KonMari in the Studio

Because I had seen so many reviews of it, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is very Japanese in character: there is a right way to do everything, and KonMarifollowing the rules brings good fortune. I’m a little surprised at how much it has caught on in the West. The author, Marie Kondo, calls her method for “tidying” KonMari, a combination of her names.

I was unexpectedly convinced by reading her book that I can, indeed, get rid of a lot of my “stuff” and be happier for it!  And I thought I’d start in my studio, since that won’t involve anybody but myself.

My studio is pretty neat, with almost everything stored away.  And when I see pictures of other people’s studios, I realize that my stash is minimal by many standards!

KonMari recommends dealing with things by category, and in a strict order. There are no categories for a quilt studio, so I made my own categories and ordered them like this:
1. Fabric
2. Tools, such as rulers and scissors
3. Notions, such as thread and ric-rac
4. Published materials, such as books and patterns
5. Sewing and serging machines
6. Everything else

The method requires gathering all items of a particular category in one place. ALL must come out of their drawers, boxes, etc. Ms. Kondo says to pile it all on the floor, but you know THAT’s not happening!

studio organization, stash

Some of the stash laid out on tables–and some bins on the floor, too

The next step is to handle each piece and decide whether it gives me joy. If it does, it stays. If not, it GOES!

studio organization, stash managemengt

The stash from another angle

This may, at first, seem like a waste. After all, I paid for that fabric, washed, ironed, and stored it. But after reading the book, I believe the true waste is being weighed down by things I’m hoarding because I “might need them” or “intend to use them” in the mythical “some day”.  And really, do I want to work for hours on a quilt made with fabric I don’t love?

I’ll let you know how this first step turns out 🙂  How are you managing your stash?

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Finished Tops!

After much deliberation about layout, I got my Modern Sampler quilt put together last week and sent it off to be quilted.  Here’s the final top:

modern sampler

My Modern Sampler top is ready for quilting!

Then, for good measure, I put together the batik blocks from a swap I was in several years ago and sent that top off to be quilted, as well.

batik quilt blocks

Group batik blocks, put together and ready for quilting

Yes, the sashing DOES vary a bit, because the blocks do.  That’s the way it goes with a block swap.  I love the variety of the blocks and, of course, the batik fabrics.

I’m sending this to Aunt Marti’s UFO challenge, which helps keep me motivated.  What are you up to?

Good News, Bad News!

First, the bad news: I sliced a good-sized hunk out of my finger with the (nice, sharp) rotary cutter. When I couldn’t get the bleeding stopped after an hour, I went to Urgent Care. A nice Physician Assistant there got it all fixed up.rotary cutter accident

Quilting with 9 fingers is a challenge 😉  Another learning experience…

In better news, I made Lora Douglas’s Roxie bag this week, and it is as cute as expected! This project is part of Quilted Adventure, an online retreat I’m taking part in throughout 2016.  As always, I learned several things from making this bag.  And unlike the learning experience mentioned above, this was fun:

Roxie Bag, Quilted Adventure

Roxie Bag, Designed by Lora Douglas

Lora’s instructions requested foam batting, a product I had never heard of!  Luckily, my “local” quilt shop had it. It did give the bag really nice structure without making it stiff, and I probably will use foam batting for future bags.  A nice find!

I purchased the hardware for the bag from Lora’s Etsy shop,  I had no idea a flex frame could be so sturdy.  Most bags I’ve seen were made with lengths of metal measuring tape as the closure.  That works just fine (if your husband isn’t very vigilant about his tools) but the closure isn’t very tight.  The flex frame that came with the kit holds that bag closed with certainty!  And unlike the measuring tape closure, this one can hold itself open when needed.

Lora Douglas

Roxie Bag with the top snapped open

Lora’s instructions also called for glue-basting the binding, which I had never done.  It actually worked great!  I’ll probably do that again.

If you’re interested in the year-long Quilted Adventure, all classes are online for the whole year, so you can sign up any time.  Just use the link above to go to Lora’s site and click the button in her margin.  If your main interest is the bag rather than the whole retreat, she’ll release the single pattern some time in 2017.

So the good learning experiences certainly outweighed the bad this week!

 

 

2013: The Quilts

Most of the first post about 2013 showed special projects.  Here are the quilts.

This quilt, made from a Batavian Batiks pattern, hangs in my husband's office

This quilt, made from a Batavian Batiks pattern, hangs in my husband’s office

quilt, donation quilt, bright quilt, blended border

And here is a donation quilt made from extra blocks. I used it to try out blended borders.

Here are two more donation quilts, made for Ronald McDonald House in 2013:

Happy Plaids is my own design, but there are MANY similar quilts out there

Happy Plaids is my own design, but there are MANY similar quilts out there

Twinkle, a pattern by Swirly Girl Designs, was made because I had some fabulous leftover fabric

Twinkle, a pattern by Swirly Girl Designs, was made because I had some fabulous leftover fabric

The first post about 2013 projects included a table runner made from leftovers after I finished this next quilt:

improvisational quilt

This quilt, pieced improvisationally from bright batiks and black, is one of my all-time favorites.  

This quilt was for a special baby; and yes, that’s me with my beautiful daughter 🙂

baby quilt

Quilt for a special baby!

I found a pattern for this little miniature while on a trip, and just couldn’t resist making it–all from scraps, of course.

miniature quilt

Miniature quilt–I’m sorry I don’t recall the name of the designer.

Here’s an improvisationally designed T shirt quilt I made for a friend:

Improvised T shirt quilt

Modern T Shirt Quilt, using my favorite method of designing as I go

And finally, the last Ronald McDonald quilt for 2013, made from blocks that were just too wild without solid sashing!

Ronald 1 2013That’s what I could find for 2013!  More years later.