And that itself is good incentive to never let the mess accumulate again.
How do you sort and store your quilt photos? Let us know in comments.