Organizing Projects

With the new year starting, there is lots of organizing and discussion of finishing up WIPs around the quilty world. I have a system that’s working for me, so I thought I’d share.



Project Boxes

I have six Iris scrapbook boxes that I bought on sale at Joann. They keep the pieces of my projects, as well as the pattern and any notes or sketches I’ve made, together in one place. If all six boxes have a project in them, I can’t start another one. I can plan as many as I want to, but I can’t buy fabric or cut fabric until I have an empty box. I got an Aviatrix Medallion quilt kit for Christmas, but I didn’t have an empty box for it. Luckily, I had one project that was only a few steps away from being a finished quilt top. That has been completed and the Aviatrix Medallion has found a new home.



UFOs - Right in my face

Sometimes, a project isn’t quite so ready to be finished quickly (or I’m just not feeling it anymore), so it gets demoted to the UFO pile. Currently, my UFOs are in a file crate on the corner of my desk. IN SIGHT. Right now, most of my UFO pile is mending projects. I should sit down and knock those out, but that’s not fun. However, since the pile is right in front of my face, I’m thinking, “Maybe I should finish up [project]” more often. So, even if they’re not getting done, I’m thinking about getting them done more often.


Quilt Tops:

Quilt tops (and backs, if I have them)

Top to bottom: Handstitched Medallion Quilt – Summer 2012 (1/3 hand quilted), Red & White Off Kilter Quilt – Summer 2014? (top only), Scrapbook Quilt from Frecklemama – Winter 2013 (has backing), Lucas Arrow Quilt – Summer 2014 (top only), and Lynne’s ABCD Quilt – completed in 2009 but need lots of repairs.

Finished quilt tops get folded and stuck in the top of the closet. It’s a teeny tiny closet and half of the top shelf is taken up by a box of T-shirt scraps (which is a whole other project that has been staring me down recently). I only have so much room to stack quilts. I’m sure I could find another place to stack them, but an important part of organizing is allotting only so much room for certain things and not allowing it to overgrow it’s space. I also write down the measurements of the quilt top and how much backing I need for it. That list is posted (or meant to be posted… it’s currently in one of my many notebooks) and when I find the perfect backing, I get it. The backing gets made and then folded up and stuck on the stack, waiting for me to be in a basting mood (or in a “I need to just get this done” mood).


Truth Time:

I’m not perfect. I also have a few other projects.

Scrap-in-a-Box pieces

I was planning on participating in the new Scrapitude mystery quilt, but I’m so behind in the cutting, I’m undecided. In the meantime, here are the pieces I’ve cut already (plus a stack of 5″ off-white squares I plan on using for the neutral). This tray lives on my cutting table right now, but I can push it into the back corner if I need the space for another project.

Other Projects

I also have these projects. The basket is my leaders/enders project. Just a bunch of 2.5″ squares I’m sewing into pairs right now. The bin has the squares for my best friend’s T-shirt quilt, plus the pieces my mom cut out last July for me to make a skirt and a dress for my daughter. I ought to get on that before she gets too big for the size my mom cut out.

Your Turn:

How do you organize your projects, be they WIPs, UFOs, or future projects?


2014 Quilty Resolution Review

I actually did pretty good. Better than I thought I would, anyway. I didn’t finish any of my resolutions, but I made significant progress. I plan on continuing and finishing them soon.

Sandy, from Quilting…for the Rest of Us, challenged us to pick three monkeys on our backs and shake them loose over the course of 2014. My three monkeys were: deal with my scraps, retroactively put labels on the quilts I’ve made, and get my best friend’s dang T-shirt quilt done!

Scraps: First of all, I sorted through my scraps. I tossed the less than desirable fabrics into a bin for my kids to play with. Then, I ironed and laid out on my cutting table all the pieces I wanted to cut down into pre-cut sizes. I want to gather 10″ squares for a Paintbox quilt, so I started with cutting that size. Then, I added 5″ squares to my STACKS of 5″ squares. (I bought The Big Book of Nickel Quilts from a LQS, so I’ll be using up some of those squares soon.) Then, more 2.5″ squares and/or strips  of various lengths, depending on what was leftover. I only got through half of my stack before I got sick of the cutting and needed the space on my cutting table to trim a quilt after quilting it. The rest of the fabrics are in a basket under my sewing desk. I’ll deal with the rest later. (And that’s not even counting my solids stash which I keep separate.) I figure as long as I cut up any new leftovers instead of chucking into the pile, that’s good, right?

Labels: Well, I haven’t put any labels on quilts I made before 2014. However, not one quilt left my hands without a label stitched on it. With the exception of Ben’s quilt. The label is ready to be embroidered and then added to the back of his quilt, but he needed a larger quilt. He is 20-months-old. I started it when he was 3-months-old. I’m not going to worry about the quilts I’ve given away, but the two I have at home, I’ll slap a label on. (Okay, I have three quilts at home but I don’t like the third one and I don’t expect it to last for too long anyway.) This is one resolution that I’ll keep on keeping. I enjoy making the labels (kind of).

T-Shirt Quilt: So, I’ve had my best friend’s shirts for over 6 years now. It’s pretty pathetic. I feel as though anything I do on it, no matter how small, is a huge step. Which, it really is because once I have momentum, I keep going… until I get derailed by something else. Anyway, I went from having some of the shirts cut to having all of the shirts cut and got fusible on them all. I need to add some borders to a few to bring them up to size and a couple need patches, repairs, or corners sewn on in once case, but they’re ready to sew into a quilt top. Except I need to add in some more patches from the shirt scraps to fill in the rest of (what will be) the twin-sized quilt. So those need to be cut out and fused. I do have a tentative layout (which I did in 2015, but it counts), so I can get to sewing that once I have all the extra pieces ready. Then, I have to make decisions about backing and quilting, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So, 1/2 done with all three. 1.5/3 for 2014, with a bright outlook for 2015. I’ll take it. 🙂

2015 Quilty Resolutions

I’ll talk about my 2014 resolutions and how I did (pretty dang good, actually) in a different post. I’m going to start off with my resolutions for the coming year because they’ve been on my mind for the whole month of December.

This year, I am participating in the Patchwork City Block of the Month from The Intrepid Thread. The BOM uses Elizabeth Hartman’s Patchwork City book. Originally, I signed up for the Metro Area quilt (the one that uses all 75 quilt blocks from the book), but I talked a friend into doing the BOM as well and she picked the smaller Westside quilt. When I reread the description and realized it would be using Cotton & Steel fabrics, I caved and signed up for the second one.

I got the book (and background fabric) in November, and I immediately dove into the book. That’s when I realized that these two quilts are the perfect opportunity for me to force myself to play with fabric and fabric placement and fussy cutting. So far, my quilting has been pretty … formulaic? I pick my own fabrics (unless I started with a kit), but I put Fabric A where the pattern says and Fabric B where the pattern says, and I rarely, if ever, deviate from what the pattern says. Unless it’s an “oops”. Those I leave because I’m too lazy to rip it out.

In fact, I don’t even have to make the same blocks in the same colors for the same sections (in the Metro Area quilt) as everyone else. Since I’ll just be getting a stack of fat quarters and fat eighths, I can just flip through the book and pick out the blocks that I want to do that month and do whatever the heck I want to.

It’s actually going to be hard. I fully anticipate putting off the month’s blocks because it’s too much pressure not being told what to do. But I’m going to push myself to do it. Because I want to grow in my creativity.

On the flip side, I got the Aviatrix Medallion quilt kit (another Elizabeth Hartman pattern). Since most of the borders are pieced, precision is the key with this quilt! I do my best, but if something is off, I just shrug and try to make it work. However, this year, with this quilt, I want to grow my skills with precision piecing.

And, for Sandy’s challenge, I want to write a quilt pattern. I’d really love to do a row quilt because I love how they look, but I’ll do what I can. For this challenge, I want to grow my comfort zone.

Apparently, my word for 2015 is: